An Application of Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress: Desiring Mount Zion

June 14, 2019 | by James M. Harrison

Christian, having departed the Interpreter’s house and continued on his way, lifted up his eyes to see a palace, the name of which was Beautiful. After arriving at the gate of the palace, and conversing with Watchful the Porter, he was welcomed into the palace, where he was introduced to members of the family, named Prudence, Piety, and Charity.

Good fellowship was had among them, as the family of the house inquired of Christian as to what he had experienced along the way, being anxious to hear his pilgrim’s tale. Though Piety was concerned to hear about the events which had transpired, Prudence was interested in the state of Christian’s heart and mind, asking questions such as, “Do you not think sometimes of the Country from whence you came?”.

The concern expressed by Prudence did not only look backward, however. She desired also to know Christian’s heart regarding the future. It was Prudence who asked the most profound question of their conversation.

“And what is it that makes you so desirous to go to Mount Zion?”

To this profound question, Christian provided an equally profound answer.

“Why, there I hope to see him alive that did hang dead on the Cross; and there I hope to be rid of all those things, that to this day are in me an annoyance to me: There they say there is no death, and there I shall dwell with such company as I like best. For, to tell you truth, I love Him, because I was by Him eased of my burden; and I am weary of my inward sickness: I would fain be where I shall die no more, and with the company that shall continually cry, ‘Holy, holy, holy’.”

I wonder…would your answer be the same? Do you desire Heaven? If so, why? Many do not desire heaven so much as they wish to avoid Hell. Others desire heaven for what they believe they will find there. They want their mansion. They wish to see wonders, and to walk upon streets of gold. But though there will be wonders, indeed, as Bunyan himself describes at the end of this very book, Christian understands that Heaven is not Heaven because of these things. They are meaningless in and of themselves.

So, then. Do you desire Heaven? If so, why? Christian’s answer ought to be the answer of everyone who names the name of Christ. Actually, Christian’s answer to the question posed to him by Prudence comes in two parts, which are, of course, inextricably linked.

One part of his answer has to do with his sin. He is weary of his sin, and longs to be rid of it. “There I hope to be rid of all those things, that to this day are in me an annoyance to me…I am weary of my inward sickness…”

Are you sick of your sin? Have you grown to hate that which yet afflicts you? Are you tired of the battle? Do you long for peace? This world, and this life, is a battlefield. Here, there is no peace. The battle rages incessantly, and we cannot escape it. No weekend passes are issued. We cannot be moved off the front lines, away from the enemy, because the enemy is us. We battle with our own flesh.

The day will come, however, when the battle will cease. The victory which has already been won will come into its fulness, and there will be peace.

Of course, the victory over our sin is secondary in Christian’s desire. The first thing he desires is to be with the very One who has won that victory.

“There I hope to see Him alive that did hang dead on the cross…for, to tell you truth, I love Him…”

“…to tell you truth, I love Him…” That is what makes Heaven, Heaven. I will be with the One whom I love. I will be with the One who first loved me. I will be with the One who eased my burden. I will be with the One who chose me, and called me, and clothed me with His righteousness, and made me His own.

That is why I long for Heaven. Not because I imagine a perfectly designed golf course to play, or the ability to eat all of my favorite foods without getting fat, or being able to sing harmony in a heavenly choir. I long for heaven because I long for Jesus. Other things, marvelous things, will certainly come along with Him. But I long for heaven because “…to tell you truth, I love Him…”

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