“Subsequent to the Bible,” Charles Spurgeon as soon as wrote, “the ebook I worth most is John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. I imagine I’ve learn it by means of no less than 100 occasions. It’s a quantity of which I by no means appear to tire” (Footage from Pilgrim’s Progress).
This describes my very own expertise properly. Years in the past, I picked up a duplicate of Pilgrim’s Progress, and I’ve by no means set it down. A bookmark steadily strikes by means of its pages every year. I take it with me to mattress, on trip, and every time I discover a couple of moments to retreat for non secular refreshment. Bunyan has so strengthened my pilgrimage that I depend him as certainly one of my dearest yet-to-meet mates.
“Bunyan has so strengthened my pilgrimage that I depend him as certainly one of my dearest yet-to-meet mates.”
With Spurgeon, I’m each a pilgrim and a pastor. I’m striving towards the Celestial Metropolis and serving to others do the identical. Bunyan’s good story has made me a greater pilgrim pastor, and I belief it may well do the identical for a lot of others.
Be taught from Evangelist
“Fly from the wrath to come back,” the Evangelist cries. His sobering message alerts Christian that he should flee the Metropolis of Destruction and search the Celestial Metropolis. Christian doesn’t perceive every little thing Evangelist says, but he heeds his warning. Family members name for Christian’s return, however he “put his fingers in his ears, and ran on, crying, Life! Life! Everlasting life!” (5–6).
The ministry of Evangelist strikes me with thankfulness to God. Like Christian, I used to be a sinner destined for destruction. But God mercifully despatched over twenty witnesses to me earlier than I believed. I didn’t need Jesus, however he wished me. My pilgrimage started as a result of evangelists got here and warned me to flee destruction.
The braveness of Evangelist has additionally emboldened me to withstand the concern of man. He by no means cowers in his witness to Christian, however regularly factors to the supply of everlasting life. He endures Christian’s questions and reproves him after he falls prey to Mr. Worldly Wiseman. Even after Christian believes, Evangelist retains pursuing, difficult, and inspiring him. Evangelist’s endurance has jogged my memory that we by no means cease pointing pilgrims towards their heavenly Residence.
Saturate Your Soul with Scripture
One can be hard-pressed to discover a web page of Pilgrim’s Progress that doesn’t include no less than an allusion to Scripture. Spurgeon’s estimation of Bunyan as “a residing Bible” is true: “Prick him anyplace — his blood is Bibline. . . . He can’t communicate with out quoting a textual content, for his very soul is stuffed with the Phrase of God” (C.H. Spurgeon Autobiography, 2:159). Bunyan liked the Bible, and he’s helped me adore it too.
Each step of Christian’s journey is guided by the sunshine of Scripture. Each dialog attracts from it. Each trusted buddy factors him again to it. He holds it as valuable, particularly in his darkest hour. Within the dungeon of Doubting Fortress, Large Despair tortures Christian and his beloved buddy Hopeful, ordering them to take their very own lives. Christian practically succumbs, till he immediately exclaims,
“What a idiot . . . am I. . . . I’ve a key in my bosom, known as Promise, that may, I’m persuaded, open any lock in Doubting Fortress.” . . . Then Christian pulled it out of his bosom, and started to attempt on the dungeon door, whose bolt (as he turned the important thing) gave again, and the door flew open with ease, and Christian and Hopeful each got here out. (132)
I too have walked on the precipice of compromise and fallen into the pit of despair — and but God’s phrase has given me power to not give in or surrender. The ability of Pilgrim’s Progress is that Bunyan infuses God’s phrase into the characters’ lives and plot so creatively that I can’t assist however enjoyment of God’s phrase once I learn it. Christian and his devoted mates cling to God’s valuable guarantees by means of each trial till they move into the land the place religion turns into sight. Bunyan’s phrase pushes me into the phrase in order that, like them, I could also be helped to inherit everlasting life.
Treasure Pilgrim Companions
The early a part of my Christian life was remoted from the native church. I developed Christian friendships, however too usually I walked alone. But as I’ve matured, I’ve realized that I’m too weak to journey to heaven alone. I want pilgrim companions to assist me persevere. Bunyan’s portrayal of the Christian life has solely reaffirmed this actuality.
