Christianity: It isn’t a ‘do-it-yourself’ faith

I saw then in my dream, that they went till they came into a certain country, whose air naturally tended to make one drowsy, if he came a stranger into it. And here Hopeful began to be very dull and heavy of sleep; wherefore he said unto Christian, I do now begin to grow so drowsy that I can scarcely hold up mine eyes, let us lie down here and take one nap.

CHRISTIAN. By no means, said the other, lest sleeping, we never awake more.

HOPEFUL. Why, my brother? Sleep is sweet to the labouring man; we may be refreshed if we take a nap.

CHRISTIAN. Do you not remember that one of the Shepherds bid us beware of the Enchanted Ground? He meant by that that we should beware of sleeping; “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others, but let us watch and be sober.” (1 Thess. 5:6)

HOPEFUL. I acknowledge myself in a fault, and had I been here alone I had by sleeping run the danger of death. I see it is true that the wise man saith, Two are better than one. Hitherto hath thy company been my mercy, and thou shalt have a good reward for thy labour. (Eccl. 9:9) (John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress)

I came across this little passage as I was reading Bunyan’s masterpiece a little while ago. Though Christian begins his journey alone, leaving family and friends to find relief from his burden of sin, he is seldom by himself once he begins to walk along the way. While Christian and his companions often fall down together, they lean on each other as they struggle to get back to the path. Indeed, if it were not for his friends, it is doubtful that Christian would have reached the end of his journey.

As someone born and raised in a culture of individualism, I found Bunyan’s words a refreshing reminder to do things God’s way. Christianity isn’t a “do-it-yourself” religion. As God Himself exists in a perfect triune community, so He has designed His people.

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” (Genesis 2:18 ESV)

And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two. (Mark 6:7 ESV)

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