I recently ran across a quote I had saved on a 4×6 card by a Confederate General in the Civil War. General Richard Ewell offered the soldiers under his command this bit of advice; “The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.” This advice could apply to emotional baggage as well as physical baggage. My mind reflects on the emotional baggage that many are carrying which brings on physical baggage affecting their bodies as well as their minds. Men come to Bethel with prescriptions for mental and physical maladies. Their well-being has been ravaged because, for one reason or another, they have abandoned the narrow way (following Christ). What once was a vibrant and joyful commitment to Christ is now evidenced by waywardness, confusion and bondage because of sinful choices. The sins of indulgence have become a heavy burden upon their weakened soul. The baggage of sin has become a yoke on their mental and physical well-being.
I’m reminded of the great classic, Pilgrim’s Progress. In this allegory of the christian life, the main character, Christian, flees from the City of Destruction, holding his Bible, wanting to escape from “the wrath of God”. An evangelist points him to a small wicket gate in the distance for relief from the burden on his back. “Enter by the narrow gate for wide is the gate to destruction and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 As he heads toward the gate he falls into the Slough of Despond with the burden of sin on his back. The weight of his sin nearly swallows him up before a man called Help rescues him. He was told that there were steps (the promises of God) across the swamp but they were buried under filth because of the sins of the City of Destruction flowing into the swamp. Again I am reminded how many who have left the narrow way end up unable to see any of the promises of God. Their sin has darkened their souls. “…having gone far from the Lord, having followed idols and have become idolators.” Jeremiah 2:5 The Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah, tells the people of God; “Have you not brought this on yourself in that you have forsaken the Lord you God” Jeremiah 2:17 And, sadly, we see the result of this state; “Your own wickedness will correct you, and your backslidings will rebuke you. Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing that you have forsaken the Lord your God and the fear of Me is not in you.” Jeremiah 2:19
You may be asking how you can get this baggage of sin off of your weary soul. I would suggest you go to II Timothy 3:1-7 in the Scriptures and look at what may be a form of godliness in your own life. Mark those traits or behaviors that you see in yourself and repent of them. Then ask the Holy Spirit to show you the baggage of sin that you have been carrying such as unforgiveness, anger, sexual immorality, deceit, etc…. Repent and ask forgiveness of what He reveals. Make amends to those whom you have wronged. Kneel at the cross. Come to a loving God who cares for you. He is waiting. Get alone with Jesus and go to Him and He will lovingly remove the baggage of sin that has been a yoke to you. He will cleanse you and forgive you from all guilt and shame.“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Isaiah 1:18
Oh, what a Saviour!!