God providentially gives mates for Christian in simply the correct seasons for simply the correct causes. Assist swoops in to avoid wasting him from the Slough of Despond. Early in his stroll, Interpreter teaches Christian to see with non secular eyes. Devoted suffers with him within the crucible of Vainness Truthful. Hopeful holds Christian again from succumbing to suicide. The saints at Palace Stunning encourage Christian relating to his progress on the journey and exhort him to maintain urgent on. Even in Christian’s dying moments, Hopeful helps him maintain clinging to God’s guarantees.
Watching God providentially present mates for Christian has helped me to treasure the buddies he has given me. A wall in my workplace is roofed with photos of individuals God has used to pastor me and folks he has given me the respect of pastoring. Every snapshot in time testifies to God’s providential love for me by means of these mates. But, as with some characters in Pilgrim’s Progress, some mates within the photos have wandered and not search a heavenly residence. Their sorrowful departure sobers me to maintain my eyes on Christ and never be lured away.
Watching Christian and his mates additionally evokes me to domesticate Christ-centered friendships. I wish to love like Devoted and encourage like Hopeful. I wish to run with an organization of pilgrims whose hearts are set on heaven, figuring out that it doesn’t matter what we face, we’ll quickly arrive in that land the place we will by no means say goodbye once more.
Endure Struggling with Hope
Instantly upon setting out for the Celestial Metropolis, Christian and Pliable are met with hassle. Whereas they battle within the Slough of Despond, Pliable “started to be offended, and angrily stated . . . ‘Is that this the happiness you’ve gotten advised me all this whereas of? If we’ve such unwell pace at our first setting out, what could we anticipate betwixt this and our journey’s finish?’ . . . So away he went, and Christian noticed him no extra” (11).
This trial wouldn’t be Christian’s final. He ascends troublesome hills, endures debilitating doubt, overcomes worldly deception, undergoes unjust trials, and narrowly escapes execution. He’s continuously haunted by concern for his unsaved household and endures unrelenting non secular warfare. But Christian presses on. Watching Christian teaches me that struggling pushes us — both towards God or away from him. On this method, struggling separates sheep from goats. Christian’s endurance additionally assures me that it’s doable and worthwhile to proceed urgent towards Residence.
I’m not usually given to discouragement, however in recent times the darkish cloud has visited extra usually than I want. However observing Christian belief the Son, who ever shines on the opposite facet of the cloud, encourages me to maintain going. As with Christian, God has provided a spring to accompany my difficulties. From this reservoir of grace, not solely am I helped, however I’m able to help struggling sheep of their painful pilgrimage (2 Corinthians 1:3–4). Collectively we’re limping towards glory, and the Lord doesn’t despise feeble steps.
Set Your Coronary heart on the Celestial Metropolis
Of all of the aids Christian avails himself of, none is extra very important than maintaining his gaze on Zion’s shores. An everlasting perspective strengthens the steps of pilgrim perseverance. Seeing Christian and Hopeful move by means of the darkish river and into Zion’s brings me deep pleasure.
The angels’ welcome causes redeemed hearts to dream:
There additionally you shall serve Him regularly with reward, with shouting and thanksgiving. . . . There your eyes shall be delighted with seeing, and your ears with listening to the nice voice of the Mighty One. There you shall get pleasure from your pals once more, which might be gone thither earlier than you. . . . When He shall once more return to the town, you shall go too, with sound of trumpet, and be ever with Him. (182)
“An everlasting perspective retains all obstacles and afflictions of their correct perspective.”
God calls me and the folks I pastor to set our hearts on this promised place. An everlasting perspective retains all obstacles and afflictions of their correct perspective. It exhibits us that the price of following Christ will probably be abundantly price it. Seeing God stay devoted to Christian assures me and people I pastor of this reality: ten thousand years from now, after we know what God is aware of, we is not going to accuse him of something. He has at all times been devoted.
So maintain an everlasting perspective, fellow pilgrim. We’re virtually Residence.