Modern readers have nearly forgotten The Pilgrim’s Progress, yet John Bunyan’s famous allegory still provides enriching reading as it covers every aspect of the Christian life. Here’s a scene to whet your appetite. Near the beginning of his journey toward the Celestial City, Christian stopped at the Palace Beautiful, constructed by God as a place to refresh pilgrims. In the armory there, Christian was fitted with armor: “Sword, shield, helmet, breastplate, all-prayer, and shoes that would not wear out.”
It’s a good thing Christian armored up, for he had no sooner resumed his journey than he met the enemy—Apollyon—who savagely attacked him. The battle lasted hours, and the enemy rained lots of flaming darts at him. But Christian prevailed thanks to his armor and sword.
When it comes to facing the enemy, the question isn’t if but when. The probability of battle is one hundred percent. If you’re under attack today, it means the enemy feels he needs to stop you. Resolve to resist the devil with all your might. Grip the shield of faith in one hand and the sword of the Spirit in the other. Armor up for the battle.
He threw a flaming dart at his breast; but Christian had a shield in his hand, with which he caught it, and so prevented the danger of that.
John Bunyan, in The Pilgrim’s Progress