Friday, February 19, 2010

Baggers at heart. It's in our makeup!

Just call me crazy. I'm sure it fits. But let me take a minute... perhaps a L~O~N~G one in hopes to better explain myself. I had someone question my sanity not so long ago in the name that I chose to call myself (a skin bag for Jesus). I'm sure it sounds weird! Since then, I've even rethought and questioned myself about it. I even went so far as to go to change it. But my daughter stopped me in mere changing-mode and told me not to. She told me don't you dare. She told me it fits. (Gotta love the hearts of babes!) Below is a letter I wrote to our preacher a long while ago commenting (rather lengthy) on the sermon he'd just preached. His series was on the baggage we carry. But my mind had already been working in a wild way before his series even began. Here is where my weird way of thinking had gone long before he had started. It doesn't exactly explain my name, but it does paint a more vivid picture of why it makes sense to me.

Dear Buddy, 

I thoroughly enjoyed your lesson on Sunday. (I had no doubt. I knew I would.) Your visual displayed with the airport carousel on stage and the luggage on and surrounding it was perfect. The parade of luggage (baggage) that marched to the front at the end, incredibly vivid! Your message, so true. I love what God can take and make of it when we let Him!

I couldn't help but think though (as I pictured us picking our luggage up from off the carousel) that not only do we carry our baggage around with us wherever we go, but we also WEAR what we've PACKED! It's all we've got with us to dress ourselves in! People can SEE it! Though, we're often too blind to see it ourselves, and so we haven't a clue that they can. 

We think that we can hide it. If so, we might get away with it for a little while; but don't be fooled, we can't disguise it indefinitely. 

What's inside - eventually has to bleed out!
If we're packing 'bitterness'... it's ON US like a dirty t-shirt!
'Pride'... glows like neon colors! 
'An old hurt'.... wears ON us like yesteryear's fashion! 
'Unforgiveness'.... spots and stains every garment!
I could go on…. but you get the picture.

The stench from our rotting old sin that we've continued to carry year after year after year stinks up our whole wardrobe, and no amount of any sort of perfumed spray can keep others around us from smelling it.
Let me sum it up for you: We are simply all suffering from "Bag-It Addiction" Syndrome. Let's face it, we're all Bag-gers! It’s simple! We LIKE to bag!
What a strange compulsion!

What is it about us that makes us want to "bag" things?  What is it about us that makes us want to hold on to stuff? To collect things? To stuff ourselves with it? Why do we want to continue to put things inside? What makes us have such need to carry? And why so much? Why do we stuff and stuff and stuff? 

What odd creatures we are!

But then again, when rethinking it; maybe not so much really. Not when you stop to ponder……. 

We are, after all, created as vessels! Jars of clay. Pitchers. A body. A temple. 'Skins' - made from dirt. Human-skins. Skin-bags….


Bagging things, carrying things in our human-skins (the containers of choice that God made us) on our earthly pilgrimage in our individual journeys is surely the most natural thing in the world for us. We're made containers. We're made to contain! We're made to 'have within'. We're made to keep. We were created to hold! We were made to be fill-ed! Thus, I suppose, it's in our nature to fill. It makes perfect sense then, why we’re such Fill-ers!

Truth be told, we're more than just that. We're both Fill-ers and Feel-ers. We "feel" a lot! And “fill” a lot too! And when you add our 'feeling' engulfment to our 'filling' compulsion,  then it's no wonder that we should pack what we 'feel'! Our impulsive Filler-instinct automatically starts 'fill'-ing our skin-containers with what we're 'feel'-ing (i.e. resentments, depression, hate, hurt, guilt, insecurities, grievances, unforgiveness, desires, lusts, compulsions, anger, mad, mean, addictions...) without us even realizing we're doing it. We've been "fill"ing our "feel"ings for years! Leaving many of us so fill-ed up with the feel-ings of our past, that we have no room for Jesus in our “in”s… and thus, no room for God to full-FILL His purposes and plans in and through us for our present moment, much less for our futures.
Okay, so we really are "Bag-It" people... and with every right to be. Though woe, at the things that we're bagging! When it's only Him that He intends and wills that we carry!

