The Pilgrim In A City of Mayhem

Hello April
Image Credit: Love Quotes

I truly hope that you are all doing well.

I am thankful to see this month of April 2021. It is truly humbling considering, it is just last year I wrote this post right after the Corona Virus pandemic crippled our economies.

God has been gracious. I don’t believe that I am more deserving to be alive than any other person who has lost their life due to Covid-19 or any other sickness for that matter. It is by the grace of God we have life, and I hope that we use the time we have here on earth everyday to live for Him. Like the Psalmist wrote,

Psalms 90:12 "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom"

Now, to the purpose of my blog post today.

Whenever I am walking along Tom Mboya Street;  just between Kenya archives and Ambassadeur Hotel, I am usually approached by these young ladies, sometimes, men, who usually try to get my attention, calling me persuasively to get my nails done or buy whatever they are selling…“sistee nails, sistee nails, sistee lashes..”

It is worse when I am walking around the downtown areas of Nairobi town because now I am met by all sorts of traders. Whether they are selling shoes, clothing, water bottles, wigs or weaves, cosmetic products, cooking pans, and I do not even know what else there is these days because it has been a while since I was last in town.

As a person who enjoys silence and calmness, I am usually so exasperated by that whole ordeal. Every one who is able to get a hold of you just trying to make money from you. And if that is not the half of it, there comes the touts, who forcefully try to get you inside their matatus.

Last year I read a book by John Bunyan, a work of a 16th Century author. The title of the book — The Pilgrim’s progress– though I have to confess I never managed to finish it to the end. I got distracted for some days, which later turned into weeks and by the time I was getting back to reading it, I had already forgotten some of the major plots of the story and even some of the key characters in the book.  This meant I had to start all over again which I never got around to doing.

I am planning on doing that this year. God willing.

Anyway, before reading this book,  I had watched the movie so I was pretty much familiar with the plot. However, I appreciated reading the book more because I realized that the movie I had watched had sliced out major plots of the story.

I will give a brief description of the story, and if you are not a reading fan, I recommend you watch the below movie as an alternative. I loved that this movie tried to capture the details from the book as much as possible.

Follow the link by clicking on below,

The story is about a pilgrim called Christian. He lives in a city called, Destruction, together with his family, (a wife, and I think three children if I remember correctly).

He discovers a book that changes the course of his whole life. The book states that the city in which he lives, is destined for destruction and except he flees from it, there is no other escape. The book as well speaks of a Celestial City that is eternal in nature and can never be destroyed.

The author of this book which Christian is now totally engrossed in, encourages all pilgrims to journey towards this Celestial City, where their lives would be saved from the imminent destruction, and they would ultimately meet the King of that city, who would grant them eternal life.

Christian, astounded by the information he has discovered from this book warns his family. However, his family pays no attention to him; instead they think of him as deluded for his suggestion to have them leave the city, (despite its evident demoralizing and decaying state).

His relatives and neighbors argue that they have stayed in safe comfort all their lives in the City of Destruction; and it is ridiculous to leave their home just because a mere book suggests of its looming destruction, while most of them laugh him to derision.

Vexed day and night by worry for his life and his family’s each passing day in that city, there arises a physical heavy weight/load upon his shoulders; of which he has no knowledge on how to get rid of. Christian finally decides to begin his own personal journey out of the City of Destruction and head towards the Celestial City.

A journey that must be made ultimately by an individual. He cannot make it for his family or friends whom he loves so dearly; and neither can he coerce them to make it. So he sets off.

Christian Pilgrim's Progress

On his way out of the city, he meets with a man called Evangelist who greets him with cheerful countenance. He explains to Evangelist his predicament and the plight of the heavy load upon his shoulders. Evangelist then directs him (and all other pilgrims who purpose to take this journey), on the path to take so as to rid of the load on his shoulders.

Evangelist gives him many counsels for his journey and warns him to be careful not to stray from the narrow path he has directed him to. He tells Christian that any deviation would cause him to lose his way and subsequently not reach to the Celestial City.

