Have you ever felt an increase in temptation when traveling? I am writing this from 30,000 feet in the sky and reflecting on how I often feel extreme temptation when I travel alone (something I rarely do, and avoid if possible).
Whether it is the duty-free shopping in the airport, smut on the TV, alcohol in the lobby bars, or just a heightened sense of freedom that is open to sin, it seems to me that temptation increases on the road. Why is that? I believe it is a false feeling of anonymity and freedom from accountability that occurs when we are in foreign surroundings.
But feeling tempted doesn’t mean that you have to give in to that temptation. Remember that “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
I’d like to suggest five tips that might help you avoid falling into temptation on the road:
Schedule time with God. Make your travel a spiritual retreat by prioritizing still times in the mornings and/or the evenings to pray and study. You can plan a study by tackling a new book in the Bible. Take your journal and document your observations from the text. Or, you may use some of this time to catch up on sermon podcasts.
Have accountability back home. Just because you are not in your hometown does not mean that you don’t have accountability. Have your community group check in on you throughout the trip, and give them specific questions to ask you upon returning. Make sure they know specifically how you are tempted on the road. Leave a copy of your travel plans with them and let them know how they can be praying.
Disable the adult films in your hotel. This is a given for me. I usually get weird looks from the lobby, but it has never been a problem. Upon checking in, I simply ask them to disable the adult pay-per-view. I’ve heard that Billy Graham would have the TV itself removed before entering a hotel room.
Know your weaknesses. If Satan was going to take you out on this trip, how would he do it? Where would he do it? Would it be in a dark restaurant after a few glasses of wine? Would it be in the hotel bar or at the local mall? How would he take you out? Wage war with the lion who seeks to steal, kill and destroy.
FOCUS on Jesus. Victory will not come to you by legalism. While that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make sin harder to come by, it does mean that at the center of your efforts should be a remembrance of what Christ has done to purchase your freedom from sin and death.
Your trip is just an extension of your mission. Stay on mission. God, in His sovereignty, has sent you there to know Him more and make Him known. Focus on this mission through Christ and do not get distracted by temptation.
Praying for that now.