I have found that many believers expect too much from marriage, friendship, vocation and the church. John Bunyan provided helpful insight in his 17th century classic, Pilgrim’s Progress. When Christian comes to the point of conversion, he is led to the house of a man named Interpreter. Interpreter shows Christian seven distinct scenes to help him understand the nature of the Christian life. Here is a partial list:
- He was shown a picture of a serious person with a Bible in his hand and the world behind his back. He stood as if pleading with men. A golden crown hung over his head. A Christian is a person who is guided by God’s Word. He has made a conscious decision to stand apart from the values of the surrounding culture. He loves people and is concerned about their eternal destiny. And while he experiences hardship now, he stands to receive a great reward.
- He saw a room filled with dust. Someone came to sweep it but it only stirred up the dust and made it worse. Than a woman came and sprinkled water around and was able to clean the dust effectively. The dust (sin) can only be cleaned up with water (gospel). True change will only come by means of the gospel.
- He saw two children. Their names were Passion and Patience. Passion was sullen and demanding. Patience was content. Passion wanted it all now. Patience was willing to wait. A Christian is willing to forgo temporary pleasure and wait for the best things.
Many Christians experience inordinate discouragement because their expectations are out of whack. We must remember that when we turned to follow Christ, we did not choose the easy path. It is the path of blessing but it does require sacrifice and delayed gratification.
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