This story is an extremely beautiful and profound work denoting the life of every Christian as they face and overcome the challenges in this present world, while looking upwards towards the heavenly kingdom.

I would recommend it to all of you. In fact, I think the book is free on all book store applications.

Christian’s voyage is a long one, filled with difficulties, sufferings, fear, hopeless moments; but also filled with its share of joys, rest, freedom, and a strong purpose-filled journey.

Why am I telling you about this lovely story?

Because, his journey is similar to each and everyone of us who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, and also, there is a chapter on Christian’s journey that caught my attention.

As I began this post, I pointed out the mayhem that goes on around Nairobi town these days and possibly even many other places in the world today.

The world today has become like a big market place. If you are not buying, then you are selling, if you are not selling, then you are a debtor, and if you are not a debtor, then you are a creditor who has a debt.

The penny frenzy is crazy!

Christian comes to a town of such likeness called Vanity Fair town.

Just before this town, he had reconnected with Evangelist once again after a long time in his travel. Christian had even come by a new companion during his journey. They were both travelling to the Celestial City. His new friend was called Faithful.

Evangelist, appearing here once again as a source of encouragement to them; tells them that the only way to get to the Celestial City is to pass through the Vanity Fair town. There is no other way but through it.

Canadian Fair
Image Credit: thetravelerszone.com (My imagination of how Vanity Fair Town looked like.)

Can you imagine if your lived your life in such a town everyday? What chaos to the mind and soul!

Now, back to our own world down here.

You and I both find ourselves in this world today, we live in this world. We cannot escape it and move to another planet.

Yet on this planet earth, especially today, we are bombarded left, right, center with a world that is trying to jam us down with purchases and more purchases. A world that has become exceedingly engrossed with bucks and chips. Success and trying to make a name for yourself is the driving motivation to living an independent, and self-sufficient life.

Do not get me wrong, I have nothing against trying to make money, but there should be all sorts of red flags raised if somebody would readily shove another person into a matatu which is not even their destination to begin with so that they can fill up the psv and collect that dough!

And let’s not even get to talking about social media because this is another menace. I can barely listen to a You-Tube playlist peacefully without several invasive ads. And while on Instagram, watch out for those tempting posts suggesting to you, that you need such and such a product for your hair, this outfit in your closet, you also need to get your nails done, pay for that gym subscription, take a vacation…I mean when was the last time you went for a holiday? Or a spa maybe?

How about the family photos you haven’t gotten around to taking? Or even a shoot together with your girls? What about this new restaurant in town, have you been there? You mean you aren’t a foodie? Okay! How about the Diani Beach? Have you visited it? No? The Maldive Islands? Oh no! Do you even have somebody to go with in the first place? A bestie? Maybe, A boyfriend? A husband? No? Nobody? Bruh, your life needs some polishing friend! It doesn’t look appealing to people out here. And so do your social media pages.

My goodness!

If this is not the definition of the reason for some mental health problems. I don’t know!

And honestly, the number of people who are preoccupied and ensnared by this world system is alarming to say the least.

Jesus is all we need my friends.

Image Credit —Jenessawait

This world is going to go up in flames and all these things that the world is trying to get our minds focused on will go up in flames with it. If we should ask Solomon, he knew that too well. All vanity.

Now, we meet up again with our friends Christian, Faithful and Evangelist. Just before they enter the Vanity Fair town, Evangelist speaks to them these words concerning the town. (Quoting an excerpt from the Pilgrim’s Progress.)

