When I was a kid my mom read me a book called Little Pilgrim’s Progress by Helen Taylor. The book is an adaptation for young readers of John Bunyan’s book Pilgrim’s Progress. Maybe you’ve read one or both of these books?
Little Pilgrim’s Progress follows a boy name Christian as he journeys from the city where lives, a place called Destruction, to the Celestial City, where the King lives.
In chapter 2 Christian says to one of his friends,
“You know,” he said, as he walked along, “I must go to the King, because I have a burden to carry, and no one but He can take it from me.”
“Where is your burden?” ask Christiana.
“It is on my back, and it feels so heavy that it makes me too tired to play.”
Do you ever feel like Christian? Like there is this big thing on your back that you are carrying around, that is holding you back?
Christian sets out the next day on his journey to the Celestial City. One of the most vivid memories I have from the book is when Christian encounters the cross. The cross is situated on a hill and as Christian climbs up the hill towards the cross the pack he is carrying falls from his back. The burden Christian’s been carrying slips off and rolls down the hill. Christian suddenly feels lighter; he’s overcome with joy at loosing the burden. He’d carried it so long, it had slowed him down and held him back, but now it was gone.
The author of Hebrews encourages us to “…us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up…” (Hebrews 12:1 NLT) This verse always reminds me of young Christian. But how do we do what the author of Hebrews is telling us to?
This weekend we are beginning a new teaching series called “Set Free.” Over the next 8 Sundays we’ll be looking at how to rid ourselves of habits, thoughts, and attitudes, sin, that are weighing us down and holding back. This Sunday we’ll look at Matthew 4:1-11 and the starting point to getting rid of what is holding us back from becoming what Jesus envisions. Together we are going to discover that the key to breaking free is not resisting, its redirecting. I hope you’ll join us at Living Hope.