Recently a moderately well-known Charismatic minister has been speaking up about problems he sees in the world of Christian spirit travel, courts of heaven teaching, and similar. His specific accusations and/or concerns don’t really matter for the sake of my discussion here, but I did observe something in the overall approach that has had me thinking about what it is we actually NEED regarding this subject. I’ve realized what we need is to be pursuing maturity in traveling in the spirit.
Most often what I see when people are in opposition to any of this business is that it either isn’t biblical, Jesus never did it, it’s an occult teaching, etc. Actually, none of the above statements are true, as I explain in my book The Beginner’s Guide to Traveling in the Spirit. In reality, if we boil the objections down to their common denominator, or in the case of proponents, the benefits, it is ultimately a matter of whether one is for or against the subject.
The problem with such polarization is that things are rarely all good or all bad, and when we simplify spirit travel down to a good-bad response, we miss the mark. The matter people need to be concerned about is NOT whether one should or should not spirit travel, but whether the movement is MATURE or not.
I can say without a doubt that traveling in the spirit has not, to date, reached maturity. I can also conclusively say that the movement is in the process of maturation, so it will eventually get there, and there are men and women whom God is raising up to help steward this and bring it forward. For those who aren’t aware, I would like to review some of the common areas where one can walk in either maturity or immaturity, to open up the discussion on this subject further.
The topic of ethics in spirit travel is not, I find, often discussed, or if so, it is not labeled as such. If we are going to continue to pursue spirit travel, and teach and train others to do so, we need to have guiding principles that help us use this ability appropriately. I caution against people setting up actual hard-and-fast rules, as God is not interested in legislating morality, nor is God interested in creating firm guidelines, as He is likely to be the first to tell us to break them under the right circumstances. Rather, we must be ruled and guided by love in our spirit interactions, and we must encourage and remind one another to continue to walk in such a way as we move forward.
There are a growing number of spiritual protocols people use, especially when engaging in what is known as the Heavenly Courts, or the Courts of Heaven. Protocols can be very useful, providing a framework for how to progress in heavenly court interactions. On the other hand, they can be extremely restrictive if we let them, moving from helpful guidelines into rigid to-do lists that must be completed just-so for fear of a negative outcome. Any protocol, whether for physical healing, spirit travel, inner healing and deliverance, or anything else, must ultimately work for us, not us work for it. There is a definite danger in using protocol that we can shift into legalism with these practices, so it is wise to be aware of the risks and be vigilant in our hearts, so we can continue to reap the benefits without any unintended consequences.
Another risk we face associated with spirit travel, especially with the popularity of various teachers who teach and train on these topics, is the issue of groupthink. This is essentially how cults are formed—people have a set of “accepted” teachings and beliefs, and as they gather in groups with others who share their mindset, they begin to put emotional pressure on anyone who does not adhere rigidly in thought or action to those beliefs. I have seen this issue beginning to crop up in certain places where spirit travel is a subject of importance, which is why I mention it here. While I don’t believe most people engaging this related to traveling in the spirit do it intentionally, it is still a problem. In truth, we run this risk anytime God brings new and exciting revelation along. People get fired up about what God is doing and want to share it with others. As groups of people get on board, and especially as people work to help shepherd and guide others, we risk moving from open guidance into rigid control. Groupthink has a greater potential to grow in any environment where a leadership attempts to guide the beliefs and ideas of a group. While most organizations fall into the “potential risk” category, it is important that we self-police moving forward to ensure we who practice traveling in the spirit do not allow this unhealthy behavior in.
Traveling in the spirit is an amazing ability, with the ability to experience an incredibly diverse spiritual world. As we move forward, we have to remember that the spiritual realms are far more diverse than we can imagine. The same God who is capable of such diversity is capable of a myriad of solutions to life’s problems. It is vital that we remember that while the Courts of Heaven are a very good and helpful tool to address life’s issues, the Courts are not the *only* tool. While this might seem obvious at first, there is a growing undertone of comments and interactions that seem to suggest some people believe the Courts are the solution to all of life’s problems. The truth is that if all you have is a hammer, then every problem must become a nail, whether it actually is one or not. The Heavenly Courts do not have the ability to fix every problem, but they do have the ability to address many problems. We must continue to learn and grow, as well as diversify our tool chest, so to speak, of solutions to life’s problems. We cannot reasonably expect that the Courts are the solution to everything because they simply are not, and as such we would be wise to conduct ourselves accordingly.
These are just a few areas where maturity and growth is needed, and I expect it will continue over time. As mentioned previously, we can separate the matter of traveling in the spirit into a polarizing issue of for-or-against, but we would be wise to avoid such unfruitful arguments. Instead, if we are able to help steward this movement into greater maturity, many of the dissident voices will simply fall away.
If you are interested in learning more about the above subjects or similar, please pick up a copy of my book The Beginner’s Guide to Traveling in the Spirit, available on Amazon in print and on Kindle.