Whose Bags Are You Carrying?
When traveling on international flights, travelers are asked these questions at the luggage check-in: “Are you carrying baggage for someone else?” or “Did you pack all the bags yourself?” It could be very dangerous and destructive to carry someone else’s baggage especially if that person is a stranger. An innocent-looking package could contain dangerous explosives.
Yet on many occasions we find ourselves carrying “the enemy’s baggage.”
Each day we present our bodies to the Lord and He is faithful to renew our mind (Romans 12:1). But then along come various situations—no one comes to a class you are teaching; a regular member suddenly stopped ordering; a colleague or family member uttered an offensive remark; a temptation in an area of weakness; a friend, colleague, child, or brother not doing what was expected; thoughts about an unpleasant event in our past. These situations are propositions from the enemy to carry his baggage.
Signs of the Enemy’s Baggage
In such situations our mind is filled with negative thoughts about ourselves or the people involved in the situation. The enemy would love for us to dwell on these thoughts and may bring to mind memories and stories about past dealings with the same or similar individuals. He wishes for us to think about memories of past failures and rejections. If we are not careful, these thoughts will lead to negative emotions of discouragement, despondency, or even depression. We are now carrying the enemy’s baggage and the consequences could be disastrous.
Disposing of Harmful Baggage
To thwart the enemy’s plans, we must be quick to cast down these negative thoughts and bring “into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Jesus is like the X-ray machines at the airport, but unlike those machines which sometimes fail to detect explosives, Jesus can always detect the enemy’s baggage. Before we dwell on a thought, we must pass it through Jesus, to make sure it is pure, true, just, honest, lovely, or of good report (Philippians 4:8).
The Holy Spirit will remind us that God uses every situation in our lives to conform us to image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-29) so that we can be thankful even in these adverse circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). A heart of gratefulness will drive away discouragement and associated negative emotions and fill us with the joy of the Lord.