One of the pleasures of traveling to different countries is the joy of learning new words and expectations. While in Australia, I learned a few words that I like quite a bit. Instead of garbage, our Aussie mates say “rubbish.” Say rubbish aloud five times – it is a fun word. When going for a walk, they say it’s time for a “wander” and when rest is required, the Aussies say they need a “doze.” I enjoyed learning new phrases and refreshing words to add to my vocabulary.

There happens to be one word, though, that became quite a bother. Weight!

While the meaning of weight is the same in both the U.S. and Australia, its restrictions at the airport are not. When flying from the U.S. luggage can weigh up to 70 lbs, but when flying within Australia, luggage must weigh no more than 23 kg or 50 lbs, and one’s carry on luggage cannot pass 7 kg or 15 lbs. Because Gary and I bought many books to distribute to the various groups we spoke for, our luggage weighed far more than the Australian guidelines.

Upon arriving at the Sydney airport and preparing to fly to Adelaide, the flight check-in attendant’s first inquiry attended to the weight of our bags. In order to abide by the airline regulations, we needed to get rid of all unnecessary burdens as well as distribute the weight of our bags evenly. Have your bags ever been overweight? It’s an awful feeling. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the bags tipped the scale into the red, so an extra fee was added.

What weighs you down? Are you carrying extra weight?

Jesus invites His followers to give any extra “weight” to Him (see Matthew 11:28). Many trappings encumber us as we journey with Jesus. Perhaps the need to possess the latest fashion, gadget, or belongings burden you, or the narratives of modern culture confuse and distract you from godly living. Whatever pressures you experience, the King of the universe offers freedom and levity when we jettison all unnecessary loads at His feet.

Consider the areas that add weight for us to carry through life. Work, family, friendship, ministry, hobbies, expectations, cultural messages, attitudes, health, finances, etc. Are there any weights that you need to unload?

New Testament writers such as Paul, James, and Peter each exhorted followers of Christ to rid themselves of things such as bitterness, anger, slander, malice, filthy language, deceit, envy and hypocrisy (see Ephesians 4:31, Colossians 3:8, James 1:21, and 1 Peter 2:10). These attitudes surely add weight to the spiritual journey.

Which attitudes or actions in your life do you need to remove, with the help of the Holy Spirit?

Soak in this Scripture. Read slowly and notice if anything bubbles to the surface regarding life’s hinderances. Welcome the Holy Spirit’s attention to your soul.

Hebrews 12:1
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. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Read it again and wonder about the ways this Scripture connects with your soul.

Receive God’s grace to you as you read the verses a third time. Purposefully strip off any unnecessary weight that might slow you down or trip you up, so that you can “run with endurance” the race God has for you. Thank God for His presence with you.

While the Holy Spirit reveals things we must “throw off” in order pursue Him wholeheartedly; not all weights need to be thrown off. The clothes we are instructed to carry in our proverbial suitcase are kindness, compassion, and forgiveness (see Ephesians 4:32).

Elsewhere we learn that we must put on the armor of God and follow Jesus’ sacrificial model (Ephesians 6:13 and Romans 13:14). Humility, gentleness and patience are the “luggage” of our lives. Ironically, this kind of “baggage” is not actually heavy. The Spirit nurtures these godly traits within us which are not burdensome but gifts of grace to enjoy and share with others.

Take a look at your baggage and get rid of what weighs you down and let the Holy Spirit fill you with godly thoughts, desires, and actions for His glory. And perhaps weigh your bags before your next trip Down Under :–)

Lent 2019 commences on March 6, with the celebration of Easter on April 21. With the focus of prayer, fasting and giving, what weight might God invite you to release so as to take hold more deeply in Christ?

Download the Lent Calendar I’ve created to encourage your journey through Lent. Just as Advent leads to Christmas, Lent leads to Easter.

Intentionally prepare your heart for the greatest story ever when the weight of sin was dealt with for eternity by the resurrection power of God.

Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.

1 Peter 2:1
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.

Ephesians 6:13
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Colossians 3:12-14
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.

Jenni Hoag. 2019 Lent Calendar.

Kenneth B. Wingate. Run with Endurance: The Triumph of Faith. Dallas, GA. 2014.