There is a department store called, “Things Above” and everything in it is free. All you have to do is show up and start taking all of the wonderful things the store has to offer. Your cashier is Jesus. He waits for you and greets you with a smile when you walk in.
The first thing you have to do though, before taking home the gifts He has to offer is to do an exchange. That is step one. You exchange your old self for a new self. Once you put on your new self, it is time to exchange a few other things.
Jesus is happy to take them back even though you didn’t “buy” those things at His store. He has a great exchange policy.
With you, is a giant suitcase that you’ve been carrying around -actually dragging around- for pretty much your entire life. Boy, is it heavy. It has been such a burden to keep that thing with you wherever you go.
Once you put your new self on though, the “want” to get rid of that suitcase is your next priority. So you go up to the counter and open the case. You take out one object at a time and hand it to Jesus. He takes it and exchanges it for something better.
You hand him doubt and he gives you trust.
You hand Him your burdens and He gives you encouragement in return.
Chaos is swapped for peace.
Shame for unconditional love.
One by one, your heavy suitcase gets emptied. You realize that the gifts that Jesus gave you in return don’t weigh a thing and it makes you smile.
Soon, the suitcase is completely empty and you don’t need or want that suitcase anymore. Why would you? So, you give it to Jesus and He throws it in the back with the millions of other empty suitcases in there.
Wow! You feel so much better and wonder why you didn’t do this before! Now, it is time to shop! Yeah!
Aisle by aisle, you see the coolest stuff on the shelves and it is all FREE! Belts of Truth, Armor of God, Breastplates of Righteousness, Shields of Faith, Helmets of Salvation and Swords of the Spirit…they ALL fit perfectly!! You also pick up some kindness, patience and a buttload of forgiveness and grace. Smiling SO big, you still can’t believe all of this stuff is free and you want to kick yourself for not doing this sooner. Then, you realize that the timing was just perfect.
As you leave, you stop by and say, “Thank you” to Jesus once again for all of these amazing gifts. You ask Him how long this store has been in business and He answers, “Oh, about 2000 years.” He then just winks at you, smiles and adds, “Come back any time. I am always here when you need me.”
Now that you are home, everyone – I mean EVERYONE – is noticing your new digs. Plus, you aren’t carrying around that ridiculous heavy suitcase anymore. Your friends and family – who are still dragging theirs around- want to know what you did. So you share the story about Jesus and what He did for you.
‘Cause that is what you are supposed to do.