According to the publishers of this book, with the exception of the bible, this book has been read by more people than any other book in the English language.
This story is about the adventures that a devout Christian might meet in trying to save his soul by setting out on a pilgrimage to Heaven.
Christian is the name of the character in this allegory, who embarked on a journey from his hometown, the “city of destruction”, that represents this world, to the “Celestial city”, that represents Heaven. He was weighed down by the burden of sin after he read “the book” (the bible).
This burden was so much that he sought deliverance and he met Evangelist, who directed him to where he would get deliverance and the journey then begins….
Some of the lessons we got from the book that highlights the journey of a believer:
Unpopular decisions: For a Christian, the decision to follow Jesus is a personal one and many people around us, including our spouses and children, may not agree with us. Christian’s decision to embark on this journey was an individual one because he was unable to persuade his wife and children to follow him. In Mathew 10 vs 37, the Lord Jesus said “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
In case, we don’t know yet, decisions a believer makes, would not always be popular and may encounter stiff opposition from our loved ones and what we ought to remember always is that no one, is worthy to be pleased at the expense of our Lord Jesus.
For Christian, his family deserted him, so he was on his own,
The zeal to persuade a believer to not go the proper way was also demonstrated here when 2 of Christian’s friend (Obstinate and Pliable) followed him to persuade him to come back home. Christian refused them and Obstinate left him but Pliable continue with his friend on the journey with the hope to take advantage of paradise that Christian claimed lies ahead.
Bumps on the way: No doubt, there would be challenges in our Christian walk, but should we allow “bumps on the way” to discourage us from continuing this journey? Christian and his friend, Pliable, being careless, fell into the Slough of Despond, a boggy mire-like swamp where pilgrims’ doubts, fears, temptations, lusts, shames, guilts, and sins of their present condition of being a sinner are used to sink them into the mud of the swamp. It is there in that bog where Pliable abandons Christian after managing to get himself out.
So, here, Pliable that was also interested in the story about paradise that Christian mentioned earlier on decided to go back home, after he managed to get himself out of the swamp.
The question to the reader is this; is turning back (into the world) an option for a believer when things don’t go smoothly or our way? The parable of the Sower in the book of Mathew also mentioned a similar circumstance where the seed fell on a stony place (Mathew 13 v 20):
But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
Even in this story, Christian was unable to come out of the swamp easily because of the burden he was carrying but Help came to get him out of the swamp. Be rest assured that our Lord would never leave us nor forsake us.!
Worldly Wisdom: While Christian was walking alone after he was helped out of the swamp, he met a man on the way called Mr. Worldly Wiseman, who offered to advice Christian when he told him about the burden he was carrying.
So, Mr. Worldly Wiseman gave him a “short cut” way to relieve him of his burden without the perils and sufferings that he was bound to encounter on his current path.
Christian was interested in this and he desired his advice (who likes sufferings anyway!). So, he was advised to go to the city of Morality, to meet a man called Legality, who also has a son called Civility.
Brethren, there is so substitute for obeying our Lord, we would encounter evil counsels that may seem harmless on the surface but as the bible says in 1 John 4 v 1: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
The counsel given to Christian was about “living our best lives here” i.e. taking the cross out of the Christian walk.
Let’s remember in the book of Hebrews 10 v 38 that the Lord would not find pleasure in anyone that draws back.
Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
May we find grace to help in our time of need, amen.