Tonight, I finished a series with my youth on living unashamed for Christ. I finished this series with a lesson on what is likely the #1 reason that prevents us from living for Christ on a regular basis. Tonight I spoke about the baggage we carry. Isn’t it the truth though? I am constantly blown away by the amount of baggage people bring with them on a day to day basis. I know the weight and the struggle to simply exist as the baggage weighs you down, impeding every step you take, until it gets hard to move, hard to breathe- and you realize it is suffocating you. We all have baggage. This baggage can come from a less than scrupulous past, a family burden or family issues, conflict with friends, or just plain old life itself (the world is a rough place to live). We often try to mask our baggage. We try to look like we have it all together when were are struggling to stay afloat. I am reminded of the illustration of a duck. On top of the surface, the duck looks cool as a cucumber, as calm as a glassy sea. Underneath the water however, the duck’s legs are just churning away, constantly trying to keep the duck afloat. In the grand scheme of things, we all have our fair share of baggage claims and a great many of us have carried this load for many, many years. In the end, however, we realize that instead of moving forward, we are really just marking time.
As adults, we pick up baggage like it was our job. The “American Dream” is slowly, but surely killing us each day as we struggle to gain possession we really don’t need, but have convinced ourselves are necessary for happiness. We pick up baggage of not being able to adequately provide for our families, or not being able to provide at all. We pick up baggage of seeking promotion, plaudits, and praise from a job or a company that will only demand more of your time away from family. As adults we pick up baggage because we don’t own the right car, live in the right house or neighborhood, or we simply don’t fill the description that the world tells us is the only way to be. For some, our baggage has been handed down to us like it was a family heirloom. We constantly struggle to free ourselves from its bondage, but it controls us far more than we control it. So what do we do to relieve ourselves of the burden of our baggage? We usually pass it down to our children.
By the time a student hits high school these days, they are carrying so much baggage that they aren’t sure if they can take another step- simply existing is their goal. Our teenagers today must survive 50+% divorce rates, fatherless homes, alcohol & drug addictions (and that is just from the parents). They also take on more subtle baggage like having to grow up much too soon, raising siblings, caring for grandparents who have been forced to raise them, and all of this while maintaining the highest level of academic excellence possible so that they can eventually go out and get a job that can feed and sustain them during life- all of this, before the child hits 18 years old. They try to dump their baggage. They try to dump it on each other, siblings, friends; they seek to mask the pain in alcohol, sex, drugs, video games, pornography- anything so they won’t hurt for just a few hours.
The truth of the matter is that we are not required to carry any of it. We can simply let it go. We can call upon the name of our Lord and Savior and ask him to take the load we bear. Matthew 11:30 reminds us, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” You see the victory comes, for us, when we finally acknowledge that we don’t hold God up, it is the other way around.
“…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” -Isaiah 41:10
Once we have acknowledged that God is the support beam, that He is the one that holds us up, then we can finally understand and find the solace knowing that His mighty, righteous right hand can handle any load we may be trying to bear. God WANTS your baggage. He wants you to know that through Him we have life and life abundantly. He wants you to know that He is your refuge and strength in time of need. He wants you to understand His words in Matthew 11:28 that say, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Let your Savior give you rest. Let Him take the yolk of oppression that you carry around with you day in and day out. Let Him take your bags- after all, that is exactly what He was sent here to do.
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach