1 Peter 2:11 – Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. (KJV)
I am writing an essay using an online app, and I am being constantly interrupted by popups telling me that I can sell what I'm writing for cash. Students will pay big bucks to cheat rather than to write themselves. It doesn't matter how good a writer I am, only that I need to sound like a student!
Temptation hasn't changed much since the 1600s when John Bunyan was composing his spiritual autobiography, which we know as Pilgrim's Progress. I keep seeing him at my elbow as I encounter Giant Despair, the plague of our times. I am not in prison as he was, and yet, that same monster is very real to me.
I feel Pilgrim's tears as Interpreter asks him why he has left his wife and children behind. I feel his horror at being unable to save Faithful who is burned at the stake for not worshipping a false god in a city called Vanity Fair.
Someone said, The pilgrimage is the destination. Google has listed many hymns about pilgrims. The one written by Bunyan is To be a pilgrim — also known as He who would Valiant be. Bunyan has tucked into his writing so many ways to describe our faith journey. Dutifully, he describes who and what will lead us astray, how hard the going will often be, and where help is to be found along the way, because he has been there, much of the time in prison. Speaking of Pilgrim, someone said, If you are on the right path, it will always be uphill. No wonder Pilgrim's Progress has been a companion to the Bible all these centuries since.
As I research Bunyan online, popups continue. On one side of my screen, gold coins clink in an ad to buy lottery tickets and visit a casino. On the other side, fancy clothes are obviously not fit for worship. I pause to thank God for this good man, all these centuries ago, who gave his warning about obstacles on the way, temptations which seem ever more prevalent today. Let us each ask ourselves, what form will my spiritual autobiography take? Do I have the Celestial City in view? Am I prepared to take that last step into the river?
Hebrews 11:13 – These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. (KJV)
Prayer: Dear Father, as we make our pilgrimage, we are so thankful for those who would travel with us as guides and companions and for those who have gone before, preparing the way. Help us to resist temptation on every side, especially when disguised by technology as help. May our lives be examples of our great joy in walking with You. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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