“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. . . . They desire a better country, that is, an heavenly [country]” (Hebrews 11:13, 16a).
A Puritan preacher named John Bunyan wrote the book Pilgrim’s Progress. It tells the story of a man named Christian and his journey to the Celestial City. Along the way to this heavenly city, Christian meets with terrible dangers, and he meets many people who try to lure him away from the right road. Christian has to avoid these side trips, say no to many temptations, and even leave certain people behind. The point of the story is that a true Christian must stay on the road to Heaven, not get sidetracked by the junk on the side of the road. Christians must not get caught up in the distractions of this world. Sometimes even things that seem fun and harmless can become traps that pull our hearts away from God and cause us to love this world.
What do you think of when you hear the word “pilgrim”? Some people think of a pilgrim as someone who is sour faced and out of touch and who doesn’t believe in having any fun. But the Bible says in Hebrews 11 that true believers are to be pilgrims. People who live by faith are pilgrims on this earth. This world is not their home; Heaven is! Like Christian in the story of Pilgrim’s Progress, true believers must stay on the road to Heaven, where they will be with Jesus Christ forever. They might have to give up certain activities that draw their hearts away from God. They might have to say no to certain people who try to distract them from obedience to God. They might even have to avoid places where they know they will be tempted to sin. The most important thing to a pilgrim is not this world, but the world to come. God wants us to live for Heaven.
God wants us to live for Heaven rather than loving this world.
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