We are currently reading our 9-year-old a book by Enid Blyton called “The Land of Far Beyond” which is like a kids version of “Pilgrim’s Progress”. In this story people like Patience and Peter do well if they stay on the narrow path and avoid the company of folks such as Despair but instead choose to travel with people such as Cheerful and Courageous. Unfortunately, on their journey to the City of Happiness the travellers find it all too easy to stray from the path and wander into all sorts of trouble.
It would be easy to be cynical and mock a story like this, but instead I find myself wondering if a simple approach to life and faith might do me good? Maybe I’m wishing that in real life pitfalls were clearly labelled as they are in this story, that the name of a person would instantly let me know what they were truly like. Most of all I want to be able to see that I am indeed walking on the narrow way – sometimes it feels like it would be easier to undertake a long arduous journey to a place far away than to muddle through the labyrinth of life as a sinner in a fallen world.
I guess what I’m pondering is how much easier it would be to live by the guidelines of simple virtues and avoiding clearly defined vices. In our society this tends to be branded as conservatism, traditionalist and intolerance, but the New Testament seems to urge us to such a life and I much prefer it to the muddied morality of secularism. It would also be more emotionally honest to be able to identify in myself when I’m being lazy or diligent, content or covetous.