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Sunday, 11 October 2015

What kind of traveler are you?

It is always interesting to observe people as they make their way through an airport and note what they carry with them. Some people travel with perhaps only a light backpack or briefcase. Or perhaps even with no baggage at all. Others have a medium-sized bag that might be a bit more of an effort to carry or pull behind them. And you will also see those who have a number of very large, very heavy suitcases that they struggle to maneuver into the checked baggage line. You may see people bumping into others or objects that get in their path because their heavy load makes it cumbersome to easily reach their destination.
Now consider the “baggage” that we as individuals carry on our voyage through life and ask yourself, “What kind of a traveler am I?” Is what you carry light, medium or heavy? What sort of things weigh you down on your journey? For each person the answer will be different.
With some introspection and honesty, you can likely answer those questions and come up with a list of things that might be difficult for you to carry, either spiritually or emotionally: Do you carry grudges towards others? Regrets about things you have or have not done? The reminder of past incidents that have hurt you? The nagging feeling of not being able to break a bad habit or to forgive someone? The anguish of having hurt someone you love?
The majority of us have dealt with a number of those issues during some point in our lives. But how can a person learn to let go of some of those old regrets, habits or sorrows that plague us and weigh down our minds?
It may not be completely easy, but with some understanding of God’s word and requests in prayer, we can learn to let go of some of the “baggage” that might be holding us back from living a productive, full life in this world, with the hope of a perfect and unencumbered life to come. 
Do you need some encouragement? Christ Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)
Christ is telling us that we don’t have to shoulder all of the burdens of this life alone. He will help us and give us some peace of mind from the troubles we encounter during our lives. Are you thinking to yourself, “Oh, I just have too much to cope with and I don’t think I can let go of all that I mentally carry with me.”?
Don’t let yourself be discouraged. What Christ teaches us is really quite simple: Take some time to research the scriptures given by his Father’s divine inspiration and do what they say. If we can do that, just one step at a time, we learn about forgiving others and forgiving ourselves, about letting go of grudges, about taking on the traits that make our lives easier and lighter. When we are kind to ourselves and others, we live with much less regret and heartache. We also learn that we can be forgiven of our past mistakes and start, as it were, with a clean slate.
The apostle Paul wrote, “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:9-14 NIV)
Paul (formerly called Saul) had much to overcome and to let go of. Before he was given that great revelation during his journey to Damascus, he was quite zealous in a way that opposed what Christ wanted, even consenting to the death of Jesus’ disciples. But instead of living a life of utter self-loathing and regret, he turned that zeal into fulfilling the will of God by teaching others throughout a vast region. He made an extreme turn-around and became a wonderful example of faith and of living a life in accordance with the Creator’s word. (Read Acts 8:1-3, Acts 9:1-31 and Acts 13:9.)
In Hebrews 12:1, Paul gave us some very good advice: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, 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.” (NKJV)
With help from our eternal Father and his Son, we truly can learn to let go of the things that weigh us down and travel more lightly through this world. With less to impede us on our journey, we can focus on a life ahead that will be filled with unending joy and peace.
Helpful scriptures to read:
Mark 4:14-20
Luke 21:34-36
Ephesians 4:20-32
1 Timothy 6:6-8
James 5:9
1 Peter 5:6-7
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