I'm currently reading the old classic, Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. I read it years ago, but as I'm re-reading it now, it is really making an impact on my life. It is an allegory of the Christian walk and one which all of us should pay close heed to.
Right away in Chapter 1 we find a man named Christian. He is clothed in rags, has a book in his hand and a huge burden on his back and he's weeping and trembling. It turns out that the more he reads from the book, the larger his burden becomes and the more he is convinced that the city he lives in (which so happens to be called, The City of Destruction) will be burned and everyone killed.
(This was everyone of us at one time when we first began to read the Bible and we first realized there was a God and that we were headed for destruction. If you haven't ever felt fear or your eternal damnation and complete shame at the sin in your life (the burden on his back), then I doubt you are headed down the right path. How about you, was there every a single moment or many moments when you truly realized how sinful you are? In my life, this tends to happen often. :-) )
He tries to tell his family about his fears but they think he's crazy and make fun of him . This goes on for days but Christian only gets more upset and convinced as he keeps reading the book.
(How many of us have family members who think we're crazy for following Jesus?? I know I do. What about friends? or X-friends? co-workers?)
Then Christian meets a man named Evangelist who talks with Christian at length about his condition. He isn't showy or pretentious or self-righteous. He genuinely cares for Christian and directs him which way to go to save himself from the coming destruction. Christian sets out on the journey, ignoring the taunts and cries of his family.
(This is the person or persons who at one point in your life witnessed to you in some way and were highly influential in causing you to turn your back on the world and head toward God. It may have been your parents or a friend or a pastor, or even a book you read. For me, it wasn't a person, but a book I read, a self-help book that I picked up because my life was so miserable at that moment I was grasping at anything to help me. The author encouraged me to read the Bible from cover to cover. So I did, and the rest is history. What about you? Who influenced you?)