The Heavenly Footman is a fast-paced and direct challenge to every Christian to “run the race to win”! Footman is no reference to an infantryman or an aristocrat’s servant, but refers to those who are travelling on foot to a distant country, engaged in a pilgrimage from earth to heaven. John Bunyan uses the allegory of the runner to picture the Christian’s race through this world to win the heavenly prize. Indeed, they that will have heaven must run for it. “They which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize…so run, that ye may obtain” (1Co 9:24). He understands that most are too casual in their approach to the Christian life. Their vigilance looks more like sloth too much of the time! Instead, Bunyan encourages us to “press toward the mark,” to “continue in the faith” in spite of all adversity, to remove hindrances, to beware of by-paths, to know the cross and mortification, to deny self, and to persevere. While this race is mentioned in most works on holiness, Bunyan’s focus is on the personal vigilance needed to complete the race, starting now, starting today.
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