Set free from excess baggage

Published 6:22 pm Friday, March 18, 2016

I read a story about a man in an airport who was concerned about getting to his flight on time. He did not have a watch, so when he spotted a man carrying two large and bulky suitcases he stopped him and asked him if he knew what time it was. He put down the two suitcases, pulled back his sleeve, looked at his watch and told him the time.

He went on and gave a local weather report, and even gave the time and weather conditions of places on the other side of the world.

The first man was amazed as he asked if the watch gave all that information. When he found out that it indeed supplied a huge volume of information he asked to buy the watch.

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The two men agreed on a price of $2000. With his new watch proudly displayed on his arm, he started to walk away. It was then that the seller grabbed the two large and bulky suitcases, handed them to the buyer and said, “Don’t go off without the batteries!”

Sometimes the things we wish for and are attracted to come with a lot more baggage than we originally expected.

Empty religion, with its demands and regulations that have no ability to change the heart, is one of those. It might have some attractive features and seem to include some desirable promises, but in reality it is weighty and only serves to burden down the soul. Like the heavy batteries for the watch, it comes with an excessive load that cancels out any advantage that was hoped to be gained.

Among the tremendous blessings we can focus on during the Easter season is the freedom that Christ purchased for us from the heavy burdens of empty religion.

The hypocrisy of the religious leaders of that day was exposed by the Lord as recorded in Luke 11:46: “Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them”” (New International Version). He replaced that empty religious system with the provision of a living, life transforming relationship with God through faith in Him. Pay attention to what He said to the weary souls of His day: “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

What a relief that invitation must have been to those who had been heaped with requirements imposed on them by the religious establishment. That same invitation is open to all who will receive it today.

As we reflect on the events that led up to the crucifixion of Christ, and as we rejoice in the celebration of His glorious resurrection from the dead on the third day, let us remember the pain and power of sin that He defeated for us, and the excess baggage that He came to set us free from.

Carry these words of the apostle Paul with you daily: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).