Diving Deeper Into My Passion for The Pilgrim’s Progress
Yes, I have a passion for The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. But I tend to tell about it in surface waves, so I need to dive deeper with you. Why is this passion of value? How do I feel when I read Bunyan’s classic? What are the connections that make me share this passion with you?
Take the book by itself and it could be boring, especially if read in the original script. What made it come alive to me was the combination of the book, Scripture, and personal experience. The tool that connected these ingredients is journaling. When I read a section of The Pilgrim’s Progress I also looked up the Scripture references Bunyan cited and some that came to my mind. Further connection meant I would address a personal need or happening in my life. Then I would write it down in my journal. I’ll prove this case with two examples.
The scene around the Slough of Despond held several characters in contrast. Pliable decided to join Christian, but when he fell into the muck, he got out on the side closest to home. Only one way gets us to the desired destination and that’s keeping on the way. It’s ever a temptation to turn around and head back to what’s familiar and seemingly safe. When I’ve been interested only in the benefits and blessings of God’s way, I get tangled in myself and lose sight of what’s ahead. (See Psalm 119:105.) But a strong man, Help, rescued Christian from the slough. He pointed to the steps, always there but not noticed. He promised that help is always available when needed. Too often I try to get myself out of a problem first before turning to ask for help from Jesus. The focus is only corrected when I remember God’s Word and His steps that lead me to Him. (See 1 Samuel 12:23). In this one passage I’ve corrected my faulty way with God’s right way.
At one point in the journey, Christian met Hypocrisy and Formalist. Here was a good teaching point about faith vs. works (Galatians 2:16). I ask myself, “Do I ‘walk by the rude working of my fancies’?” I wrote in my journal about a day at the Crisis Pregnancy Center. I saw six clients and I confessed a need to be ready and bold to proclaim God’s love and deliverance, to be confirmed in peace as I help unhappy people. Then on the following Sunday, I was tempted to pity myself. No one wanted to sit by the pastor’s wife. So I took the initiative and chose to sit by someone who was also alone. Like Christian, I’ve moved up the Hill of Difficulty, stopped at the “pleasant arbor,” and found rest and renewal.
Do you feel the need to make connections and seek out your feelings as I’ve done? My hope-to-be-published book will help you with your journey. I trust you find a passion for relating your own need with the helps found in Bunyan’s classic, Scripture, and thoughtful journaling.