A friend of mine that tends to be fond of carrying extreme loads of baggage with her wherever she goes (and has done so for as many years as I've known her) was talking to me the other day. Someone new in her life had hurt her feelings. She was telling me about it. I felt bad for her. She was wronged. She was right about that. I hated what was done. I hated her hurt. But the more she talked, I could already picturing her folding it. And before I could stop myself from saying so, I asked, "You need a bag with that?" Just by watching her, I knew that she fully intended to 'bag' that hurt up along with all of her other ones. I knew that she planned to keep it. I knew that she planned to carry it with her and would pull it out to show every person in her path until the thing was so old and ragged from wear that the stench would be reeking. I so wanted her to see that she had a choice in the matter. I wanted her to know that she didn't have to keep it. I wanted her to know that it was totally up to her, and that she alone got to chose what she would to do with it. I wanted her to chose NOT to "bag" this one this time! I wanted her to give it to me to carry, and then us walk together as we both took it to Jesus. I tried to tell her. But how do you make someone that doesn't want to, let go??? I can appreciate our need to bag and carry, but can't we take note of what we're carrying, and make some new decisions about what we're packing? Get rid of some old, and start packing some new?
It might benefit all of us to take the time to drag our bags to the ticket counter and have our luggage 'checked.' Perhaps even go further than that, and have a thorough "security search" done before traveling any farther? I'm sure we all have something that wouldn't pass such inspection. We're bearing some things that aren't safe for our travel. Things that aren't only a danger to our own safety, but that endangers all those in flight next to us. Some of us are filled with 'firearms,' 'concealed weapons,' 'sharp objects' of all sorts. We, ourselves, are 'inflammable objects'. At the first light of a match, we're blowing! We're loaded with ammunition towards those that have wronged us. We're explosives just waiting to happen... and we're one bump or one wrong-word away from detonating! Shoot, I'll bet that some of us are even traveling with fraudulent identities. We've forgotten who we are and who we were "bought" to be! We need our expired identities revoked and our new I.D.s reissued before being okayed to advance pass the checkpoint counter. It might be a good idea for the whole church to meet next Sunday at the airport for service - to do some extensive searching of our inventory for our own security. 

Wouldn't that be fun! (**smile**)

If we truly looked closely, I wonder what we'd find ourselves 'filled' with?

We not only have need to get rid of some of what is "filling" us, but we need to remember that "filling" up on what we're meant to be "filled" with is detrimental to our having Christ's offered abundant life. Before we can be filled with what's right, we first have to empty what's wrong. 

A quick glance through the scripture shows all kinds of horrendous "fillings." Things like: "exceedingly filled with contempt" [2 Sam 6:16/ Ps 123].... "filled with violence" [Gen 6:11].... "full of troubles" [Ps 88:3] .... "filled with drunkenness and sorrow" [Eze 23:33]..... "filled to the brim with distress and desolation" [Eze 23:33].... "filled with his own ways" [Prov 14:14].... "a longing to be filled with the husks that the swine did eat" [Luke 15:16]...... "full of hypocrisy and iniquity" [Matt 23:28]...... "filled with unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness" [Rom 1:29]....... "full of envy" [Rom 1:29].... "full of murder" [Rom 1:29]......."full of debate" [Rom 1:29]...... "full of deceit" [Rom 1:29].....  "full of malignity" [Rom 1:29]........ "full of whispers" [Rom 1:29]........ "full of deadly poison" [Jam 3:8]....... "full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin" [2 Pet 2:14].......  "filled with lack of understanding and senseless rage" [Luke 6:11]....... "filled with wrath" [Luke 4:28]....... "filled with fear" [Mark 6:50]...... "filled with madness" [Luke 6;11]....... "filled with indignation" [Acts 5:17]....... a mouth "filled with wickedness" [Ps 50:19]....... tongues "full of lies" [Ps 50:19]........  "full of leprosy" [Luke 5:12]..... "full of bitterness and captive to sin". [Acts 8:23]..... "full of cursing and bitterness" [Rom 3:14].......... "full of confusion" [Job 10:15]....... "filled with sorrow" [Ps 38:18]......."full of hate" [Rom 1:29]...... "full of sin" [Rom 1:29]........... "full of greed" [Rom 1:29] ...... "full of envy" [Rom 1:29]....... "full of quarreling" [Rom 1:29]........ "full of malicious behavior" [Rom 1:29]....... "full of gossip" [Rom 1:29] ........... filled with idolatry [Col 3:5]........ lips "filled with flattery" [Ps 5:9]...... hearts "filled with destruction" [Ps 5:9]...... "full of darkness" [Eph 4:18] ...... "evil filled every inclination of every thought of their hearts all the time"!!! [Gen 6:5] --- Which left our God's heart "filled with pain" [Gen 6:6]................ and so God sent us Jesus!

