Unload your spiritual backpack
One of my greatest passions is walking long distances and hiking. I have had the opportunity to hike in some of the most scenic parts of the country, including the mountains surrounding Tucson and Arches National park in Moab Utah. While some of my hiking adventures have been while I was on vacation, most of them have been in the area that I was living at the time.
I have been lucky enough to live in numerous places throughout the US and as a result have had the opportunity to hike in various terrains. No matter where I have hiked the hike has always required that I be prepared for the hike. If you have ever taken a long hike then you have probably came to the same realization that I have. No matter how carefully you pack for a long hike you tend to find after several miles that you have packed too much. It is not uncommon for a long distance hiker to find that they have packed too much and need to shed some of that excess weight.
Our Christian walk is very similar to a long distance hike; we head out with everything we think we need only to find that we have packed too much baggage. You know the kind of baggage I am talking about. We burden ourselves down with the guilt of our previous sins to such an extent that we can’t possibly expect to finish the hike of faith. What many Christians fail to realize is we do not have to carry this burden. All of this excess baggage that we drag with us has been lifted from us by Christ when he died on the cross.
If we as Christians believe that Christ died on the cross so that our sins can be forgiven then why do we insist on still packing all of this excess weight onto our shoulders? If we have truly given our sins to Jesus and he has taken them from us then why do we insist on picking them back up?
No matter how diligently we attempt to walk in the word of God we all tend to stumble. We all have our short comings and tend to get tripped up by our sins. It is in our nature to sin and while this certainly does not provide us with an excuse to do whatever we want, we need to realize that we are going to sin and understand that it is not the sin, but what we do about that sin that determines our walk of faith.
We need to avoid that one sin that continually trips us up, that one area where we are weakest; we all have that one area. If you were walking in the woods and you tripped over a root of a tree then chances are you would avoid this root laying across the path the next time you passed by this tree, yet as Christians we seem to get continually tripped up by the same thing. It is this sin that we need to give to God and ask him to help us with.
If you have been a Christian and have been walking the path of faith for any time at all then chances are you have heard this before, but what so many of us tend to fail to realize is that while we may ask God to forgive our sins we often forget to forgive ourselves.
Hebrews Chapter 12 tells us “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.
Notice this does not say that we should lay aside some of the excess weight, but rather it tells us that we need to strip off every weight that slows us down. We all have these things in our past that we can easily forgive ourselves of, those things that we did that may not have been so bad or seemed to do too much harm to our friends or family. Jesus did not die to forgive the little sin, besides what exactly determines the size of a sin? Can we measure our sins?
Acts 13:38 says -
“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you”
The forgiveness of sins, not the forgiveness of some of our sins, or forgiveness of the little sins, but rather the forgiveness of sins. This clearly means all our sins! Therefore, we must forgive ourselves of all of our short comings.
We need to take a personal inventory of our spiritual backpacks and determine what it is that we are carrying that we should have put down a long time ago. What sin against God or against a loved one do we have stuffed into the bottom of our backpack? What are we refusing to put down? Only you can take this personal inventory and determine what it is that you have been carrying for too long.
You may be thinking “but brother you don’t know what I have done, certainly I can’t put it down, this thing I have done is too bad, I need to carry it with me.” My answer to that is that you must not have been listening when I said that Jesus died for all of our sins. It is easy for us to think that our sin is unforgivable, but the bible tells us over and over again in the New Testament that the only unforgiveable sin is to reject Jesus’ offer of His saving grace, and refuse His salvation. We can do this by refusing to accept Jesus dying on the cross for our sins or by refusing to repent.
Even if we claim to have accepted Christ as our savior and refuse to repent of our sins then we are not truly saved. This means that we clearly have not truly accepted Christ’s salvation. Rom. 10:9-10 says “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.”
A Christian whose faith is in Christ has no fear of this, as all of our sins will be forgiven and we have freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:16-17 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Consequently there is nothing that you could have done that has not already been pardoned by the blood of Jesus.
So I answer your comment with the rebuttal that you are wrong, you have been forgiven and no matter what it is you have been carrying around you need to empty your backpack of that excess baggage so that you can finish your hike down the path of faith that has been laid out before you.
The only way you can stay on the path of faith is to unload that excess baggage and leave it before the cross. Once you have done this then you need to keep your eyes on Jesus. He is the trail guide who initiates and perfects our faith. He endured the cross, disregarding its shame and is now seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
When you stumble on your way think of all the hostility he endured then you won’t become weary and give up. While your pack may seem heavy at times, remember the weight of the cross and tread on, If you find yourself worn out and it seems impossible to continue on your walk of faith, then you need to take a personal inventory of your spiritual backpack again and see what unneeded baggage you have picked up along the way. Remember, that none of us can finish the long hike alone, we must walk with him and when your load gets heavy let him carry it for you, and forgive yourself for Jesus has forgiven you