No Beautiful Baggage

 

“There is no health in my bones
    because of my sin.
For my iniquities have gone over my head;
    like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.

My wounds stink and fester
    because of my foolishness,
I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
    all the day I go about mourning.
For my sides are filled with burning,
    and there is no soundness in my flesh.
I am feeble and crushed;
    I groan because of the tumult of my heart.

O Lord, all my longing is before you;
    my sighing is not hidden from you.
My heart throbs; my strength fails me,
    and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me…

But for you, O Lord, do I wait;
    it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer…

For I am ready to fall,
    and my pain is ever before me.
I confess my iniquity;
    I am sorry for my sin.” Psalm 38:3-10,15,17-18

Unaddressed sin is a burden. We drag it behind us and its weight impedes our growth and slows our progress in faith. Its poison seeps down into attitudes and bones, often inhibiting our ability to love, forgive, sleep, even be kind. It taints our view of and reactions to others, smudging them with criticism, revenge, covetousness, malice, and blame. Its tentacles can manifest themselves in misery, irritability, anxiety, anger, and depression. 

There may be some pretty good glossing over, make-up that conceals some of the hurt and pain, colorful masks that hide what we never want to reveal, but there is no beauty in sin’s baggage, and no blessing in trying to cover it up.

The good news is that Jesus bore the burden of our sin, and all its attending effects and fall-out, for us on the cross. Trusting in Him to forgive and save releases us from its onerous weight and entanglements, and sets us free to flourish, unencumbered. The light and color we radiate as His redeemed children reflects His purity and splendor. (1 Peter 2:24)

What ungodly attitudes, what fears and worries, what disdain for others, have we accepted as part of our wiring and been unwilling to deal with before God? What grudge or bitter baggage are we holding on to and pretending to justify? What indulgences of our flesh do we sequester, or disguise, or excuse, and where are we experiencing their detrimental effects?

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

Would we come to Jesus to be cleaned, and loosed from all that would drag us down and hold us back from pressing on to know and be filled with our Savior?

Father, uncover and reveal the root of any anxiety and tumult in my soul. Cleanse me from sin, and release me from baggage so I am free to live and serve and glorify You. (Psalm 139:23-24; Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7)

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