CARRY-ON (Article) by Abidan Shah, PhD
(Published in the newspaper Daily Dispatch, Henderson on June 16, 2023)
“The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.” (Psalm 121:7-8)
My wife, Nicole, and I love to travel to historical sites. Recently, we were in Turkey following the missionary journeys of the apostle Paul and the seven churches of the Book of Revelation. What makes these trips lots of fun and rewarding is knowing how to pack the luggage. The airline allows two kinds of luggage: the checked baggage and the carry-on. The checked baggage must be turned in at the airline desk before going through the security check, but the carry-on stays with you. Knowing what to keep in one’s carry-on can be a lifesaver because checked baggage is prone to disappear! Experienced travelers know how to pack the essentials – passport, visa, medicines, phone charger, a change of clothing, snacks, etc. – in the carry-on.
So also, in our daily lives, it is important to know what to always keep with us. This is especially true during summer travel or when we tend to get out of our routine. The following are some suggestions on what to keep in your carry-on, spiritually speaking:
1. Our Testimony: Do we take our testimony with us wherever we go? Some people become rude and obnoxious when they’re away from home. They fuss at flight attendants and waiters. Others watch filthy movies in their motel rooms and use filthy language around strangers. How about us? Do we keep our testimony in our carry-on? We never know when God will bring an opportunity for us to share Christ.
2. Our Prayer Time: Daily we should have a time of prayer, even if it’s for only two minutes. Some of us even put our prayers over meals on hold when traveling. Is it any wonder that we have some of the worst squabbles on our vacations?
3. Our Bible Reading: When the Devil tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread, he responded, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Just as we need food to survive physically, we need the Bible to survive spiritually.
4. Our Spiritual Armor: Are we aware of the Enemy’s tactics against us even when we are away? We tend to think that the Devil takes a vacation when we take one. To the contrary, he joins us on our vacations and does whatever he can to steal our joy. We should always put on the whole armor God so we can withstand the attacks of the Evil One.
For international travel, the most important thing that I keep in my carry-on is my passport and visa. In my walk with God, that is my relationship with Jesus Christ. If you’ve never received Christ as your Savior and King, you may get to the airport, but you can’t get beyond that. Knowing Jesus will carry you through this life and beyond.