Reaching The Celestial City

March 25, 2014
by Lori Ciccanti

1 Peter 2:11 – Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul. (KJV)

Hebrews 11:16 – Instead, they were longing for a better country — a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (NIV)

Recently, I watched a wonderful film called Pilgrim's Progress: Journey to Heaven, a modern adaptation of John Bunyan's classic tale. The story is a clever allegory depicting the spiritual journey of a man named Christian who could easily be identified as any one of us. The plot thickens as Christian travels down a long, obstacle-filled road in order to get away from the City of Destruction. Instead, he is looking for another kingdom called the Celestial City. Throughout the first part of the journey, he is carrying a heavy load on his back. Then, he reaches the wall of salvation. After coming to the cross of Christ and the empty tomb, his burden miraculously falls to the ground. Even so, his journey does not end there.

Many of the places and characters in this story provide interesting food for thought. To give you an idea, consider these familiar personalities: Worldly Wise Man, Giant Despair, and the Flatter. What personal experience comes to mind when you hear their names? On the positive side, Christian also meets several godly individuals, some of whom are described as the Evangelist, Goodwill, and Faithful. These believers encourage him to stay on the right path. Who in your life has inspired your walk of faith?

To reach his destination, Christian must follow a certain path which has various landmarks and towns, including Doubting Castle and Vanity Fair. Their names give us a clue as to the kind of experience one might expect there. In addition, the Enchanted Ground is an area through which the King's Highway passes; it has a strange air causing pilgrims to get very sleepy when they stop for rest. However, Christian is warned that falling asleep in that spot would be fatal. Similarly, how many times have we been "enchanted" with something that appears completely harmless, yet has the potential to ruin our lives?

After watching this powerful drama, I realized that this narrative could make a great lifetime devotional. Using the pilgrim's progress as a guide, we can observe people and places that have made an impact on our lives, for better or worse. Meanwhile, we must stay on the right course, leaving our burden at the foot of the cross where Christ Jesus has set us free.

Prayer: Lord, You are never far from those who seek You. Give us strength to endure this pilgrim journey as we tread along the path that You have prepared according to Your will. Set our affections on the things above, not on the passing vanities of this world, until we safely reach the peace and comfort of our Father's home. In Jesus' holy name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Lori Ciccanti <dlalsina@mchsi.com>
Ocean View, Delaware, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you Lori.


    A classic work and still relevant. Good word.


    Thank you for your devotional this morning; I loved the story!


    Lori,
    I loved your devotional. I was fascinated reading it.


    Good thought.
    Blessings.
    (England)


    Great Lori!! You really brought back the message of the movie to me and started me thinking about my journey and my walk as a follower of Jesus. You have been such a wonderful inspiration to me in my daily walk. Thank you so very much.


    Lorie
    Thanks for the words & especially your prayer.
    How is your journey moving along?
    God bless.


    Dear Lori!
    Did Pilgrim meet any other travellers seeking the Celestial City or encourage another to begin the pilgrimage?
    Thank you for writing to us. Food for thought, indeed nutritious!
    May our FATHER in Heaven Bless you and keep you.


    Lori, Following Christian’s journey must have been thrilling. I can’t wait to see the film. Your telling of the story was very uplifting.
    Following at the foot of the Cross has always kept me grounded. The hymn “Oh Jesus I have Promised” speaks of how I have felt as I follow Him to the end. Thanks for once again blessing me with your writing.


    Beautiful.
    I will try to find this movie….maybe have family & friends watch as a group.
    Thank you sharing.
    I know that FATHER will continue to rain down HIS blessings on your ministry and you.
    (Texas)


    Dear Lori,
    What is the title, and from where is this new production available?
    When I was a new Christian in my early twenties, I read Pilgrim’s Progress. Though I did not comprehend much of the story in those years, I’m sure it helped to put me on track and keep me there.
    Thank you for the reminders and for giving me the desire to get into the story again.

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