Rely on the power of Jesus.
Although many of my literature-teaching colleagues don’t recognize it, the first novel written in the English language was John Bunyan’s classic allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress. Whatever its literary failings, Bunyan’s book is a remarkable portrayal of the core of Christian theology in a narrative form. If you’ve never read it, you should.
The pilgrim of the title, cleverly named by Bunyan as Christian, makes his way from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City, following the instructions of a guy named Evangelist. Again, Bunyan was anything but subtle with names.
While relying on the power of Jesus, Christian makes good headway and even defeats an impossibly powerful demonic force along the way. But when Christian relies on his own strength or his own wisdom, he winds up in trouble.
Near the end of the book, Christian has to cross a river to reach the Celestial City (heaven). Not much a swimmer, he finds that crossing horrifying and difficult. Perhaps he even drowns--the book isn’t clear. The key thing, however, is that it doesn’t matter. When Christian or his traveling companions rely on the power of Jesus, they find their way into the city, they hear those amazing words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
It’s not any easier for us to simply rely on the power of Christ than it was for Christian. Yet that is how we will succeed. That’s how Christian passed the river. That’s how the disciples found themselves on the opposite shore of the sea despite the storm. That’s how we will pass through the barriers of our lives.
- In what ways do you find it hard to rely on the power of Jesus?
- How does leaning on your own strength work out for you?
- Pray that God will show you how to rely on His strength rather than your own today and going forward.