10 January 2013

Pilgrim's Progress: Worldly Wiseman

Christian continues on his journey toward the wicket to be rid of his burden when a man, Mr Worldly Wiseman, approaches him and engages him in conversation.  Christian explains to him that he wishes desparately to be rid of the burden on his back. Beginning on page 25, we see the first glimpse of Mr Worldly Wiseman's unfortunate counsel.  He tells Christian, "I would advise thee then, that thou with all speed, get thyself rid of thy burden; for thou wilt never be settled in thy mind until then: nor canst thou enjoy the benefits of the blessings which God hath bestowed upon thee, till then." 

Get thyself rid.  Thyself.  In other words, pull yourself by your bootstraps.  Do good.  Try harder.  Are you struggling with pornography?  Just stop looking at it.  Do you get angry with your kids?  Stop it.  Are you prone to gossip.  Knock it off! 

For many of us, this is our default setting.  We claim that we believe in God's saving grace, but we don't really live as though we believe it.  We say that he saved us from our sin, but then we go on about trying to save ourselves every day.  We assume that if we can just buckle down, we can fix ourselves. 

Here's the deal, even if we were able to improve all of our behaviors, the burden of sin would remain.  It is only by the atoning sacrifice of Christ that our sins are forgiving. It is only by the indwelling of he Holy Spirit that any true heart change can be expected. 

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