I've chosen part of a verse of Scripture to base my writing on today. I will basically not reference the verses before or the verses that come after it. Well, maybe I will...maybe I won't. I'm not taking this verse in context. My goal is not to give you a formal exegesis. I am not saying that this is what we should take away from this particular Scripture. Today is just about something that struck me hard. Ready? Here we go...
"And the Lord said, Yes, he has hidden himself among the baggage."
(1 Samuel 10: 22)
About ten days ago, someone posted this verse on Twitter. Just the verse. No commentary, no nothing; just the verse. I haven't been able to shake it ever since. "He has hidden himself among the baggage."
In the text, "he" was Saul, and he was hiding among the trunks, suitcases, and luggage used for traveling. For our purposes, how many of us hide among things that encumber our freedom, our progress, our development, or our adaptability? How many of us hide amidst the BAGGAGE of our lives?
If we've walked earth's sod for any number of years, we've picked up stuff along the way. The King James Version of this same verse says, "Behold he hath hid himself among the stuff." Baggage. Stuff. We all have it.
Things that have happened to us in the past. Where we've come from. What was done to us. Things we've done ourselves. Experiences. Circumstances. Offenses. Conversations. Rejections. Abuses. Cuts. Bruises. Gaping wounds, sometimes scabbed, picked, and oozing poison once again.
We hide because of them. We hide behind them. We hide amidst and among them.
And we go nowhere.
Limits are placed on baggage when we board an airplane because lift-off and forward movement can only handle so much weight. Our emotional and psychological "baggage" will prevent us from soaring. It will impede our growth and forward momentum in every area of our lives. You were never created to carry all that weight.
One of the most gut-wrenching sermons I have ever seen and heard was one given by Bishop T.D. Jakes some years ago. I won't ever forget it as long as I live. The Bishop walked up and down the aisle and the front of the sanctuary, having someone place suitcases, duffel bags and all manner of luggage on him, piece by piece. Each one had a name. Names like those I listed above. In the beginning, he was able to move freely and rather quickly. With each added piece, his movements became more encumbered, slower, and eventually he could barely crawl up the steps of the altar before he collapsed under the weight of them all. What a visual of our beaten down estate when we try to function, all the while carrying around all of that baggage. I sobbed at the bare, raw truth depicted in that demonstration.
What would it look like, my friend, if we could reverse this demonstration? If one by one, we could deliberately take each bag off, and lay it at the foot of the Cross of the Lord's Christ? Imagine the increasing freedom of movement that corresponds with the discarding of each piece of baggage, until...until...we stand erect, unencumbered and free. And could we be so bold as to never pick those bags up again?
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5:1)
"...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." (Hebrews 12: 1)
A runner cannot run loaded down with any kind of weight. We will never be a part of the race, let alone win the race of life, loaded down with hindrances and baggage.
Throw off the baggage. Run free!
Those bags are not sufficient excuses to justify our wrong choices.
Those bags are not sufficient excuses to sit on the sidelines and never be used by God.
Those bags are not sufficient excuses to avoid the people of God.
Those bags are not a hiding place.
Those bags ARE heavy, destructive, devastating, limiting, suck-the-life out of you, straight from the pits of hell, weapons of the enemy of your soul.
You will never rise, fly, produce, serve, or experience true Holy Spirit joy or peace, as long as you insist on hiding amidst your baggage.
In the text, Saul was chosen to be king over Israel, but no one knew where he was. No one that is, except the Lord. It was He who said, "he has hidden himself among the baggage."
You may be able to run and hide from others; maybe even from yourself. But the Lord knows. He sees you cowering and trembling and hiding yourself among all that baggage.
Look. He is holding out His hand and beckoning you to come forth. He is calling you to step out into the light of His love and grace, forgiveness and mercy. He is ready to take those bags from you, one by one, and throw them into the abyss forever.
Don't be afraid.
Come out of your hiding place.
He is there.
You will never be the same again.