Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us. Heb. 12:1

In Jules Verne’s novel, The Mysterious Island, he tells of five men who escape a Civil War prison camp by hijacking a hot-air balloon. As they rise into the air, they realize the wind is carrying them over the ocean. Watching their homeland disappear on the horizon, they wonder how much longer the balloon will stay aloft. As the hours pass and the surface of the ocean draws closer, the men decide they must cast some of the weight overboard, because they have no way to heat the air in the balloon. Shoes, overcoats, and the weapons are reluctantly discarded, and the uncomfortable aviators feel the balloon rise. 

lay aside every weightHowever it isn’t long before they find themselves dangerously close to the waves again, so they toss their food overboard. Unfortunately, this too is only a temporary solution and the craft again threatens to lower the men into the sea. One man has an idea: they can tie the ropes that hold the passenger car and sit on them. Then they can cut away the basket beneath them. As they do this, the balloon rises again. Not a minute too soon, they spot land. The five jump into the water and swim to the island.

They are alive because they were able to discern the difference between what was really needed and what was not. The “necessities” they once thought they couldn’t live without were the very weights that almost cost them their lives. Why not make an honest assessment of the things that might be slowing you down today? Are they physical or spiritual necessities for you or someone you love? What would your life be like without them? If you eliminated them, would you have more time for the things in your life that really matter? Ask God to show you how your life could be improved if you made some changes and dropped some things that are weighing you down. 

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