The world is your….battleground!

The world is not a playground, it is a battleground.
A.W. Tozer
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“Peter, I’d love to travel the world, but I’ve committed to only going places I have real need to go.  That said, God has been good and we’ve ended up in a few places, but not by our choosing.  I don’t understand those who think they can spend their life pleasure travelling simply for their own enjoyment.”
These were the (paraphrased) words of one friend and his wife who I visited recently who were heading out on the mission field to one unreached people group, for their lives (DV).
They weren’t those who you’d find in a monastic settlement, withdrawing from everything in the world and going around with sullen faces saying we’ve to pray and never enjoy life on the battlefield.  They were treating me to a nice meal in a local pub near where they were studying.  Which spoke even greater volumes, knowing their generosity towards others.
Within the last year they’d had the joys of travelling to southern Africa (on a rare trip to see family) and also to the place where they were thinking of living longer-term elsewhere in the world.
So how can they say to everyone else about not spending their life in a playground of travels, and then travel and live like that themselves (1)?  And why can’t the rest of us who have more salary to spare act like the US couple we met in a previous post (2)?  And who said travel needs to be expensive – what if we can travel for as much as we’d be living at home for (3)?  For three reasons:
  1. These two trips are both something the Bible calls us to do – love family and reach unreached peoples.  And this was a rare trip to see their family before years in which they may not see them again.
  2. For the reasons I discussed in yesterday’s post, that couple were acting sacrificially with their wealth, and without doubt, their lifestory screams that of battlefield, rather than playground.
  3. There are dangers of living on cheap travels.  One being that you increasingly forsake your normal church community and the preaching of the word as God’s means of acting in your life and the world; one being that you forsake the intentionality of living and speaking for Jesus in a community that doesn’t know Him; and one being that you soon find yourself spending more as you travel than you intended.
But I speak to my own heart when I say to myself: let’s not play the “justification game” where we try and look back and justify travels to [insert place here].  Jesus has already justified us and so we don’t need to try and justify our own existence/behaviour as Christians.
Having said that, why would I want to travel, if Jesus’ purposes and words weren’t central to my travels?  I’d be missing out.
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Many try and force applications of spiritual warfare onto people, so that they can’t enjoy cultural activities like this one.  For us in Cork, this pumpkin carving and bonfire session with students was one of the most spiritually profitable evenings of the year.  Soli Deo Gloria!