Our Common Journey
John Bunyan wrote “A Pilgrim’s Progress” while serving a prison term for preaching without a license. The church governing body that had him arrested thought they were upholding a criteria that honored the tradition of the gospel. But they didn’t realize it was impossible to control the work of God when He choses to unleash a servant.
Never mind. God used Bunyan’s circumstances to influence more lives than he would have ever reached on his own. While in prison he wrote his classic, “A Pilgrim’s Progress” about a believer named Christian. This incredible allegory illustrating a believer’s struggle in the world quickly gained popularity, and continues to be one of the most beloved and widely read Christian books in history.
“A Pilgrim’s Progress” is a great book, but to be honest, people aren’t drawn to it as a result of Bunyan’s literary ability. It can be said that the plot is predictable, and characters stereotypical. So why is it read by millions, and kept by some as the perfect companion to the Word of God? I believe it is because Bunyan so accurately captured the common battle we all face in our journey to heaven, it is impossible to read it without connecting some portion to our personal circumstances. We are reminded of Paul’s words to the Corinthians when he wrote, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).