Sunday, November 06, 2005

I Walk Alone?

"Pilgrim’s Progress" was written by John Bunyan who, in 1675, was jailed for his faith. It is a novel about a person by the name of Christian. Christian is on a journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. On his way he passes through places such as the Slough of Despond, Doubting Castle and Vanity Fair. Many of us are on this journey and we may even find ourselves in one of these three places at one time or another.

The interesting aspect of the novel is that Christian can never make his destination by himself, so along the way he is given travel companions. They have names such as Faithful and Hopeful. What is key, is that Christian on his journey is not alone, and either are we. In our personal journey we often feel alone. Green Day sings the song “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” which says:
I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don't know where it goes
But it's home to me and I walk alone
I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
and I'm the only one and I walk alone

I walk alone

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
'Til then I walk alone

But we do have traveling companions. Journeying is something we do together. You and I need to be connected to people. We need traveling companions. Matthew (28:20) said the last words of Jesus on earth were "I will be with you always." That’s the promise of Jesus. I don’t do this walk by myself. Jesus knows I cannot make this journey by myself, even when I pass through the valley of the shadow of death, I am not by myself.

I have a problem, though. Sometimes, when I am in the Castle of Doubt, or the Slough of Despair, or Vanity Fair, the invisible doesn’t seem so present. So, how do I experience this promise?

When you hear the word "church," what do you think of? A building a place or people? The Church is not a building or a place. It is a traveling companion!
I love the four characters that we find in "The Wizard of Oz." They actually remind me of not only people in my life, but of some real people who the church is really made up of. If you think about it, none of them could have made it by themselves. Dorothy suffered from a self-esteem problem. It came from the insecurity of an unstable home. If you really look at Dorothy’s upbringing, she was raised by her aunt. Where were her parents? Like many of us, we have never experienced the fullness of God’s blessing because we didn’t have healthy parents that could pass the blessing. We’re dealing with Dorothy-type problems, problems of self-esteem and insecurity. We need a new home. We need to be re-parented. The Lion lacked courage to take the risks that he needed to take to finish his journey. Scarecrow didn’t lack courage, he was ready to step out and do all kinds of weird things, he just needed a little smarts. The Tin Man had frozen emotions. He had the inability to get into an intimate relationship with anyone. Each one of these characters remind us of people we know or even people just like ourselves. None of these could have made the journey by themselves, so they were given as a gift to each other.

As you look at these unlikely traveling companions, look around you. Take a moment. Look to your right, look to your left. Unlikely traveling companions. They are the companions that God knows you need to face the journey. God puts us with unlikely traveling companions who add to my life from their perspective.
What are your thoughts? Better yet...who are your travel companions?


Jordan said...

Hey! I have a question for you... What is God's will for Humaninity, more to the point His will for Christians?

SoulPastor said...

Dearest Jordan
My Son, whom I love...
Your question must be asked here on the net in front of all these people because our discussion was just not adequate....or that you feel that your father has been neglecting you. So, I will hope that there will be many more additions to my pity response but here it goes…

God’s can be found in scripture and here are a few references that you can work with…
Romans 12
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
2 Corinthians 8
1And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. 5And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will. 6So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us[a]—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. 8I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
1 Thessalonians 4
1Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4that each of you should learn to control his own body[a] in a way that is holy and honorable, 5not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; 6and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. 7For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 5
16Be joyful always; 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Peter 2
13Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 16Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
1 Peter 4
12Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And,
"If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?"[a] 19So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

Now son, go and figure it out!
Love ya