August 10, 1628, was a dark day in naval history. On that day the royal warship Vasa set out on her maiden voyage. After taking 2 years to build, being lavishly decorated and holding 64 cannons, the pride of the Swedish navy sank only one mile out to sea. What went wrong? The excessive load was too heavy to make her seaworthy. Excess weight pulled the Vasa to the bottom of the ocean.

The Christian life can also be weighed down by excess baggage. Encouraging us in our spiritual journey, the book of Hebrews says: “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, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (12:1-2).

Like the lavishly decorated ship, we may project to others an impressive exterior. But if on the inside we are weighed down with sin, our perseverance can be impaired. There is a remedy, however. By relying on God’s guidance and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, our load can be lightened and our perseverance buoyant.

Forgiveness and grace are always available to the spiritual traveler.