WE ALL HAVE LUGGAGE…
Unpack - Let go - Embrace
Unpacking our luggage:
To unpack you need to identify what’s in the luggage.
Each of us have baggage, some of us have heavier luggage than others. Either heavy or light ends of the spectrum they can fit into the following categories…
Abuse … as small as name calling to being Raped
Addiction… everything from too much TV to Pornography, alcohol et...
Loss … a great loss in our life of someone or something important to us.
Here is how Paul writes about it in Galatians 5… which I believe is the list of luggage items we choose to carry…
Galatians 5 (the message)
16 My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. 17 For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. 18 Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence? 19 It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; 20 trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; 21 the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on. This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom. 22 But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard - things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, 23 not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. 24 Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good - crucified. 25 Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. 26 That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.
What is luggage…
Started in the garden of Eden when Adam blew it...then we live in an hour when everything is so congested/painful/disconnected/ fragmented and the list goes on.
WE ALL HAVE LUGGAGE…
HAD CHOIR MEMBERS ALL BRING LUGGAGE IN WITH THEM FOR THE DAY. IF ANYONE ASKED THEM THEY WOULD SIMPLY SAY THEY WOULD FIND OUT. EVERY WHERE THEY WENT THEY CARRIED THE LUGGAGE WITH THEM.
IN THE SERVICE I CALLED THEM ALL UP... Call everyone up... leave luggage on stage (the spiritual becoming visual)HAD THEM STAND AT THE FRONT WITH THE LUGGAGE...
In fact we have a carousel just like the airport for our baggage… and when we go to see family we go to that carousel and pick up the necessary baggage… when we go to work each morning we go to that carousel and pick up the baggage… we come home at night, we pick up that luggage… LET THEM GO SIT BACK DOWN BUT LEAVE LUGGAGE ALL OVER THE STAGE AND PLATFORM.
We don’t always get life right. We try, but sometimes things get sticky, messed up, complicated, and we create baggage of our own and baggage for others.
Paul acknowledges this in Galatians 5… a little earlier in vs. 7.
Ga 5:7 - You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?
You were running well in life, where did you get this baggage?
We have it everywhere… like… Ed Watt was visiting a local department store with his wife, and they had just purchased a piece of luggage and a cooler. As Ed browsed in the shoe department waiting for his wife to finish the rest of her shopping, a clerk asked if he could be of assistance. “No, thank you," Ed replied. “I’m just waiting for my wife." At that point, a man behind him said, "I’m waiting for my wife, too, but I never thought to bring lunch and an overnight bag."
So what can we do with our luggage?
Unpack - Let go - Embrace
We will Learn this process from Jesus as He talks with the Women at the well… Jesus Unpacks her bags, tells her to let go, and embrace the new future…
John 14: 7 Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, "Please give me a drink." 8 He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. 9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, "You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?" 10 Jesus replied, "If you only knew the gift God has for you and who I am, you would ask me, and I would give you living water." 11 "But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket," she said, "and this is a very deep well. Where would you get this living water? 12 And besides, are you greater than our ancestor Jacob who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his cattle enjoyed?" 13 Jesus replied, "People soon become thirsty again after drinking this water. 14 But the water I give them takes away thirst altogether. It becomes a perpetual spring within them, giving them eternal life." 15 "Please, sir," the woman said, "give me some of that water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to haul water." 16 "Go and get your husband," Jesus told her. 17 "I don’t have a husband," the woman replied. Jesus said, "You’re right! You don’t have a husband – 18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now."
25 The woman said, "I know the Messiah will come – the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us." 26 Then Jesus told her, "I am the Messiah!"
This is our second step… LETTING GO:
Proverbs 26:11 As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.
Every time you dig up a dead dog it smells worse!
How do we let go…
We need to look at our memories, whether accurate or inaccurate, and learn to shut the door on what was to what could be with God… Like the women at the well we can simply walk away and keep living the way we always have, or tell everyone about the one who can heal, and can help…
Here is what we do with our memories… (From Pentectostal Evangel)
• We assume new identities – as victims – and allow our experiences to define us, determining who we are.
• We judge and demean ourselves because we have mentally embraced the idea that we’re “worthless damaged goods.” We lose self-respect, which affects the way we dress, the friends we make and the things we do.
• We fall victim to false guilt. Absorbed in denial, agony, or escape, we sometimes assume we deserve the abuse we received, otherwise it wouldn’t have happened.
• We blame God for what happened. It’s easy to forget that we live in a fallen world where men and women choose to be ungodly. WE assume God controls people, but humans are not puppets – we have moral freedom for which we, not God, are responsible.
• We believe God abandoned us in our trauma. Therefore he can’t be trusted. I’m surprised by the number of people I encounter at the altar asking for prayer, yet admitting they can’t trust God because of past hurts. God didn’t abandon you… He grieved with you.
• We conclude… that everyone is out to get us.
Letting go is not ignoring… burying, or denying!
It is about processing, being honest, getting help, and letting go
What’s going on when we don’t let go?
• we have an open door of pain, abuse, that needs to be closed and healed.
Some practical AND spiritual things to do…
Make a list of friends, family, business associates, yourself, God, whom you might have formed judgments.
Find an accountability partner to whom you can confess your bitterness.
Ask the Lord to open your spiritual eyes to any bitter-roots that cycle in your life.
Pray and release - Let go and Let God!
Bottom-line… why do we let go…
If we stay consumed with our past struggles, our mundane daily routines or pity parties… we will miss the adventure waiting us ahead as we dig up the dead in our past.
In a few moments today you will have an opportunity to let go. Give it all away. We have a choice… will we let go, or hold on to it?
If we don’t let go you will always be thirsty.
"People soon become thirsty again after drinking this water. 14 But the water I give them takes away thirst altogether. It becomes a perpetual spring within them, giving them eternal life."
When we let go of the baggage, and let God be our source. He provides water for us that truly quenches our thirst.
Romans 12: 15 When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t try to act important, but enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible. 19 Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, "I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it," F79 says the Lord. 20 Instead, do what the Scriptures say: "If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink, and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you." F80 21 Don’t let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good.
Forgiveness is more than letting go, it is embracing a good future for the person or place that hurt you, wronged you.
We unpack – we acknowledge the baggage
We let go… we give it to God
We FORGIVE - leads to wholeness…
When we lay all that we have at the cross, and give it to God… what does His blood do? White as snow… His blood makes me white as snow… healing, wholeness…
FORGIVENESS TO… YOURSELF –OTHERS - GOD
FORGIVENESS FROM – YOURSELF – OTHERS - GOD
The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.” — Marianne Williamson
Rob Bell Video- Luggage
Grabbing a bunch of luggage from the stage... Challenging: today we have the choice... we can walk out free to move forward with God... or bound by the luggage and baggage of life. Choose to unpack, let go, and truly forgive.