Right Equipment

RIGHT EQUIPMENT      by Sue Found

 Jesus said that He came so that we could “have an abundant life”, a life that is overflowing with good.   (John 10:10)

 It is interesting to compare a persons “walk” through life with a hike through the mountains.  The path of life, like a mountain trail, is sometimes smooth, safe, and pleasant, and sometimes rough, dangerous and unpleasant. As we walk through life we are also faced with many different situations. Should I decide what to do based on my feelings, such as: 

What seems to be right?
What makes me feel good?
What is the easiest way?
What will bring the most financial or social success?
Should I try to follow a strict set of rules that promises self improvement or a higher level of life?

Or should I …
put my trust in the One whom the Bible says:
is my creator
Loves me unconditionally
Sent his son to suffer and die for the things I have done wrong
Offers forgiveness and strength for right living
Promises to be with me always, guiding and directing my life

As we walk along the mountain trails we also have decisions and options:
Should I just start out on the first trail I come to?
Should I trust the advice of an experienced hiker and the information that the park service provides about the area?

 What equipment has God provided for me to have an “abundant walk” through this life?
What equipment do I need in order to have a good experience hiking on mountain trails?
The Bible speaks of the equipment we need when it tells us to, “Put on the full armor of God, so that when difficult times come, you may be able to stand firm.”  (Ephesians 6:13)  Below we will compare the armor that God tells us to put on for our walk through life to the equipment that we need for our mountain hikes.

 1. TRUTH.  ><>  ><>  ><> (compare to backpack)

“Stand firm with the belt of TRUTH buckled around your waist.”  (Eph. 6:14)

 “Jesus said, I am the way and the TRUTH and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me”.  (John 14:6)

“Everyone who sins is a slave to sin… If the Son (Jesus) sets you free you will be truly free.  If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the TRUTH, and the TRUTH  WILL MAKE YOU FREE’.”  (John 8:34,36,31)

When we have a relationship with Jesus we can discern what is TRUE, (leading us in the right direction and freedom), from what is false, (leading us the wrong way, into slavery).

When we reject Jesus and the freedom He gives we will have to carry all of out worries, troubles, and problems on our shoulders.

“Let Him (Jesus) have all your worries and cares, for He is cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7)

“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.  For I am gentle and humble in heart, and you shall find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy, and my load is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)

 /\^/\^/\      Choose a good backpack.    /\^/\^/\

What if you had to carry your water, raingear, snacks, sun screen, map, camera, and first aid kit, in your hands while you were hiking?  A good backpack should be:
Strong, with secure seams, straps, zippers
Comfortable, light weight, padded straps, belt that puts weight on hips
A size that is big enough to carry everything you need
With everything in your pack your hands will be free to use a walking stick or to assist in climbing, and the things that you need will be easily available.

 2. RIGHTEOUSNESS.  ><>  ><>  ><> (compare to park rules)

“Stand firm with the breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS in place.”  (Eph. 6:14)

 How do we know what is the RIGHT (and what is wrong) in our walk through life?

God loves us and knows what is best for us. Just as governments make laws to help and protect us, God has given us laws to show us the right way to live.  In summary, God’s law tells us “to believe in His Son Jesus Christ” and “to love each other as Jesus loves us”.  (1 John 3:23 & John 15:12)  Do you know anyone who always obeys God’s laws?

What happens when we fail to trust Jesus; when we fail to show unconditional love to others?  If we always followed God’s laws our walk through life would always be smooth. We have problems because we so often fail to do the RIGHT things.  How can we put on the breastplate of Righteousness?

