A passage from the old Christian classic 'Pilgrims Progress' has been playing over and over in my mind today. I'll re-tell it in Jess' paraphrase :)
Christian has left his old sinful lifestyle in the City of Destruction and is currently on his journey to the Celestial City (Heaven). On his journey he has stopped at the House of the Interpreter. In this house, he looks through each room and has all kinds of revelations, which are designed to encourage and instruct him as he continues on in his journey. After learning and hearing so much wisdom, he walks outside in the sunshine, and here awaits another lesson for him to learn. In front of him is the most beautiful palace with jewels and precious stones adorning it's walls, sparking in the beautiful sunshine. There are people walking back and forth on the roof singing praises to God and rejoicing in His goodness. Inside the palace, there is constant singing, children laughing, and the most beautiful gardens and streets. Around this beautiful palace, is a moat with a drawbridge leading up to a spacious lawn, where the big and powerful gate stands tall, designed to keep outsiders out. Beside this moat stands a crowd of men gazing in longing at the beautiful palace. Another man sits patiently a table with a pen and paper. From time to time he looks up and urges the men to take courage and enter the beautiful kingdom. Yet... all the men still hesitate...
Christian gazes and takes in this beautiful, yet confusing scene, and then turns and asks the interpreter why the men wait to enter the beautiful palace. The interpreter pointed without saying a word towards to the spacious lawn. There on the lawn, stand knights dressed in full armour, looking extremely tall and menacing, full of fierce and vicious determination. There charge is to keep anyone from getting in the palace without a long hard struggle. As Christian realizes what has happened, he starts to weep. He feels the agony of the men; to be so close to the beautiful palace, and yet so very very far.
However, as he watches, a young man comes forward and puts his mark on the paper, and declares that he will face the knights and is willing to fight for the opportunity to get into the palace. Christian watches in horror as the small man with his cheap and flimsy amour, walks forward towards the menacing fierce giants. He turns to the interpreter and asks what is the purpose of this man fighting all alone against such unbelievable odds??? The interpreter just smiles and tells him that he does not fight alone and to keep watching. The small man filled with courage fights hard with the giants... Although he receives injuries along the way, each time he strikes the giants they get weaker and weaker. Christian watches in astonishment... it finally dawns on him that these supposed 'giants' are but paper giants, imposters who never have any hope of even winning a single battle. The man finally succeeds and walks through the gates of the palace to be welcomed in to the beauty and all the joy within.
This beautiful allegory is rich and has so many important lessons. What impacts me the most, is that so often the battles we avoid, or the things that hold us captive for so long, have absolutely NO power over us. They are but paper giants.
In my own life, I have found that fears I have, or supposed chains that have held me captive, only have a hold on me when I allow them to! When I finally face my issues, in God's strength... they fade away in the background. In Christ, all the battles we face, are but paper giants, simple imposters. Remember Christ has already won the battle, the victory is already ours!!