Psalm 107 tells those that are redeemed by Christ to: "Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say this - those He redeemed from the hand of the foe... We were hungry and thirsty and our lives ebbed away. Then we cried out to the LORD in our trouble, and He delivered us from our distresses....... ”  [107:8-9] Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men. He satisfieth the longing soul, and FILLETH the hungry soul with GOODNESS!!”............ (NIV) “…for He satisfies the thirsty and FILLS the hungry soul with GOOD things!!!"  ………… (NLT) “… For He satisfies the thirsty and FILLS the hungry with good things...."  

Is that not something to give thanks to Him for or what?!!! "Let the redeemed of the LORD say this"!!!!.... I love that line! I love that he says, "let the redeemed of the Lord SAY!" We’re "redeemed"!!! So, why aren't more of us acting like it??? And WHY aren’t more of us "saying"??? Because He really really really does satisfy the thirsty! And He really really really does FILL the hungry with GOOD things!!! I know!!!! He's done it for me!!! I’ve been redeemed! And, therefore, I for one  intend to ‘say’!

Back to "filling"s....

The Christians on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:4 were "filled with the Holy Spirit”…………. Others that saw Jesus' miracles were said to be "filled with wonder and amazement" [Acts 3:10/ Matt 15:31] .................. Jesus told His followers in John 15 to remain in His love, then said, "I have told you this so that My joy may be in you, so that your joy might be FULL" [John 15:11].…….  

I KNOW that fullness of joy! And I want my joy to continue to be FULL! I want to be filled with His delight! [For “IF Your law had not been my DELIGHT, I would have perished in my affliction” – Ps 119:92] I want to stay filled with such wonder and amazement! Christ wants us to know His love, "which passeth knowledge," so that we "might be filled with all the fullness of God!" [Eph 3:19]……..….. 

I want that! 

I want to be filled with ALL the FULLNESS OF GOD!!! 

Our God of hope can "fill us with all joy and peace" [Rom 15:13/ Phil 4:4:7]……….. Paul prayed that we would be "filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Christ Jesus" [Phil 1:11]………… I want to so "be filled with HIS Spirit" that it's seen by His fruit living out through me [Eph 5:18/ Gal 5:22-25]……….. I want Him to FILL my heart with a greater love for Him - than any other thing! [Eph 5:2/ Luke 15:20/ Rom 5:5/ Eph 3:19/ 1 Thes 3:11 (MSG)/ 1 Tim 1:5/ 1 Pet 1:8].............. I want Him to FILL my MIND with thoughts that are completely stayed on Him! [Ps 94:18-19/ Phil 4:6-8/ Ps 10:4/ Rom 12:2/ 2 Cor 10:5-7]...................... I want to open my mouth and let Him fill it with the manna of His Word [Ps 81:10], so full that when I spill it’s His Word that spills out!............. I want Him to teach me His ways, that I may walk in it(!) [Ps 86:11], to teach me His Word, so that I will, and so that I won't be so prone to wander!.................  I want Him to fill me with His Light and leave no room for darkness [Ps 18:28/ Ps 112:4/ Luke 11:34-36]……………... I want to be filled with His mercy and grace [2 Cor 9:13-15/ Heb 4:16]…………………….. I want Him to fill me with His compassion [Mark 1:41/ Luke 15:21/ 1 Pet 3:8]………………. To FILL me up with His love [Ps 145:8/ Eph 3:19/ Eph 5:2/ 1 John 4:19/ 1 John 3:11-16/ 1 Tim 1:5]……………… I want my mouth to be FILLED with His praise, declaring His splendor all day long! [Ps 71:8]................I want to be “filled with joy and gladness” in God [Ps 40:16] ………………I want to be filled with His fire burning within me [Luke 24:32]…………. Filled with faith [1 Tim 1:14]………….. Filled with good works [Eph 2:10]……………. I want to live FILLED with that abundant life that He came to give [John 10:10]!..............

I long for my LORD to FILL me!!!! so I seek His filling in His Word!................... The Old Testament tells us that God's Glory filled His Temple [Exo 40:34]!!! And now as N.T. Christians, WE are His temples [1 Cor 3:16/ 1 Cor 6:19]. His Spirit LIVES in us [John 14:17/ Rom 8:11]! I want Him to FILL our temples with His Glory! I want His Glory to fill MY temple!!! I want Him to FILL this skin-bag of mine with nothing but Jesus! I want to be a 'Jesus with skin on' to someone that's never seen Jesus before!

