In the name Jesus, I’ve carried totes, suitcases, and shopping bags of useless weight for years, decades even. My back is bent from struggling with this load so long; however, I’ve often refused to put it down. In the natural when I am carrying something that exceeds my strength, I may grin and bear it because I know I will be able to sit it down shortly. Perhaps, in the spirit realm, my intent is the same. Baggage comes in many shapes and sizes. Ostensibly, we may convince ourselves that the pain, disappointment, shame, guilt, self-loathing, self-destructive behaviors, depression, bitterness, jealousy, paranoia, despondency, and the like are items that we must carry on so to speak to our destination. The illusory destination may prompt us to hold on to things although they are too heavy for us. We probably plan to put them down soon, but what if we were never meant to carry those burdens in the first place? Every step we take with the load unnecessarily burdens our journey. The name of the ministry God has given me is, A Necessary Pain; to be pruned in Christ requires some necessary pains. Unfortunately, there are self-inflicted pains that we subject ourselves to that are not the will of God. If all things are working for our good, which they do, how can a pain be unnecessary? Useless pain is the kind that results from resisting the perfect will of God, walking in contradiction to His commands, often to gratify our flesh. Clinging to people or situations once God calls us out for His divine purposes also makes agony our new norm.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1
The “strip of” instruction found in Hebrews 12:1 magnifies our need for conscious concerted efforts to remain free indeed. Not only will the weight delay progress, it will begin a vicious cycle of unproductivity, self-loathing because of unproductivity, resulting in more stagnation and fruitlessness, i.e. unproductivity. I’ve been in this cycle for months. When I have a spike in my faith, mostly because of emotionalism, not really believing God with all that I have, I sprint towards the finish line only to lose focus on Jesus and stop abruptly. Vicious cycles are the manifestation of the enemies underhanded methods of drawing us further from Christ and closer to our former selves. As a weight-free conqueror, I fix my eyes on Jesus always looking for the evidence in my life of the fruit of the Spirit. If a tree is fed properly and in the right environment for growth it should produce fruit. For believers, we have the ability to produce fruit in every season. Trouble ensues when our fruit is replaced with baggage in the Spirit realm. The fruits of the spirit are found below in Galatians 5:22-23. Do you notice the presence of these fruits or the lack thereof in your life? No worries, we all are in the process of maturation which will become tangible by the fruit in our lives.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
When we forfeit luggage for spiritual fruit we feel relieved, relaxed, refreshed, and rejuvenated. What does this process look like? Well, it requires much spiritual and mental effort. The spiritual effort involves the daily, moment to moment application of God’s word. SPEAK IT! SPEAK! DECLARE IT! When I was incarcerated, I quoted scripture until it got down in my spirit and became evident in my life. Under the direction of the enemy, I drifted from that practice when I came home. We all meditate on something. I exchanged my spiritual meditation on the Word of God for the daily, moment to moment assessment of my insufficiencies, deficits, and inconveniences. Trade your thoughts for the Word of God. When we speak in congruence with the Word of the Most High God our fruit will gradually be revealed. Notice I am not mentioning money, shelter, health, and vitality. With eyes glued to Christ, we will notice our spiritual fruit and their juxtaposition to our earthly needs. God is not going to bless us with love but forget that we need food, water, and shelter. If we do go without any of our necessities, know that God has a perfect plan, which often involves suffering, but again, we still should be able to produce fruit in those seasons.
The mental effort required means that we have cognitive “bouncers” that will only allow certain thoughts, themes, and theories into our psyche. These mental filters weed out the thoughts that reinforce the vicious cycle, fruitlessness thus encouraging thinking which leads to spiritual harvests. Secularly this behavior of carefully selecting and replacing thoughts is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Many biblical principles have been repackaged and sold as something “new” when God inspired the transcription of such principles ages ago. Philippians 4:8 denotes the importance of carefully considering what we choose to think about. Again our thoughts, as well as our actions, are up to us. We have more power and control over certain aspects of life than we like to consider. It is empowering to pick through our thought life destroying the destructive and welcoming the positive, godly thoughts.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;…” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
Our load gets lighter when we fill ourselves up with the Word of God, letting go of the hurt, pain, disappointment while making room for the fruits of the Spirit. We have the authority to order our thoughts to obey God. Taking thoughts captive is symbolic to arresting falsehood and releasing the truth. The baggage of low self-esteem, people-pleasing, and feelings of guilt, and are stripped off of me when my thoughts are properly clothed in Christ. The question is not why our loads are so heavy, the quandary is why are we carrying so much in the first place? Jesus died. He died for our spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional freedom. The word of God does not speak of freedom or liberty in Christ with additional unnecessary weight from baggage in our hands. Put it down! Release the burdens! Receive God’s peace, love, grace, and forgiveness. Jesus will not take the load if we do not first release it. That means that we must determine to cast it on Him, not devise new plans of how we can cope with illegitimate baggage. What are you carrying?
“For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” John 8:36
Free indeed, the weight is removed
Burdened eradicated, spirit soothed
Songs of praise, goodbye blues
Beating on demons, relentlessly pursue
Intentionally free, liberated, Jesus in view
Powerful possession there is no issue
That Daddy can’t handle I rest in Him
Fighting for my peace, Satan held for ransom
Ready for war, victory is my anthem
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