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What's in Your Spiritual Backpack?

When we’re serious about following Christ through the difficult climbs of faith, we want to pare down to what matters most.

By Sharon Hinck, Bloomington, Minnesota

As appeared in

“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2

Each time I read this verse, I gulp. Can I really aspire to this sort of single-minded focus? Can I learn to value Christ so much that everything else becomes like nothing by comparison?

When we were newlyweds, my husband and I went on a backpacking trip in the Grand Teton Mountains with a youth group. As we prepared, we learned about priorities. When you have to carry everything on your own back for miles of hiking in high elevations, you get wiser at deciding what matters most.

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I’ve heard that some experienced backpackers will even cut off the handle of their toothbrush to reduce the weight of their pack by another fraction of an ounce. Before we left, I looked around our apartment. I liked our microwave, our books, our piano. I enjoyed a dresser full of clothes and a curling iron on the bathroom counter. But for our adventure in the mountains, all I really needed were the basics of survival.

Ten days lugging a tent, sleeping bag and food taught me a lot about how much is nonessential. Sometimes in our walk of following Christ, we get bogged down by the nonessentials. There are plenty of interests, activities or ambitions that feel important. They aren’t necessarily bad things. But they sometimes threaten to crowd out the central purpose of life. When we’re serious about following Christ through the difficult climbs of discipleship, we want to pare down to what matters most: knowing Him and His crucifixion.

Faith Step: Think about the backpack of your spiritual life. Are there any nonessential things weighing you down?

Sharon Hinck is a wife and a mother of four, who loves spending mornings—and all day—with Jesus. She has a master of arts in communications and her award-winning novels explore ordinary women on extraordinary faith journeys. Sharon welcomes visitors to her Web site at sharonhinck.com.