Two neighbors, Obstinate and Pliable, decided to follow Pilgrim with the intent to force him to return home. As with all of Bunyan’s characters, names reveal their inner nature. Up to this point we know Pilgrim only as ‟the Man,” but when he answered their inquiry, his true name is used—Christian. Bunyan explained that Christian sought an incorruptible inheritance. Obstinate would have none of it, and he pulled in the opposite direction, begging Pliable to return with him. Curious enough, Pliable went a little further with Christian, attracted by the pleasantries of a kingdom, crowns, and shining garments.
Distracted while talking, the two travelers fell heedlessly into the Slough of Despond. Ah, this became the dividing of wills, for Pliable this way brought no quick and easy happiness. He got out of the slough (deep bog, marsh) on the side next to his house and left.
While Obstinate was set in his way, unwilling even to listen to Christian’s resolve, Pliable was without any root, much like the seed planted in rocky soil. He saw joy at first, but when trouble came, he was neither ready nor able to learn and grow. I find in my desire to have a consistent devotional life that it takes a resolve of intentional living. Being rooted in the Word results in negatives being weeded out and positive nutrients added on a daily basis.
What does ‟Slough of Despond” mean to you personally?