The Great Exchange
At the October CityPrayz event I performed a skit titled, “The Great Exchange: Exchanging your baggage for God’s luggage.” We received a lot of positive comments about the skit, and as I was praying concerning this devotional, I sensed God leading me to reiterate its message:
Most everyone I know can name something about themselves that they would like to change but have felt powerless to do so. In my own life, I have discovered that changing something that has been part of me for a significant length of time takes a process: a series of steps required to move from where I am now to where I want to be, or more importantly, to where God wants me to be. I am amazed every day, as I walk this journey with the Lord, at how great His love is for me, for all of us. He loves us the way we are, and He loves us so much He wants to transform us into what He knows we can be. And He has some pretty good ideas for each one of us!
Is it true that we all have baggage? Can this baggage be keeping us from the best God has for us? Can it hinder us from truly changing for the better? I say, most emphatically, YES!
God wants to take us from a mindset of unbelief to a mindset of total faith: that is, fully trusting who He is and trusting Him for our lives and for our future. He says to you, “I know the plans I have for you and they are GOOD.” (Jeremiah 29:11) You have a future and a hope in Christ. He works from your present to your future, not your past to your present. If you choose to live from your present to your past, you’re going to miss so much of who God is. All of us come into a relationship with God carrying baggage from our past. What is this baggage?
Hurts and wounds
Sins that have scarred your mind and heart
Anger you feel justified in harboring (grudges)
Negative pronouncements about what life has taught you
You can be locked into a present-past lifestyle and a present-past perception that says, “Nothing’s going to change, nothing’s going to work for me.” You will notice that many of your current experiences come from your past in constant replays. If you live with this mindset, you are almost guaranteed your past will repeat itself again and again. Why is this? Because what you focus on keeps coming back again and again. If your expectations come from your history, then you are locked into that history. What is it that you doubt about God that keeps you focused on the negative and trapped in your old ways? What is it that you do not understand about God because your vision of yourself is distorted by your past? Many people have lived for too long in this mindset. The enemy, Satan, wants to keep us trapped in defeat, negativity and fear. But God doesn’t!
When we are “in Christ,” old things will pass away and all things become new. (II Corinthians 5:17) This doesn’t happen instantly, but the transformation can begin when we come to understand that, regarding anything we cling to that keeps us in bondage, God is constantly saying, “LET IT GO!” Let it go and let Him replace it with something wonderful that He has always intended for you to have.
A beautiful thing about the cross is that it represents our deliverance from the bondage of present-past thinking. Part of dying to “self” is the crucifixion of the thought patterns and behaviors that we really don’t like but can’t seem to escape. Allow those parts of you that are governed by your past to be crucified with Christ. God is our present and our future. The Lord wants to take us from our current life with Him to the future He desires for us. Walking with the Spirit means letting go of your “baggage,” the things that keep you from the best He has for you.
How much of your daily time is spent brooding over your past, dreading your future, and as a result, failing to enjoy the present? When I was first asked to contemplate this question, I realized that most of my life was spent dwelling on my past (the negative things) and worrying about my future because I was sure my past would keep repeating itself. But I can honestly tell you that I have gone through the processes of getting out of that mindset and I now walk in the freedom of trusting God, enjoying my life and living with a hopeful expectation of my future. I know this change is possible and it is crucial for God’s people to be set free.
Too often, we carry the hurtful words of others in our memories; words that make us feel worthless, useless, with no value, or ridden with fear. Our memories are full of pain or abuse, guilt or humiliation. God says to you, “I don’t want those things in your head. I don’t want them in your life. I don’t want them to rule you. It is time to let them go.” Realize that Jesus came to give you newness of life and freedom from your past. Yes, our past happened, and we can’t actually erase it from our memory, but we can let it go and give it to God. And when we do, it loses its power over us as we walk in the grace and love our heavenly Father is bestowing upon us.
Be comforted by these words: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) Those are His words of promise to us! When you are in the midst of crisis and turmoil, when your life has been turned upside down, that is the very best time to turn to God, because it is when we have come to the end of ourselves that we are most willing to fully trust in Him. At those times, when He truly has our attention, He may be able to bless us in ways that we might ordinarily not allow when things are going well. Too often, it is only in those times of great pain and misery that we are desperate enough to look beyond ourselves, to ask “What is really going on here? What can I do to change my terrible circumstances?” God wants to help you see those things that hold you in bondage and are not pleasing to Him. He will gladly take them from you. He is always there, always present, and always able to help you “let these things go.”
Unless your identity comes from the Lord, you’ve got a false identity. You are not living from the place of truth. For God is truth and He will restore your true identity. All that baggage we carry becomes our identity, and the devil does everything he can to keep us trapped in that false identity. But as we give our baggage to God, we find that we now have room for His luggage. He is saying, “You won’t need this baggage for where we are going, so can I have it? I have plans for you, I have places to take you, but in order for you to be that person you have to give me your baggage. I can then enable you to become the person I created you to be.” The Holy Spirit will point to those things that He wants you to let go of, to exchange for the gifts He has for you in return. What are these gifts He gives in exchange? Let’s call them “God’s luggage:”
A joyful, confident expectation of good
Enjoyment of life
It is about “The Great Exchange,” where God will love you through the process of change, taking your earthly baggage and giving you his heavenly luggage. God loves it when we see Him for who He is and walk daily in the relationship He has always longed to have with us. As we follow in His footsteps, we walk boldly into the future with hope, faith and confidence.
Dear Jesus, my Lord and Savior,
Thank you for giving me the knowledge of “The Great Exchange.” I am so tired of carrying this baggage. I have been afraid to let these things go, but I am willing to give these things to You because You know what is best for me. I long for the new luggage you give for my journey with You. Please help me to submit daily to your transforming power. Thank you for Your unfailing love and for the good future You have in store for me.
In Jesus Holy name, Amen.
*You may find it helpful to write a list of the things you need to surrender to God and the things He will give you in exchange, and then meditate on those good things He wants to give you.
More Scripture Verses:
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
I John 3:1 “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
I John 5:4-5 “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
All scripture references are from the English Standard Version.
By Sherry McPherson | October 28, 2009 4:31 pm