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Get A Foothold

Updated on February 18, 2018
Chase Chartier profile image

Chase is a recent graduate of Azusa Pacific University with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and a minor in Biblical Studies.

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The Slough of Despond (or the depressing swamp)

I highly recommend Kindle Fire, now I can buy books on Amazon that I couldn't find in the bookstore (and actually keep track of everything). On the recommended booklist I found John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. Since I've only read the children's version, I bought it and read the first few chapters. The book is a rich allegory about a man named Christian who embarks on a journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. Each character and destination on the way symbolizes aspects of the Christian walk and I'm positive that for every one connection I made, there were two that I missed. One passage that I did pick up on symbolized a familiar theme in my life. As Christian begins his journey to the Celestial City, he encounters the Slough of Despond. Christian nears the end of the mire but can't pull himself out because of the burden on his back. A man named Help (the book stays true to its allegorical nature) pulls him out of the pit and asks why he couldn't escape. Christian tells him of the burden that weighs him down.

What Are We to Do?

Some scholars believe Bunyan meant the burden to be the weight of sin in terms of guilt over forgiven sin, others the weight of unforgiven sin itself. There is more than one English version and Charles Spurgeon himself has an opinion on it, but for our sake, we'll address the burden as guilt over sin already forgiven. Mr. Help knows that many Christians go through the Slough of Despond one way or another, in fact, there might be a few sloughs on the way to the Celestial City. Often, the guilt of sin can weigh a Christian down. Even though sin is forgiven in the regenerate, issues of guilt, shame, and fear can still plague us. Help asks Christian if he used the footholds in the slough. Apparently there were footholds throughout the mire, but one had to know beforehand where they were or they might sink.


You're probably guessing by now what the footholds are and if you guessed the promises of God, pat yourself on the back you literary scholar. The best way to make it through is by calling to mind the promises of God. It's important to remind ourselves of these promises frequently so they stay with us when we enter the slough. It's called Despond for a reason, and we can't always tell when we're approaching the muck, but for whatever reason we end up there, the promises are just as true when we're in the middle of it. A common theme in the Old Testament is remembrance. Israel is told time and time again to remember the promises and the works of God toward them. This helped them stay on the right path. When I'm dealing with guilt, trials, or battling anxiety and depression, I fight through despondency with promises like these:

  • There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. -Romans 8:1-2
  • There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. - 1 Corinthians 10:13
  • If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. - 1 John 1:9
  • For I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. -Phillipians 1:6‚Äč

Find the Footholds
Find the Footholds

If you want, post some of your favorite promises in the comment section, you might come across one you haven't seen yet!

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    • Chase Chartier profile imageAUTHOR

      Chase Chartier 

      9 months ago from Northern California

      That's a good one! It reminds me of something I wrote before my 21st birthday, I'll have to post it soon:)

    • Chase Chartier profile imageAUTHOR

      Chase Chartier 

      9 months ago from Northern California

      Charlie,

      The novel is an allegorical dream, not to mention the Celestial City in the book is on Earth. It's also happening before Revelation events. If you haven't yet, you should give the book a read:)

    • celafoe profile image

      charlie 

      9 months ago from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans

      celestial city?? Revelation is clear, the sons of God will inhabit the new earth along with God and Christ. The church lie that they go to heaven is totally contrary to scripture, no one lives in heaven (supposed celestial place) God come down from heaven and moves with His throne to the new earth to live among His sons.

      Rev 21:1-8

      21 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."

      5 Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful."

      6 And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

      Rev 21:22-22:5

      22 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. 24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. 25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). 26 And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. 27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.

      22 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. 4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. 5 There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.

      NKJV

    • revmjm profile image

      Margaret Minnicks 

      9 months ago from Richmond, VA

      The entire Psalm 103 keeps me grounded and helps me to "forget not all his benefits."

    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 

      9 months ago

      "do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit," (Ephesians 5:18) has been a useful "foothold" : )

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