The Bible says, “There is not a single person who is RIGHTEOUS…All men have turned away from God…No one does what is good, not even one.  No man is put RIGHT in God’s sight by doing what God’s law requires.  What the Law does is to make us realize that we have sinned (done wrong things) and deserve to be punished.  God sent His son Jesus to suffer and die on the cross taking the punishment we that deserve…God puts men RIGHT through their faith in Jesus Christ.”   (Romans 3:10ff)

So we are RIGHTEOUS in God’s sight, not because of how good we are, but because of what Jesus has done for us.  When we trust in Him as our Lord and Savior our wrongs are forgiven and we are equipped with the breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS.  And it is God who works in us, giving us the desire and the power to do the RIGHT thing.  (Phil.2:13)

 /\^/\^/\     Learn and follow park rules     /\^/\^/\

How do we know what is the RIGHT thing to do when we are hiking in a National Park?

The park authorities know what we should and should not do to have the best possible experience hiking in the park.  The rules and regulations are made for our protection and the protection of the environment.  Here are some of the rules:
No littering, pack out garbage and put into dumpsters.
Fires are only permitted in fire pits when conditions permit.
Camp stoves are permitted.
Stay on the trails to avoid soil erosion.
Don’t drink from streams or lakes, to avoid getting bacterial infections.
Don’t approach wild animals, to avoid injury or infection from parasites
Don’t feed the animals, it interferes with their normal diet and health.
Store food and cooking utensils in your car or camper or it may attract bears.
Observe quiet time regulations.

At times it is inconvenient to follow park rules and tempting to disregard them, but not having the RIGHT attitude or doing the RIGHT thing can result in an unpleasant  experience, instead of an enjoyable one.

3. SHOES. ><>  ><>  ><> (compared to hiking boots)

Put on shoes so that you are ready to spread the good news that gives PEACE.

Eph. 6:15

 “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim PEACE, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation…  (Isaiah 52:7)

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away (from God) have been brought near through the blood of Christ.  For, he himself is our PEACE…and has broken down the walls of hostility that used to separate us.”  Ephesians (2:13-14}

Jesus said, “PEACE I leave with you, my PEACE I give to you; not the kind of PEACE that the world gives.  So don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.”  (John 14:27}

The kind of PEACE that Jesus gives involves forgiveness, freedom from guilt, and confidence that He will never leave us.

 /\^/\^/\    Choose a good pair of hiking boots.    /\^/\^/\

Hiking boots should be:
The right size, comfortable
Sturdy, protecting from sharp or hard objects, supporting ankles
Able to provide good traction to prevent slipping
Waterproof to keep feet dry
The discomfort and pain of blistered feet, a sprained ankle, or a fall can be avoided by wearing proper boots.

4, FAITH. ><>  ><>  ><> (compared to protection from the elements)

Take the shield of  FAITH with which you can put out the flaming arrows of theevil one.  (Eph. 6:16)


“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God…and everyone born of God overcomes the world.  This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our FAITH.  Who is it that overcomes the world?  It is only he who believes (has FAITH) that Jesus is the Son of God.”  (1 John 5:3)

God has provided the protection that we need from the evil one’s fiery attacks.

“The Lord is your guardian.  He is the shade over your right hand.  The sun will not beat down on you during the day…The Lord guards you from every evil.” (Psalm 121:5-8)

When we are exposed to the fiery heat of the sun our physical body needs a constant supply of water to quench our thirst.  Jesus provides a constant supply of “living water” (John 4:10) when we are attacked spiritually by the devil’s fiery arrows of temptation.

Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me to drink.”  (John 7:37)

“Whoever believes (has FAITH) in me will never be thirsty.  (John 6:35)


/\^/\^/\     Protect yourself from the dangers of the sun and dry air    /\^/\^/\

Because of the high altitude, mountain hiking increases danger from over exposure to the sun, which can result in sunburn or possible eye injury.  The best protection is a hat that covers your ears and protects your eyes, sunglasses, and sunscreen.  The low humidity in Colorado in combination with strenuous hiking can easily result in dehydration.  Hikers need to carry lots of water and drink often.  Lightweight, spill proof water bottles are available.                                                                                                                                                                                       

5. HELMET. ><>  ><>  ><> (compared to hat)

Take the helmet of SALVATION.  (Eph. 6:17)

 What is the ultimate danger that we need to be saved from?  Who can save us?  How can we be saved?  For what purpose are we saved?

