“We are aliens and pilgrims before You, as were all our fathers; our days on earth are as a shadow, and without hope.” 1 Chronicles 29:15 NKJV
When he was 31, John Bunyan was arrested for preaching the Gospel. Refusing to compromise, he spent 12 years in prison. But these years weren’t wasted. There he wrote several of history’s most important books, including Pilgrim’s Progress.
Writing in allegorical terms, Bunyan illustrated the challenges faced by all believers. He described how a young man (“Christian”) journeyed toward his ultimate home in the “Celestial City.” This journey brought him to places with vivid names, such as Vanity Fair, the Slough of Despond, the Hill of Difficulty, Lucre Hill, Doubting Castle, and Mount Caution. Along the way, he was distracted and deceived by people such as Obstinate, Mistrust, Talkative, Envy, and Little-faith. But Christian was encouraged and helped by characters like Evangelist, Faithful, Good Will, Hopeful, Knowledge, Experience, Watchful, and Sincere. The names and characteristics of these people were reminders of Biblical principles that can help us on our journey.
Yet Christian struggled, forced to decide between compromise and faithfulness. He continually wondered how to react to people and situations. In the end, he persevered.
Pilgrim’s Progress, first published on this day in 1678, has been widely read, and is a source of great encouragement. Next to the Bible, it was the most read book during early American history. Countless thousands have been impacted by Bunyan’s imagery of the struggles faced by Christian and the way to walk in victory.
Each of us is reminded that we all are pilgrims on a journey through life. We face real temptations, opposition, and dangers, and we can’t make it on our own. We need the help of other believers. Most of all, we need to depend on God, drawing on His Spirit, standing on His Word.
Father, help me to stay faithful to You on my journey through life. Thank You that You are present with me. Give me discernment and strength. In Jesus’ name. Amen. Pray that the Inspiration Ministries’ staff would have a strong spiritual foundation.
1 Chronicles 29