“A Few Tips for Spiritual Trips”
This time next week Julie will be in Italy. It’s gong to be a trip of a lifetime! She and her two friends are excited to be going. They are anticipating an exciting adventure. They have been preparing and planning for weeks now. They have worked hard to prepare and plan for every event. The trip is thought out, planned out and mapped out.
In the past, it has been my privilege to be the traveler of the family. I have had some exciting trips to Ecuador and Brazil on “Work and Witness” teams. I traveled to Korea and Japan when I was in the army. I grew up next to Canada so I’ve been there. I went to school in San Diego – so I’ve been to Mexico. I didn’t have to do all the planning and scheduling like Julie is doing on any of my trips – but I did learn a few things about traveling. And it occurred to me that each of us are on a trip to somewhere. We are all involved in this grand adventure we call life. So – I want to share a few tips for trips that may help you on your adventure.
1. Travel As Light As You Can
When I traveled on my trips, we were only allowed to take one large suitcase and one carry-on. I was always glad when I went light. In fact, I wished I had gone even lighter. You see, we had to take our luggage with us wherever we went and that meant lugging whatever we brought with us. At times it got pretty heavy.
In our journey of life we need to understand that excessive weight will slow us down and make us exhausted. We need to get rid of unnecessary burdens whatever they may be: sin, guilt, bitterness, fear, worry, and doubt. These things can’t be packed in our spiritual suitcase if we want to enjoy the trip!
Heb 12:1 says: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
One of the reasons we need to travel light is because it is only when we are free from carrying personal burdens, then we’ll have room to carry the burdens of others. There will always be people around you that need help. When you are weighed down with your own burdens you are only focused on yourself. You are only concerned for yourself. The Bible says that we are to carry one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. It is only when we travel light that we can do that.
Also when we are weighed down with our problems and sin – it takes the fun out of the trip; it takes the fun out of life. Some of you are making life a whole lot harder than it has to be. Life can be fun and full of adventure and excitement and discovery. But it is only when you travel light. The Bible says,
”Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (Living)
Give your heavy load to Jesus. He cares about you. He is always thinking about you. Jesus wants to make your life easier. He says,
“Come to me and I will give you rest--all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke.”
Matt 11:28 (Living)
Jesus is there – waiting and wanting to share your load. It is only when you go to Him in prayer and tell Him your problems – and give them to Him that you find rest. And it is only when you take care of your burdens that you can begin to really help others. It frees you up to help others.
2. Don’t Forget Your Map
Did you ever start out on a trip and then realize that you forgot your map? You know- the one you had highlighted with a yellow or orange marking pen. The kind I used to make when I went backpacking in the wilderness. The Bible is our roadmap and our guidebook and compass all wrapped up into one.
Psalm 119:105: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
Spurgeon said, “A Bible which is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t”
This “roadmap” will:
❏ keep you from wandering where you don’t belong
❏ prevent you from getting lost
❏ wasting you time in unfamiliar territory
A mother of a five-year-old girl was surprised to find her going through a new Bible storybook and circling the word “God” wherever it appeared on the page. Stifling her first reaction to reprimand the child for defacing a book, she quietly asked, “Why are doing that, Honey?” The little girl’s matter-of-fact answer was, “So that I will know where to find God when I want Him.”
I credit the Bible with giving me the strength and the direction I needed to make it through 40+ years with the Lord. When I was looking for purpose and direction for my life – I found Him; I found God in the bible. The bible is your road map to Heaven. Read it every day. Follow it’s directions.
3. Take Only What You Need
Some of the people on some of my trips took all kinds of beauty aids...from blow dryers to several dresses and suits. Needless to say, there was little room for basic necessities and no room for souvenirs. When they opened their suitcases, it was like a volcano erupting! I remember one lady who brought a propane blow drier on a backpacking trip. We couldn’t believe how nice her hair looked when ours looked like rat’s nests. You don’t need all that stuff!
I have learned, on a trip, you need to take only what you need. Let me suggest four things we need for our trip.
1) We need for our trip Confidence
-in God (His presence, love, and power) Jesus said:
“...I am with you always, even to the end of the world." Matt 28:20 (Living)
-in ourselves. Paul, in Phil.4:13 says,
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Just think of all that God has bestowed upon you: talents, brains, personality, spiritual gifts, the prayers of other believers, the fellowship of the saints.
