“Is that yours?” said a kind 40ish man who was clearly traveling with a group of teens headed to a mission trip (their matching T-shirts gave away both their togetherness and the purpose of their air travel). Why yes, it was my little container of hair gel rolling across the floor at the Love Field security check point. Just one of the mishaps of my day, my quart-sized bag of 3-oz-or-less liquids had split open as I was pulling it out of my carry-on bag and several of my personal grooming items had to be chased down. 

You know I warned you that my travels to San Francisco were going to inspire several blogs. This is blog #2. However, this one could have been inspired by any flight since the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) made the 3-1-1 rule. 

If you have flown since 9/11, you know that restrictions on what you can carry on the plane and what you can or cannot keep on as you go through the security checkpoint and what you can or cannot put in a carry-on or checked bag has changed (mainly getting more restrictive) even since 9/11.  

Today, I’d like to share with you what I call lessons from the “no fly zone.”

LESSON ONE: Some things can never fly. 

There are some things that are not allowed to travel on the plane - not in a checked bag and certainly not in a carry-on bag. As I check in on the Web 24 hours before my flight so that I can print out my boarding pass, I am presented with the TSA’s list of things that cannot fly. It includes things like fire crackers, bleach, dynamite and gasoline. It amazes me that this has to be spelled out and also that there might have been a time when a traveler COULD have taken that on board – even in a checked bag. 

As a Christian, I must remember that some things “can never fly” in my life, my thoughts, my heart or my behavior. 

One of those things is an angry or explosive temperament. Proverbs 14:17 [KJV] [He that is] soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.  Proverbs 29:22 [NIV]  An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins. The Bible also warns us against hanging out with someone else who is that way. Proverbs 22:24-25 [NIV] Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared. The Word of God even calls out how tough it is to live with a woman who is like this. Proverbs 21:19 [KJV] [It is] better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman. Ouch.

Here are some other “never fly” things for Christians: 

  • Idolatry – whether I am worshipping another god, literally, or just putting some other person, a job, a position or a thing ahead of the Lord. 
  • Sabbath-breaking
  • Taking God’s name in vain – including using it as a curse word or simply saying “God said” when He didn’t or taking the name “Christian” and dishonoring it with word or deed.
  • Stealing – even just lusting after something that isn’t rightfully mine.

You can, no doubt, add to this list from your own study of the Word.

LESSON TWO: Some things can fly with limitations.

The 3-1-1 rule for flying with liquids is the way to remember the restrictions or limitations for liquids in your carry-on bag. It outlines that each traveler can carry on the plane only 1 clear plastic bag containing liquids and gels; that it must be a 1-quart sized bag; and that no individual item in the bag can be more than 3 ounces. You cannot take a gallon-sized bag filled only ¼ full. You cannot take a 12 ounce bottle of shampoo with only 3 ounces left in the bottle. This restriction requires some careful packing when I am going to be gone for 3-5 days and don’t want to check a bag. 

For Christians, there are also some things that are good when used or presented in a limited supply.

Here are some things that best when kept within limitations:

  • Words – See Proverbs 10:19 [NIV] Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues. Or, as the King James puts it: In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips [is] wise. There are definitely times when it is better to be sparse with your words. I can verify that there have been times when I thought that I just needed to stop talking before I make things worse or said something I would regret later.
  • Food and wine – Proverbs 23:21 [KJV] For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe [a man] with rags.
  • Sleep – Proverbs 6:9-10 [NIV] How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest--

Let me know what other things you can come up with that are best in limited supply.

LESSON THREE: Some things are limited only by the size of your suitcase.

Thankfully, clothes, shoes, jewelry, books, paperwork/folders, non-liquid foods and many other things are not limited by the airlines. As long as they fit in your suitcase, they can fly. You can even pay extra for more checked bags. I must confess that I have watched a couple of video instructions on ways to pack in order to fit more clothing in those little carry-on bags. In winter, I even use vacuum sealed storage bags so that my bulky sweaters don’t unduly limit my clothing selections by taking up too much space. I know a lot of tricks for getting more stuff into a little suitcase.  

When I have had to wait in line at the airline check-in, I have seen people bring in a cart full of suitcases and boxes to check for their flight. I assume they are either taking a really long vacation or perhaps even moving to another country. These travelers pay dearly for their checked bags and boxes. It seems that it is important enough to these travelers that they take these items along on their journey that they are willing to pay the extra fees. 

For a Christian, there are also things that should always be owned, carried around and used liberally and without restriction. 

Here are some examples:

  • Love – We are even to love our enemies (Luke 6:35).
  • Peace – We can have great peace (I think this means a great deal of peace) if we love God’s law (Ps. 119:165). We are to have peace that is so great it cannot be explained or understood (at least by non-believers) (Philippians 4:7).
  • Patience – Without plenty of this, we are at great risk of spiritual failure (Luke 21:19).
  • Wisdom – God is willing to give this out in liberal (suit-case stuffing) supply (James 1:5).

God has an unlimited supply of these qualities when it comes to dealing with us. These things are part of who He is and how He interacts with us along our life journeys. He expects us to use them liberally as well. 

If we find ourselves in short supply on any of these, we can know that God is always willing to give us more. This is the lesson of Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath found in 1 Kings 17:1-16, where the widow’s jars of flour and oil did not run out until the years of drought were over. The widow had all she needed for as long as she needed it.  

We should not allow ourselves to be caught without a big enough suitcase or without a great enough number of suitcases to be filled with these important qualities. This is the lesson of Elisha and the widow in 2 Kings 4:1-7.  God’s provision for this widow was limited only by the number of containers she could round up for the blessing. 

As a Christian, I have to be aware of what I carry around with me in my life every day. Some things just should not be a part of my daily travels. Some things are good in limited supply. Some things should be stuffed into the suitcases of our lives to the point that the suitcases are busting at the seams, and then we should get more suitcases.

I welcome your thoughts, comments and questions. You can write me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org.