Passage for Study: Acts 16: 11 - 15 … Linked for study …
My Journal for Today: Today Pastor Chuck, my devotional shepherd, got a bit more practical in his instruction, taking cues from the above passage about Paul’s missionary travels and his contacts with the people God led into his life along the roads of his journeys. It obviously reminded Swindoll of his own ministry travels, being on the road alone; and he provided his readers with some very practical guidelines to avoid troubles. And all of Swindoll’s travel instructions were exemplified by the Apostle Paul in his missionary journeys.
He gave such advice as the following …
• … Avoiding traveling alone whenever possible so that the traveler can avoid loneliness.
• … Staying accountable while traveling by staying in touch with home base.
• … Staying grounded in one’s relationship with God by staying fixed in the disciplines of the faith such as daily quiet times with God, fasting, prayer, and even journaling time in God’s word.
• … Avoiding the opinions of others whether they be too laudatory or negative.
All of these are good advice for traveling Christians; but as I read the passage today, being in a ministry which focuses on helping Christians, mostly men, deal with the pitfalls of sexual sin, I couldn’t help but be transported to give advice to Christian men, especially married men, like those in our ministry who must travel in their work or occasionally must travel alone for personal, business, or church reasons. So, please pardon this diversion while I give my own list of travel warnings and advice.
And to introduce my segment, let me say that we Christian men have to realize that traveling alone today is warfare. Satan and his system, the world, surround us with powerful sexualized super weapons; and if the lone traveler doesn’t know the enemy’s ploys, he becomes vulnerable to them. We men have trouble enough when we have a good battle plan and we’re on our own turf, let alone when we’re out there on the road alone, stripped of our normal control mechanisms, accountability systems, and fellow warriors to help in the struggles of life. So, let me give my fellow male Christian soldiers a few of the more important road warrior tactics which I’ve discovered essential should you be one who is forced to travel alone.
FIRST … plan ahead. Knowing why and where you’re going, have a battle plan and preferably one which you’ve written out and communicated with your fellow accountability partners, especially your # 1 partner, your spouse. Never assume that you can handle the ploys and pitfalls which you’ll encounter without planning ahead. What are you going to do when you’re in the airports alone, seeing all those comely lasses parading around, especially if it’s in the summer when dress is skimpy? What are you gong to do when you get to your hotel, having to deal with such variables as pay-per-view porn or even R-rated cable TV? And I could give you 20 other questions you need to have answered and accounted for in your plan, my brothers. If you don’t have a plan, Satan has you in the palm of his hand and can overwhelm you with his myriad of temptations.
SECONDLY … reinforcing one of Swindoll’s points, deal with aloneness and loneliness. Stay in touch with your spouse and accountability partners often during your journeys. Use today’s technological tools such as cell phones, texting, or email to stay emotionally close to your fellow home warriors. And this is especially true when you’re feeling vulnerable or under attack. There’s great power in knowing that you’re never truly alone with God (I hope you know Deut. 31: 6 or Heb. 13: 5); but He becomes even closer with the voice of your wife or accountability buddy is on the cell phone. It’s powerful when you can pray with your wife or friend, especially if you’re being tempted in some way. Remember the truth of Prov. 27: 17 and Matt. 18: 20; iron does sharpen iron in battle and God is always there with two or more who come together in Christ’s Name.
THIRDLY … avoid compromising situations, such as contacts with other females or going to places – maybe with a bunch of guys – where you know you’re going to be tempted. It makes no sense for a recovering alcoholic to go to a bar with a bunch of guys at a convention, does it? Well, when a group of guys at a work conference want to steal away to a XXX establishment – for some fun – you being able to stand and say no, even if one of those guys is your boss, is a powerful witness for Christ and will allow you to flee from potential danger (see 2nd Tim. 2: 22).
FINALLY … always carry a sharpened and well practiced sword of the Spirit to fend off the enemy when he comes after you on the road (and you know he will!). Having memorized and internalized God’s word, especially key verses which provide strength (such as Isaiah 41; 10, Phil. 4: 13, 1st Cor. 10: 13, etc.), can be life protecting when the world throws tempting visions in front of you or when you find yourself in an awkward place which sparks memories of past sins. Remember using your Spirit Sword (i.e., deeply memorized Scripture passages) is the method promised by God to help you avoid sin (see Ps. 119: 9-11); and it was Jesus’ method of warfare in dealing with Satan’s attacks (see Matt. 4: and Luke 4). So, when you walk into a surprise attack, my friend, whip out your Sword and do battle for Christ.
I could go on and on with this; because being vigilant and well armed for battle is what I do in ministry and in my life every day; but if you think that you can travel alone these days and be strong – in and of yourself – you are fool hardy; and you could become a fallen soldier in the battles of life. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard stories from Christian men who thought they were strong but fell in today’s XXX warfare because they fell prey to a much stronger and well equipped foe.
Oh, , my fellow warrior, how I pray you’re ready for the road battles of life.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, help us prepare to be swordsman and road warriors, wearing Your full armor and witnessing to Your strength working in and through us to keep us pure and righteous in a world which would want to take us down. Amen