Robert Morrison was leaving for China as a missionary when someone asked him if he expected to make any kind of impression in that Great Chinese Empire? He answered, “No. But I expect God will - through me.” And God did, using the talents of this dedicated man.
-in others. It’s easy for us to find flaws in people because they’re so much like ourselves. But you get out of people about what you expect of them. Some of them may disappoint us, but most of them will gloriously reward our confidence in them.
2) We need for our trip Contentment
-We owe it to God. After all, He has given us His best, and yet so often we go through life grumbling and whining about our lot.
-We owe it to ourselves. We’ll be happier, healthier, live longer, and serve God better if we practice the art of contentment.
-We owe it to others. If we want to attract our loved ones and neighbors to Christ, we need to reflect a lot of contentment.
A certain farmer lived on the same farm all his life. It was a good farm, but with the passing years the farmer grew tired of it. He longed for a change, something “better.” Every day he found some reason for criticizing something about the farm. Finally he decided to sell it - so he listed it with a realtor who promptly prepared a sales advertisement. As you might expect it listed all the advantages...ideal location, modern equipment, healthy livestock, acres of fertile ground, etc. Before placing the ad, the realtor called the farmer and read a copy to him so as to get his input and approval. When he had finished reading -the farmer cried out, “Hold everything! I’m not going to sell after all. Why, I’ve been looking for a place like that all of my life!”
3) We need for our trip Courage
When Paul journeyed to Rome he walked up the famous Appian Way and we read in Acts 28:15 that he “thanked God, and took courage.” He had survived a terrible storm and shipwreck, and he received fresh courage as he remembered the goodness of God.
-We need courage to stand up for our convictions. The Motto of the French Foreign Legion is: “If I falter, push me on. If I stumble, pick me up. If I retreat, shoot me.”
- We need courage to bear bravely the trials and sorrows of life.
We need courage to share freely what the Lord has done for us...we must believe that God has given us something to say that people need to hear.
4) We need for our trip Consecration
A well-known Christian leader once said, “I will cut myself off from all things that consume energy, time, and money which do not have in them the redemptive element.” It’s like an organist sitting down to play “chopsticks.” It only takes two fingers. He’s not making full use of the organ.
When we give God everything, we pull out all the stops and let Him play all the keys of our lives. He will use us to bring forth beautiful music.
4. Another tip for the trip is to Pay Attention to the Signs Along the Way
-Be patient with detours. They are provided for your protection. They may take a bit longer, but they also may take you on far more interesting routes.
-Observe the speed limits. Don’t get ahead of God or lag behind.
-Use the rest stops. Take comfort, get away, rest in God and His Word.
The fifth tip is:
5. Expect To Enjoy the Journey!
“There will be exciting opportunities, tremendous possibilities, rich blessings in the trip ahead. Look for them! Anticipate them! Expect them!
Sometimes, when we take a trip we are tempted to think about those other trips we made in the past and to dwell on the negative experiences. If you’re really going to get the most out of this journey it is imperative that you review in your mind only the good, positive experiences of the past. Phil 4:8 says:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Three men were visiting the Grand Canyon. An artist, a minister, and a cowboy. As they stood on the edge of that massive abyss, each one responded with a cry of exclamation: The Artist: “Ah, what a beautiful scene to put on canvass.” Minister: “What a wonderful example of the handiwork of God!” Cowboy: “What a terrible place to lose a cow!”
How do you look ahead to the road before you? What are you expecting?
I’m expecting God to bless me!
I’m expecting to learn more about God, myself, and others.
I’m expecting to win someone to Christ.
I’m expecting God to use me.
I’m expecting to have the victory over temptation and trials
I’m expecting to make new friends.
I’m expecting this church to grow
I’m expecting answers to prayer
I’m expecting to grow in my faith
What are you expecting? You will get pretty much what you expect.
On this adventure; on this wonderful trip that is before you:
Don’t forget these five things:
1. Travel as light as you can.
2. Don’t forget your map.
3. Take only what you need.
4. Pay attention to the road signs.
5. Expect to enjoy the New Year.
HAVE A GOOD TRIP!
Would you pray with me:
Thank you for your promise that you will be with me in the days ahead. I’m looking forward to adventure. I’m looking forward to blessings. Please forgive me when I have wandered off and tried to go my own way and do my own thing. I surrender myself to your leadership. Give me the grace I need to follow you wherever you lead.
In Jesus Name,