Traveling in the Spirit is a gift or ability that has gradually become more widely known in the past decade in Charismatic-leaning circles. For those who are unfamiliar, it involves engaging the spiritual realms by way of one’s soul or spirit. In spite of the many advances we have made in this area, there is still significant controversy over this subject. Many still have concerns, ranging from notions of witchcraft and deception to it simply being a worthless and/or unhelpful practice. The more I engage this subject in conversation with others, the more I discover just how many misconceptions are still out there, some of which still take me by surprise. I will cover some of the most basic myths here, but if you want to learn more, check out my book The Beginner’s Guide to Traveling in the Spirit.
1) It’s not in the Bible
Spirit Travel is found in multiples of places in Scripture and has been performed, sometimes regularly, by multiple well-known Biblical figures, including Elisha the Prophet (2 Kings 5:22-26), Paul the Apostle (1 Corinthians 5:3, Colossians 2:5), and John the Revelator (Revelation 1:10). In fact, based on some of Jesus’ encounters, such as those with Nathaniel under the fig tree (John 1:48) and the disciples struggling on the lake (Mark 6:47-48), it is highly probable he also engaged in spirit travel. Ephesians 1:3 states that we have received blessings in heavenly places, and Ephesians 2:6 states that we are already seated in the heavens, proving we have the right of access to travel in the spirit.
2) It is an occult practice
Spirit Travel is neither occult nor Christian, per se. It is an innate ability God has put within all humans at creation. The mechanism by which one spirit travels is basically the same regardless of whether one is a believer or not, but the actual means by which one does this differs somewhat. What most people confuse traveling in the spirit with is the occult practice of astral projection. There are some obvious similarities between Christian spirit travel and occult astral projection, but likewise there are equally clear differences, the main differences being that spirit travel can be done while awake and not in a trance, and does not require the use or maintenance of a silver cord, a spiritual “lifeline” tether to the physical body that is present in all occult astral projection.
3) It will lead you away from God
Theoretically, anything can lead you away from God. Marriage can lead one away, kids, work, even ministry, provided one gets busy enough that he or she loses sight of priorities. Spirit travel in and of itself is incapable of leading one astray any more than anything else. If one were to simplify it to its most simple form, it could be considered a form of prayer, and prayer rarely leads one away from God; on the contrary, it usually helps draw one closer to Him. This is a straw-man argument, and its ability to lead astray has nothing to do with the practice itself, and everything to do with the heart condition of the one doing it.
4) Jesus never did it, so I don’t need to either.
As mentioned in Myth 1, it is quite probable that Jesus actually did travel in the spirit. While the verses that describe his spiritual activity are somewhat inconclusive, the information he gleaned, and the way the passages are written, seems very much as though he witnessed the events as compared to simply getting a word of knowledge about them. If the plumbline and/or deciding factor for someone is whether Jesus did it or not, then spirit travel certainly cannot be ruled out as a Godly spiritual practice.
5) If you practice spirit travel, you will get deceived.
This practice carries no guarantee of deception any more than any other spiritual practice. While some might argue that it puts one more “out on a limb” than other spiritual disciplines, it is possible to become steeped in deceptive beliefs simply by studying scripture. In fact, entire cults have formed around someone who found a scripture they ran away with into gross error.
Even more to the point, what makes us think we are not already walking in deception? The scary thing about deception is that we cannot recognize it while we are inside it, and typically must be pulled out by an external force, which usually is the Holy Spirit. We have to remember that God’s ability to keep us is always greater than the enemy’s ability to deceive us, and because He is our Counselor and Guide, we can trust Him to faithfully do just that. On the other hand, walking out spirit travel encounters with discernment is a must, but then, what makes us think we shouldn’t walk out all of life the same way?
In closing, we must remember that traveling in the spirit is no different than any other spiritual discipline. As we do it, we are to engage God in the process, walk with wisdom and discernment, and we will invariably see the fruit as we do so. When we fail to rightly discern, leave God out of the process, or are foolish as we proceed, those are the situations where we are most likely to run into problems, but the same is true of most situations in life. Traveling in the spirit is a means of prayer by which we can literally ascend into the heavens and engage the spiritual realms from there. After all, the Scriptures do already say in Ephesians 2:6 that, “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus . . .” Spirit travel is simply the experience of being where the scriptures already say that we are.
If you want to learn more about this practice, pick up a copy of my book The Beginner’s Guide to Traveling in the Spirit.