Welcome to the Greene Street Letters. It has become my venue for sharing what is going on at Vineyard Recovery Church. Don't let the word Church scare you. The Greene Street Letters is a daily posting to simply say that there is more to life than what you see. More to life than "stuff". My simple take of 60+ years of following Jesus. Some days were good days...some days I managed to get off in the ditch. He is worthy of the pursuit, so that is what I do........I pursue Jesus in everything I do. Not the Jesus of the church. Not the Jesus of the denomination. Nothing wrong with those things, but Jesus is so much more. Thanks for dropping by and I hope you return from time to time to stop and ponder your own relationship with Jesus. God on you....mb
Friday, March 10, 2017
Get Rid Of Your Baggage Claim
......strip off every weight that slows us down.......
......especially the sin that so easily trips us up.....
We all use the term baggage.....
"Oh, he has a lot of baggage he's dragging around from his past."
Or..."You might want to stay away from her....she has a lot of baggage."
What is this baggage that casts a negative shadow on a person?
Well, good ol' Wikipedia defines baggage in this manner:
Having "emotional baggage" means having experienced traumas, disappointments and other negative issues in the past. "Baggage" is figurative. It's like "heavy heart" and "a weight on one's shoulders" with a hint of additional awkwardness.
I think maybe they should have taken this definition and stretched it out a bit farther.
I am of the opinion that baggage is the state of well being that becomes damaged by events, traumas, disappointments and other negative issues. These things take a toll on the mind, heart and spirit of an individual. Throw in the simple fact that such things have a way of creating character defects in those who experience them, and you've got yourself an individual who may turn to drugs and alcohol to escape the pain.
They continue, at least in their own minds, to move forward as each day passes, but the real truth is they have become shackled, tied to, and weighed down by the accumulated baggage. They try and try but can't seem to escape. Filled with good intentions, and a reoccurring thought of "I should be able to break free"...they may find themselves going in circles. "I can do this"...."I can't do this"...." I can do this"...."I can't do this".
That is why I love the words of Hebrews 12:1. The author reveals a that he was a man who came to the table with more than his fair share of personal baggage. Strip off every weight! What falls under "Every?" All of them. What might be one of those weights? How about looking at our future through the lens of the failures of our past. You cannot move forward if you are tied to your past. That is why this relationship with Jesus is one that releases us from our past. Sin has been dealt with once and for all time. We are free! We are free emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and every other "ally" there might be. Through our acceptance of Jesus' gift of relationship and eternal life with Him, the price has been paid for every wrong thing we every did. Every wrong thought we ever had.....and every wrong turn we ever took has been brought under His blood. I don't understand how it works...I can't draw you a sketch or blueprint of how Jesus' blood took care of all of my stuff. I just know that He did. I just know that I am not the same person I was before I met this Jesus.
The passage from Hebrews tells me that we are to "Strip Away" the weights..."
You may be thinking, "Well, I need something practical....something physical and tangible that shows me how to do this." That is where the twelve steps come in.
Confession / repentance / acceptance of Christ as the leading guide (You could use the term LORD) in my life. Now that I have a guide, or someone I submit my will and life too, I start the journey of stripping away the old mindsets and behaviors that came from my baggage. Things like guilt and shame are on the chopping block, so to speak.
I approach life now, ready to put some feet to this journey by doing Step # 8 (Make a list of all the people I have harmed)...and Step # 9 ( make amends to the people on my list). These are the "freedom" steps in this new life. I know way to many folks who work the first three steps and then stop. They never move forward anymore. They are stilled bound by the old thoughts, the old ways and old behaviors, straining to move forward. Hebrews 12 tells us that to rid ourselves of sin and that which so easily entangles us and causes us to fall, in order that we can "RUN" the race...the course...the direction...the life that God has laid out for us. What's more...we can run with endurance. We can move with purpose and perseverance, facing whatever comes our way.
Think on these things.
God on you..