The man in a cage from Pilgrim's progress.
We have so little fear of God that we often don't think twice about sinning against Him. We have moments where we praise Him and love Him for what he gives us and blesses us with, but how little do we fear the all-powerful Creator of the universe. The One who hates sin so much He cannot even let it enter His eternal presence. He who sent down His Son to pay for it with His very own life. Yet we continue to try His patience and disobey His laws even as believers. Even worse! There are sins we are so hardened to and used to doing, that we make nothing of them. For example, cheating on tax returns, laziness, gluttony, or my personal favourite: gossip. How often have I justified this sin, I can't even count!
The sins I usually fear to do are the ones that makes me "feel" cut off from God. There are sins that make my prayers feel weak and as if I'm speaking into the void. Those sins that make me not want to read His word or even worse, not want repent at all. There are sins I gradually learned to fear through God's constant patience and teaching. I thank God that He is as merciful as He is, though I don't deserve it at all. How amazing He is to grant me repentance time and time again. I thank Him for every time He does. He has lead me to think about properly fearing Him, through what I found while browsing the website www.oldtruth.com.
I came across an article that spoke of John Bunyan's Pilgrim's progress. It was about a chapter that I had totally forgotten about, and made me want to read it again. After reading this particular chapter I felt the fear of God overcome me. I'll let John Bunyan's masterpiece speak for itself. I am quite thankful that I came across it again. Interesting food for thought, it has kept me thinking: "Do I really fear Him as I should and do I really try to flee from sin?"
Excerpt from John Bunyan's "Pilgrims Progress"
Then Christian said, "Now let me go forward." But the
Interpreter replied, "No, you must stay until I have showed you
a little more. After this you can be on your way." So he took
him by the hand again and led him into a very dark room where
a man sat in an iron cage. Now this man seemed very sad to
look upon. He sat with his eyes looking down toward the
ground, his hands tightly folded together; and he sighed as if his
heart would break. Then said Christian, "What does this mean?"
So the Interpreter told him to talk with the man.
CHRISTIAN: What are you doing here?
MAN: I am what I once was not.
CHRISTIAN: What were you once?
MAN: I was once a fair [attractive], flourishing [thriving] and
professing Christian, in the eyes of both myself and others.
At one time I was convinced of being fair [well set] for reaching
the Celestial City; and even had joyous thoughts of arrival at that destination.
CHRISTIAN: Yes, but what are you now?
MAN: I am now a man of despair and am shut up [captive]
to it, as this iron cage depicts. I cannot get out. Oh how
miserable I am since now I cannot get out.
CHRISTIAN: But how did you come to be in this condition?
MAN: I neglected to watch and be sober; I loosed any
restraint that had been on my lusts and gave them free reign;
I sinned against the light of the Word and the goodness of God;
I have grieved the Holy Spirit so that He has departed from me;
I have provoked God to anger and He has abandoned me;
I have so hardened my heart that I cannot repent.
Then Christian spoke to the Interpreter,
"But is there no hope for such a man as this?"
"You ask him," replied the Interpreter.
CHRISTIAN: Do you have any hope that you will not be
permanently kept in this iron cage of despair?
MAN: No, none at all.
CHRISTIAN: But why ought that to be so? Are you not aware
that the Son of the Blessed is very merciful and compassionate?
MAN: Nevertheless I have crucified him again by my life;
I have despised his person; I have despised his righteousness;
I have regarded his blood as something quite unholy; I have done
despite to [spitefully opposed, insulted] the Spirit of grace.
Therefore I have shut myself out of all of the promises of God;
and there now remains for me nothing but threatenings, fearful
prospects of rebuke, fiery indignation, and certain judgment that
shall, as would some adversary, wholly consume me.
CHRISTIAN: For what reasons did you bring yourself into
this sorry condition?
MAN: On account of the lusts, pleasures, and profits of this
world. It was in the enjoyment of these things that I promised
myself increasing delight. But now they all, as it were, snap back
and bite me; they gnaw at my soul like a burning worm.
CHRISTIAN: But can you not now repent and turn from this
MAN: No, for God has denied me repentance; His Word
gives me no encouragement to believe. Yes, He himself has shut
me up in this iron cage so that even all the men in the world are
unable to obtain my release. Oh eternity! eternity! How can I
possibly grapple with the misery that I shall encounter in eternity?
INTERPRETER: So remember this man's misery, and let his
sorry condition be a perpetual warning to you.
CHRISTIAN: Well, this is a most fearful situation.
May God help me to watch and be sober,
and pray that I may shun the cause of this man's grief.
May I learn to fear God and hate sin as much as I should. Forgive me Father for how often I sin against You. Please be merciful to me. I love You and want to do whatever You want me to do. I am Yours, do with me what You will.
“If you simply take the name of Christ upon you and call yourself His servant, yet do not obey Him, but follow your own whim, or your ownhereditary prejudice, or the custom of some erroneous church—you are no servant of Christ. If you really are a servant of Christ, your first dutyis to obey Him.” - Charles Spurgeon