Just by reading those snippets from scripture alluded to above; it's obvious again to see that we truly are Fill-ers! But the thing about it is this; God won't force our "filling." He leaves us to our own choice to what we fill ourselves with. He's ever powerful enough and willing to fill... but only if we're willing and let Him.

I'll end with this. Perhaps I went a little overboard in its silliness? I told you that I have spent a lot of time pondering this subject. I just felt the need to give a visual to make my point of our Obsessive Bagging Compulsions, and prove that we really are Bag-It People.

I'll Need a Bag for That!

We've got handbags to carry things that we want,
and trash bags to discard the stuff that we don't.
Shoulder-bags, saddle-bags, handle-bags, or clutch.
Evening bags with sequins, or without if that's too much.

Shopping bags, gift bags, party bags too,
Sleeping bags for slumber parties, beanbags for play rooms.
Bags for our travel, bags for dirty clothes;
Make-up bags, book bags, bags for 'carry-on'.

Garment bags, gym bags, golf-bags to hold your clubs
Mesh bags in all kinds of colors to store kid’s toys for the tub.
Beach bags, duffle bags, fanny packs for hips.
Bags for our lipstick. Bags for our chips.

Bags on wheels for rolling. Bags for overnight,
Bags to throw across our backs. Barf bags for our flight.
Bags for burgers and fries - when we don't have time to stop.
They even bag our Happy Meals, though they used to box.

Bags that wrap newspapers thrown on our lawns;
and bags to throw our newspapers in - after we've kept them too long.
Bags for our leftovers to store in the frig bin,
and bags for the oven for cooking stuff in.

Bags for our heads while under beauty parlor dryers;
and bags to keep hair dry while taking daily showers.
Bags for wet umbrellas to protect grocery store floors;
Where we'll find freezer bags, sandwich bags, lunch bags, and so many more.

Vacuum bags, tea bags, zip-lock bags or not,
Disposable or reusable; bags for cooking things that pop.
Bag choices to be made when we go to checkout,
"Plastic or paper?" the bag boy in his hurry shouts.

Some "just say no to bags," because they're concerned for the environment.
Others, with no thought at all, make requests, "Just double bag it!"
Bags are found inside boxes so cereal can stay sealed
and bags "for less gas" for baby's bottles (so they won't be ill).

Trash bags come in a vast assortment of sizes even with options on how they seal:
Draw-string? quick tie? some with odor-shield!
Hefty-bags for yard work, tall bags for kitchen cans,
Small bags for waste baskets, bags to line crock-pot pans!

Bags for our closets, bags to hold shoes,
Bags for kitty litter boxes, bags to pick up doggie poop!
Messenger bags for our laptops, bags made for carrying tools,
Bags for kids for lugging books back and forth to school.

I'm sure I barely touched the surface, there are bags for all,
but this one takes the cake I think, there's bags for bowling balls?!!!

Surely you can't help but agree, we really do have an obsession to bag! There's just something about us, it's IN us! We like to bag... and carry our stuff!


Each and every one of us: Guilty as charged! Again, it's part of what we do, because of what we are. We have great longing inside to be f-i-l-l-e-d. We're ''earthen v-e-s-s-e-l-s” with need for something to carry! We're going to pick up stuff to put in our bags. But we need to take notice of what it is we're bagging, and what we're filling ourselves with. Some things are false-fillers; leaving us stuffed till bulging and miserable; and yet, still so dangerously empty inside….. and wanting! But some things so fill us up that we're bound to explode with Jesus when touched. I want that kind of filling…. the kind that explodes with the awe of God's Glory!

Let's check our bags. Let's empty out what's bad for us, and "bag-to-share" what's good. Let's feast on God's Word, and bag the Good News and all the riches that come with it; then share it with those around us. Let's be the sort of Bagger that others can say this to you (about themselves and you) when you turn to leave them, "Thanks for sharing what you 'bagged' with me. And thanks for helping me with my own 'bag.' I'm bagging better things now than what I used to. I'm a better Bag-ger because of you." 

Thanks for your heart, Buddy! Thanks you for Sunday's message. I continue to look forward to what you have to share in this series. I'm really excited about it. I invited several people that didn't get to come on Friend's Day, but I am hoping to get them there next Sunday. God bless you as you study. May He guide you in what you "bag" and bring to share with us! Thanks for helping us un-bag some of what we've packed and have over-loaded ourselves with. And thanks for letting God use you to fill us with "good things" in our bags. Like I just wrote in the previous paragraph that I want said about me, I can say this to you. "Thanks friend, I am a better Bagger because of you!"

From a skin-bag that longs to be FILLED only with my Savior Alone!

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