I sat speaking after a Sunday morning service to an 18 year old young man who said:
“But I just don’t know if I’m a Christian or not. I want to be, but I just have so many doubts. Yes, I know that I’m a sinner who deserves Hell. I know that I could never save myself by being good or doing good. And I know that the only way of salvation is to repent and believe in Jesus who died on the cross for sinners. But I just don’t feel like I’m born again. I don’t read the bible and pray as often as I should, and I often wonder how in the world I could ever be a Christian with a track record like that. I just feel like giving up.”
A visit to the Interpreter’s House in Pilgrim’s Progress would do him well. There he would meet a Violent Man who took the kingdom by force.
Then the Interpreter took Christian, and led him up towards the door of the palace; and behold, at the door stood a great company of men, as desirous to go in, but they dared not to do it. There also sat a man at a little distance from the door, at a table-side, with a book and his inkhorn pen before him, to take the names of them who had intentions to enter therein; he saw also that in the doorway stood many men in armor to block it, being resolved to do to the men that would enter, what hurt and mischief they could.
Now Christian was somewhat amazed to see that they were prepared to inflict whatever pain or injury they could upon the people who would enter through the door. At last when every man started to go back for fear of the armed men, Christian saw a strong man of very firm resolution come up to the man that sat there to write with the pen, saying, “Write down my name, sir;” the which when he had done, he saw the man draw his sword, and put a helmet on his head, and rush towards the door upon the armed men, who laid into him with deadly force; but the man, not at all discouraged, began cutting and hacking most fiercely.
So after he had received and given many wounds to those that attempted to keep him out; he cut his way through them all, and pressed forward into the palace; at which there was a pleasant voice heard from those that were within, even of those that walked upon the top of the palace, saying,
“Come in, come in,
Eternal glory thou shalt win.”
So he went in, and was clothed with such garments as they wore.
Then Christian smiled, and said, I think verily I know the meaning of this.
Matthew 11:12: “And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.”
My mother and father used to read Pilgrim’s Progress (the children’s version) to me all the time as a child. I am so thankful for that wonderful story! It was amazing how many seeds were planted in my younger years through hearing that book read to me.