I read an article recently about a man who started on a seven-month, 7000-mile hike. He began along the Pacific Crest Trail (running from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington State) before connecting with the Continental Divide Trail (running along the backbone of the Rockies from Canada to Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico to the Mexican border). The hiker explained how he prepared the supplies that he carried with him in order to reduce overall weight.
He made a stove from a cat food can (weighs .3 ounce), took the plastic handles from his Swiss Army knife (.2 ounce saved), cut the handle from his toothbrush like climbers do on Everest (eliminating .3 ounce) and trimmed the margins off his trail maps (an almost imperceptible amount of material). Regarding this meticulous attention to the reduction of extra weight, the hiker said, “Lightweight hiking is an obsession, a philosophy rather than a practical application.”
It’s not a matter of practicality, just a philosophy. Maybe if human life was on the line, like a person climbing Mt. Everest who reduces weight because of the difficulty of bearing a burden at high altitudes, it would then be seen as a matter of practicality. When human life isn’t at stake, it’s more a matter of seeing just how far down one can pare things and still function.
Which led me to ask: what “dead weight” am I dragging?
God is clear about the seriousness of cutting out those things that would slow us down. Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1b). Athletes in ancient times removed anything that would slow them down or inhibit performance. I’m reminded that those competitors took great care, and it was only a game at stake.
The race we face is more critical than a marathon, a 7000-mile trek or any ascent to the summit of Everest. Our race looks to eternity. Shouldn’t we be all the more serious about the “weights” in our lives? Ridding ourselves of anything that hinders our communion with Christ cannot be reduced to a philosophy without any bearing upon our actions, but must be seen as a necessity to be practiced as an act of obedience.
If you were obedient to God, would there be things you would lay aside? What are they?
What’s keeping you from obeying Him?
We will focus on pleasing God above all others and avoid distractions and less-important issues. – 2 Timothy 2:4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.
We would exercise self-control and be led by the Spirit of God, recognizing that we are living with eternity in mind. – 1 Corinthians 9:25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
We would continually allow Jesus to change our minds and heart to be a clearer reflection of who he is and refuse to be satisfied with spiritual maintenance over spiritual maturity. – Philippians 3:12-14 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.