“Promoted there that is known as Vanity Fair. It is maintained all the year long and bears the name Vanity Fair because the town where it is located is regarded as lighter than vanity; and also, because all that is sold there, as well as those who come to buy, is vanity worthless. As is the saying of the wise man, “All that this world promotes is vanity.” This Fair is not some newly constructed business, but an enterprise going back into antiquity. Let me tell you about its origin. Almost five thousand years ago, even then there were pilgrims walking toward the Celestial City, just as you two are doing. So beelzebub, apollyon, and legion, along with their associates, noticing that the path along which pilgrims traveled toward the City passed through this Town of Vanity, they determined to construct a fair; it was to be a festive market in which there would be sold every sort of vanity, and it would be open all the year long. Therefore at this Fair every type of merchandise was sold, including houses, lands, trades, places, honors, promotions, titles, countries, kingdoms, lusts, and pleasures; there were also delights of all sorts such as prostitutes, madams, wives, husbands, children, masters, servants, lives, blood, bodies, souls, silver, gold, pearls, precious stones, and much more. And moreover, at this Fair there is the constant entertainment of jugglers, cheats, games, plays, clowns, mimics, tricksters, rogues, and many other amusements. Here also are to be found a number of free offerings including thefts, murders, adulteries, perjurers, all available in various shades of blood scarlet. The Prince of Princes Himself, when traveling in this region, passed through this Town when heading toward His own country, and at a time when the Fair was in full operation. Yes, and I believe it is was beelzebub, the chief lord of this fair, who personally invited Him to buy some of his vanities; yes, he would have even made Him a lord of this fair if only the Prince had bowed to his overall authority while passing through the Town. Further, because He was such a person of honor, beelzebub escorted Him from street to street and showed Him, in a short space of time, all the kingdoms of the world so that he might lure the Blessed One to lower Himself and buy some of his vanities. But this Stranger had no desire whatsoever for this merchandise, and therefore He departed from the Town without spending so much as one cent on these worthless goods. Therefore, this Fair is certainly an antiquity of long standing, and a very great Fair at that.

Won’t you look at that! You and I have probably bought at least something from the fair, maybe lands or houses. Jesus never bought a single thing.

There is nothing really new under the sun. Jesus Christ is the only One who endures the test of time.

Therefore we can trust Him. We can trust Him with our lives, with our purchases, with every single breath of our lives and He will see to it that He safeguards our life with His life. He is the only one who has ever dared to die for us, leave alone catch a grenade for us. You and I can both trust in Jesus. He is reliable and He is true.

He passed through the Vanity Fair town too. Just as we are passing by it as well. And He overcame it, just as He desires to give us the power to overcome.

As pilgrims therefore, we must remain steadfast, always, looking up, where it really matters.

One last thing before I conclude, as Christian and Faithful finally arrived at the Vanity Fair Town, the people there became disturbed by their presence. The town was turned into a commotion around them because there was something different about them. The thing that astonished the people of that town the most is that they refused to buy anything that was being sold at the fair. (Quoting an excerpt from the Pilgrim’s Progress.)

“This did especially amuse the merchants, that these pilgrims placed little value on all of their goods; they did not even care to browse at them; and if they were solicited to buy such items, they would put their fingers in their ears and cry out, “Turn away my eyes from beholding vanity;” at the same time they would look upward signifying that their trade and commerce were with Heaven. So beholding the strange behavior of these men, one scornful trader happened to address them: “What will you buy?” But the pilgrims soberly replied, “We buy the truth.”

We buy the truth.– I love that.

Jesus while here on earth, talked about truth and said,

John 14:6 "I am the Way, The Truth, and the Life. No man cometh to the Father but by Me.

As the world, tries to sell us its vanities, Jesus says to us, “I have what you are looking for.

I have satisfaction, I have contentment, I have eternal life, I have peace, I have hope, I have joy, I have what truly lasts. This world belongs to My Father, and He has given Me dominion over it.

I have the truth.”

And it is really the truth that gives all men true freedom. No longer is man a slave of fear, of ridicule, of death, of anything this world tries to throw at him. Why? Because he possesses the most powerful weapon in the world. Truth.

John 8:36 " "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Thank you for reading and I wish you a purposeful pilgrim’s journey of your own each day; as you seek to draw closer and closer to God.

May the Lord bless you and keep you under His gracious and precious wings.

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