When you drive to the country, or the outskirts of a town, you often see storage bins. They're for rent and exist because folks have too many things -- too much clutter -- to store in their own homes.
As they say, you can't take it with you. There is no U-Haul behind a hearse. Things like this weigh us down. They are little idols. Or obsessions. We imagine every possible reason why we should keep them and let them infringe on our lives. Some people go to such an extreme that they are featured on TV as "hoarders" (as one sign on a storage company in Daytona, Florida says: "Hoarders Welcome").
Stuff literally buries us! We can care less for people than things. If this is in your life, clear out that attic. Clean the basement. Empty your closet of anything that is worthless. Give it to Goodwill. It halts the flow of air. It is needless baggage.
There is also "baggage" in our spirits. This is more damaging still. This you do take with you.
The more bags you have around you, the more difficult it is to fit through that narrow gate.
There is the baggage of bad habits. When we have them, they collect around us. There are "bags" of flesh from overeating. There are emotional bags. Worry causes us sleeplessness and "bags" under our eyes. There is baggage from past relationships.
Check them at the counter. Don't carry them on the plane. Did you ever notice the stress caused by going through security and then boarding a plane with too much on you? (Or the cost of having to check in too many bags?)
We have bags of guilt. We have bags of resentment. We have bags of jealousy. We have bags of past wounds. We have bags of competition. We have bags filled with heavy, maudlin memories.
As one pastor suggests: -- "Make a quick list of some of the problems and conflicts that have surfaced in your life. -- How much of your time and energy is spent in dealing with these issues? -- How has your emotional and spiritual health been affected by the weight of these issues? -- How about your physical health? -- What fears surface when you think about giving up control of those situations? Why is it tempting to hang on to them? Take a few minutes in prayer to release those situations, one by one, to God's control. -- Then humbly ask the Lord to fill you with His truth and wisdom. As you move through the rest of your day, wait on the Lord. Instead of rushing ahead to your own solutions for each situation, practice the skill of waiting for Him to give you direction."
Sin is a bag. Go to Confession (then, forgive yourself -- and purify inwardly). "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you," says Ephesians (4:31-32). Adds Isaiah ( 43:18-19 ): "Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."
"Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you," says 1 Peter 5:7.
When we're laden with junk, we're stuck in place. We procrastinate. We're filled with inertia. We can't move freely. We are running through an airport with a bag in each hand and one over the shoulder, huffing and puffing through life, perhaps missing a flight.
Your burden is heavy. The Cross is light.
"A time to keep, and a time to cast away" (Ecclesiastes 3:6).
Note that the rich man -- on the other side, in flames, stripped of fine linen and luxury -- sought help from poor Lazarus.
Note that Jesus is not portrayed with any possession (but for spare robe and Cross).
Take up your cross and follow Him and leave behind everything that drags you back from that -- and from resurrection.
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