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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Baggage Claims

1 John 1:8-10, if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. NIV

I have discovered that ministry has many exciting and challenging opportunities. One year, I was asked to lead a pastor's conference in West Africa. Since I had heard plenty of horror stories from fellow ministers who had traveled extensively about them losing their baggage, I thought it would be wise to place most of my valuable things in one carry-on. I was amazed at how quickly customs got me cleared with my carry-on intact.

While I was waiting to board the international flight, someone from the airlines stopped when she noticed how big this luggage was. She was so kind and soft spoken when she stated, "This piece of luggage is too large to be carried onto the plane. I will send it down to baggage." The representative went on to assure me that my baggage would be in Ghana upon my arrival. Well guess what? When we arrived, the custom attendants in Africa couldn't find the luggage anywhere. Because I had been so careful to place everything I needed in that one piece of luggage, I had no suits, and my printer was now in the U. S. They calmly assured me that it would be flown on a subsequent flight, and I would have it promptly. Guess what? It was many days later.

Our walk with the Lord is a lot like taking a journey with baggage in tow. Along the way, our humanity can flare up and cause us to slip and fall into sin. If and when this occurs, we must do as John instructed us in today's passage and confess our faults to the Lord. There's just one little problem with that process. Most times when Christians fall back into a fault or transgression, it means they are under the power of deception. Therefore, they don't really view their actions as sin. Self-justification can cause (even believers) to justify sin based on "legitimate excuses." 

If a believer falls into sin, but doesn't confess that sin to the Lord, then the sin begins to collect, and we place it in our "spiritual" baggage. When we continue our journey of life with un-confessed sin in our heart, we are literally carrying baggage. The Word of God tells us very plainly that we will give an account on that Day of every idle word and deed done whether good or evil. Since we know this, how do we keep our spiritual baggage empty of any offenses? 

When King David sinned against the Lord, God sent David's son Nathan to inform him of the evil. As Nathan told the King a story about a man's actions that had robbed another man of a ewe lamb, David's anger exploded. When Nathan told the king that he was talking about his sin, it caused David to see the evil that had been hidden in his own heart. Once God exposed the sin in King David's heart, he became broken and confessed his wrongs before the prophet and God. In his brokenness, David repented and emptied his heart (baggage) out before God in prayer. Although his sins had severe consequences, because David confessed them and asked for God to forgive him, his sins were forgotten.

Do you have any baggage in your life that needs to be buried before you reach your final destination? If we bury our sins one DAY they will be resurrected without one defense, but if we will confess our sins before the Lord today, then He will bury them for us... never to be remembered again. If you can't remember any transgressions, but you feel like there might be some buried, simply ask the Holy Spirit to bring them back to your remembrance. Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that does so easily ensnare us and run this race with endurance.

We Have Located Your Baggage,
Pastor Asa

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