How Are You Packing Your Bag?

You would think that packing a bag of groceries would be an easy thing, right?  I mean, it's not rocket science to know that the heavy, sturdy items go on the bottom while the lighter, perishable items go on top.  As for mixing items, no, household cleaners shouldn't go in the same bag as my food.  Yes, I would like my cold items placed together so that they will stay cold longer.  And could you please place the dog treats in a separate bag from the pouch of candy lest I make a horrible mistake on the long car ride home?  Seriously, is there anything more frustrating than getting home after a long grocery trip to find that your bread is mashed, your eggs are broken, your chips are now chiplets and your favorite candy tastes like bathroom cleaner?  It's enough to drive a girl crazy. . . well, this girl anyway.

Unfortunately, it was recently brought to my attention that we often pack our "spiritual groceries" in the same haphazard manner.  What do I mean?  Well, we're quick to pack the Bread of Life and the fruit of the Spirit because we feel compelled or obligated to take them along for the ride.  After all, we're supposed to take those with us, right?  But then what do we do?  We toss all of our problems, worries, frustrations and everything else on top of them.  We bury them beneath our daily woes and proceed to drag the heavy bag from place to place.

The result?  The Bread of Life, the Word of God that we've hidden in our hearts, becomes smashed and unrecognizable.  It's there, somewhere, in the bottom of the bag, but we can't find it because of all the other "stuff" we have to weed through to get to it.  We try to remember and meditate on God's promises, but our thoughts are so overwhelmed with the cares so evident on the top of the bag that we can't recall the truth that's buried deep beneath the surface.

As for the fruit of the Spirit, well, it gets battered and bruised.  Love?  Sure, I'd love to get out of this dark valley.  Joy?  Are you kidding me?  Peace?  Yeah, right, not after hauling around this bag of trouble.  Goodness?  Why bother?  Things aren't going so well for me, now are they?  Longsuffering?  Not likely.  I've been as patient as I can be, but now I want solutions. And on and on.  The fruit never stood a chance under the weight of all those circumstances.

Had we packed our bag differently, however, things would have been much better.  Toss in the cares, frustrations, trials and disappointments of this life, but then cover them with the Bread of Life and the fruit of the Spirit.  Amazingly, the bag will seem lighter.  The Word of God will be much more easily accessible.  The fruit of the Spirit won't get bruised and battered.  In a sense, we've covered today's trials with grace and given ourselves a chance at victory.  Victory over defeat.  Victory over depression.  Victory over another bad day.

Be careful how you pack your bag today.  It's not enough to simply take the Word of God and fruit of the Spirit with you.  They must be accessible.  They must be on top.  Keep them in the forefront of your mind, and I guarantee you the burden will be lighter and the day will be brighter.

Chiplet, anyone?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. - Galatians 5:22-23