Yesterday was garbage day at my house. Even though I don’t accumulate a whole lot of trash, by the time garbage day rolls around, I’m always more than ready to kick it to the curb. While I was thinking about it, a simple question arose, “Would you carry around yesterday’s garbage?” My immediate response was, “Of course not! Who in their right mind would want to hold onto their garbage any longer than necessary?” The next thought that came to mind was, “…then why would you carry around your spiritual garbage? Good question.
Like yesterday’s trash, your spiritual garbage is doing nothing for you. So why hold onto it? Quite frankly, you may have just been too lazy to take out the trash. Instead of dealing with the garbage, it may have seemed easier to learn to live with the anger, unforgiveness and other junk you’ve been carrying around for weeks, months and even years. Or maybe you didn’t realize how hazardous this kind of garbage can be to your health if kept around too long.
Several years ago, I passed through a town with a paper mill that emitted quite a stench for miles around. A Greyhound bus driver made the comment that if he didn’t finish his coffee before driving through town every day, he could not finish his coffee. For the locals however, it was a different story. The same smell that turned the bus driver’s stomach (and mine) didn’t even phase them. In fact, they had gotten so used to the smell, they didn’t even notice it anymore. But after a high percentage of the community ended up with cancer, studies found that long-term exposure to the chemicals from the paper mill had proven toxic.
Living with spiritual garbage is no different. While you could just sit around and get used to living with it, over time, complacency results in serious long-term effects to your health—and relationships. If you’re a child of God living with trash from the past, it’s time to let go of the bag, kick it to the curb of your life and leave it there. Then ask God to come and fill you with the fresh, sweet fragrance of His Spirit, empowering you to move forward in His plans and purposes.
…but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)