Traveling away from home seems to provide a unique time of temptation for me. Maybe it’s because I’m out of my routine or away from my family, but I find myself more susceptible to laziness, lust, and other kinds of deadly sins. To help fight it, I keep three basic things on my mind when I travel: family, purity, and ministry.
Whenever I’m gone, I want to make sure my family knows that I love them and that I’m thinking about them. I do this with phone calls, but I also do a couple other things.
- For my wife I write her a card for each day I’ll be gone. The card usually has a short prayer or a couple sentences telling her something I love about her, and then a verse of Scripture. It takes about 20 minutes to do these cards (depending on how long the trip is) and I’m pretty sure it blesses her more than I realize.
- For the kids, I try to rally them together before I leave and show them on a map where I’m going. I ask them to pray for me while I’m gone and tell them what I plan to do while I’m there. I don’t always leave them something to open when I’m away, but I always bring them something back to let them know they were on my mind while I was there.
I know that while I travel I will face temptations in ways that I don’t always when I’m at home. I may be a pastor, but I’m still just a dude, so I’ve got to be on guard. To do this, I make sure of the following:
- I’m prayed up. I do my best to intentionally ask God to protect me during my trip from wandering heart, wandering eyes, and wandering feet. While I travel, I strive with extra effort to have solid devotional times. It is easy to neglect this discipline when I’m on the road because of the change in my routine, but there’s always excuses to not draw near to Christ—so I fight it fervently. Keeping my eyes on Him is my only hope to honor God, so I do my best to draw daily upon His grace during my trips.
- I’m partnered up. I don’t like traveling alone, but when I have to, I enlist several brothers to help me. These men know my weaknesses and have committed to pray for me while I’m gone—and sometimes they’ll even check in on me during my trip. I’ve been 100% transparent with these brothers about my struggles and they know the tough questions to ask me when I’m gone. I’m too weak to fight this fight alone, so I’m thankful for these brothers who keep me accountable.
- I’m planning to kill the TV. As soon as I step into the hotel room I unplug the TV and promise God I won’t plug it back in. Me + hotel room + TV = trouble, so I don’t flip through the channels—and I don’t give myself the chance. I also don’t get the internet in my hotel room. I figure people lived without the .com for a really long time and I can go to the lobby if I really need it. God tells me to make no provision for my flesh and I have to obey Him (Rom. 13:14).
While most of my trips are ministry related, there are some basic things I try to do, just because I’m a Christian.
- I pray for God to set up divine appointments. Regardless of why I travel or where I travel, I am an ambassador for the King of Glory (2 Cor. 5:20). In light of this, I ask Him to set up encounters with people He wants me to talk to about Him. Whether it be on the plane, in a taxi, in a restaurant, at the hotel, or wherever I am, I ask Him to make me attentive to the people He has placed around me. I pray for Him to open doors for me to share the Gospel and to point people to Jesus. We must always be available to be used by Him. Ask Him to set up divine appointments.
- I bring a tract and an extra bible. One of the things I’ve found to be profitable is to have a copy of a non-goofy tract like 2 Ways To Live that helps people understand the Gospel message. I don’t always use it when I’m sharing the Gospel, but I do think it’s good to leave something with them to read after our conversation is over. I also bring a pocket sized bible that I can part with, so I don’t have to decide if I am willing to part with my personal Bible in the case that someone needs a copy of God’s Word.
These are a few basic things that I try to make sure I do each time I travel. Please let me know of other ideas you have about traveling as a Christian man. May God be honored in our lives, wherever we may go.