Packed for Success – Haunted

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I have done a decent amount of camping throughout my adult life, and I have learned a lot about what is needed to have a successful camping experience. My early camping trips were less than impressive, though.

For my first camping trip, I went with my friends to Pinery Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. We made a last-minute decision on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend to go, and we did so without reservations. This was not a winning plan. Once there, we learned that there were no campsites available, which left us scrambling to find somewhere to stay.

We eventually found space on a beach and set up camp in the dark. This was when we realized that we didn’t have matches or a lighter to start a fire. After setting up the tent, it began to rain, so we headed in for the night. Our one-night camping trip was a total failure.

Fast forward 25 years, my friends and I now have several successful trips under our belts. Our favorite place to visit is Algonquin Provincial Park. It is about four hours north of Pinery and a much larger and more remote park. Campsites are accessible only by foot or canoe, so you have to pack light, which can be a challenge when you’re going out into the vast park for five nights.

These trips were very special and created some of my fondest memories. But as I reflect back on them, I see a glaringly obvious difference between the first and the others.  Our first trip was doomed to fail because we didn’t have everything we needed. We went last minute and didn’t have a plan, reservations, matches, or rain gear.

Unlike that first trip, we spent hours planning for the later trips. We mapped out which campsites we would hike or canoe to each night. We collaborated on who was bringing what items so we could pack light. And most importantly, we used a packing list to make sure we didn’t forget anything. We knew that having everything we needed was the only way to ensure our trip would be successful.

While camping can be a challenge, it is nothing compared to the challenge that Paul talks about in Romans 7.

Romans 7:21-24
21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?

As mentioned in this weekend’s message, this challenge of Godly living can haunt us. Like Paul, we wrestle with wanting to do the right thing, but we end up failing time and time again.  This challenge can seem doomed for failure, but the truth is God gives us everything we need for success.

2 Peter 1:3
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.

As Christians, we get everything we need when we take our first steps to know God. That step happens when we confess that we fall short of God’s perfect standard, ask for forgiveness, and make Jesus the Lord of our life. It doesn’t end there, though.

God invites us to continue to fill our lives with him, and as we do, it pushes our desires to sin, our “isms” (we talked about these in Tuesday’s LivingItOut), and negative thoughts about ourselves out of our lives. Jesus is everything we need for the adventure God has for our lives, and he is the answer to all of our challenges.

Romans 7:25a
Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Do you feel like you have everything you need to live the adventure God has for you?

When did you take your first steps to know God?  What are you doing today to be filled by him?

Next Steps:
Attend church regularly. Commit to praying before each activity, decision, and interaction in your day. Finally, hang out with others who can help point you to God. If you don’t have relationships that do that, consider joining a Group.

Dear God. Thanks for giving me everything I need to live out the adventure you have for me. Forgive me for the times that I try to do it on my own without you. Please fill me with your Spirit as I take steps to know you more. In Jesus’ name, amen.

This post was written by Ben Bockert. Ben is a proud husband and father of three beautiful daughters. He is honored to serve as the Director of the LivingItOut Bible Study.

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