“All have sinned…the wages of sin is death.”  Romans (3;23, 6:23)

“Jesus carried our sin in his body on the cross so that, freed from our sin, we

could live a life that has God’s approval.”  (1 Peter 2:24)

“Whoever believes (has faith) and is baptized will be SAVED, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”  (Mark 16:16)

“Because of God’s kindness you have been SAVED, through faith.  It is not your own doing, but God’s gift.  There is nothing to boast of, since it is not the result of your own efforts.  God is the one who has made us and in our union with Christ Jesus he has created us to live lives full of good works,  which he has already prepared for us to do.”  (Ephesians 2:8-10)

 /\^/\^/\     Choose the right hat to protect your head    /\^/\^/\

When in danger, what part of our body do we instinctively try to protect first?  Why?

A broad rimed hat protects a hiker from the sun.  It protects your face and ears                              from sun burn and your eyes from eye-strain.

A poncho hood protects your head from rain and hail.

A knit hat keeps your head warm at high altitudes and during cold nights.

Rock climbers need to wear a helmet to protect them in case of a fall or the                                    danger of  falling rocks.

6. SWORD ><>  ><>  ><> (compared to maps)

Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the WORD OF GOD.  (Eph. 6:17)

 How can we successfully find our way through the paths of life?  The WORD OF God is our like a map that we look to for guidance. It tells us about our need for a Savior and about Jesus as the fulfillment of that need.  It also gives us direction for the new life that is ours when we trust in Jesus.  When Jesus was tempted by the devil He used the WORD OF God to resist temptation.  (Matthew 4:1-11)  We can also use the truth of God’s WORD to recognize the devils lies and resist his temptation.

“The Bible (God’s WORD) is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth,            rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living, so that the man who serves God may be fully equipped to do every kind of good work.”            (2 Tim 3:16-17)

“I have treasured your WORD in my heart that I may not sin against you.                          (Psalm 119:11)

“Your WORD is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  (Psalm 119:105)

 /\^/\^/\    Consult trail guides and maps before beginning a hike.    /\^/\^/\

You can pick out your destination, a lake, waterfall, glacier, backpacking site, or mountain top and the trail guide and map will tell you how to get to the trail head, how long the trail is and what the altitude gain will be.  It will tell you if the hike is considered easy, hard, difficult, strenuous, or technical (needing ropes and other rock climbing equipment). You can then pick the trail that fits your time schedule and your stamina as a hiker.  Most trails in the parks are well marked, but having a detailed map could prove helpful.

Park rangers will gladly give advice about choosing trails.

><>  ><>  ><>

7. ALERTNESS. Be ALERT, PRAY at all times. (Eph. 6:18)  (compared to alertness on the trail)

 “Be careful – WATCH OUT for attacks from Satan, your great enemy.  He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for someone to tear apart.  Stand firm when he attacks.  Trust the Lord; and remember that other Christians all around the world are going through these sufferings too.  Let Him have all your worries and cares, for he cares about you.  Serve each other with humble spirits, for God gives special blessings to those who are humble, but opposes the proud.”  {1 Peter 5:8,9,7,5)

“Don’t worry about anything, instead, PRAY about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank him for his answers.  If you do this you will experience God’s  peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.  His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:6-7)

 /\^/\^/\    Keep ALERT when you are on the trail.    /\^/\^/\

LOOK DOWN, keep an eye on the trail and watch for signs and cairns to guide the way.

LOOK UP, keep an eye out for dangerous weather conditions, storms, lightening, hail.

Be AWARE of signs of altitude sickness, dizziness, nausea, or headache.

KNOW what to do when encountering a dangerous animal, bear, or mountain lion.

DON’T hike alone or get separated from your friends.

CARRY a whistle, walkie-talkie or cell phone to call for help if you get lost.

 8. CONCLUSION. ><>  ><>  ><>

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

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