Free Christian Illustrations
Free Christian illustrations on problems & solutions that can be used in sermons and religious education – without charge or obligation.
These illustrations may be downloaded, copied or distributed without permission as long as no cost is charged and source is recognized.

Wake-up Checklist

Christian PicsStep 1.       Check you are still alive?  If Yes – continue to step 2.
Step 2.       Is God still supplying your oxygen?  Take a deep breath.  If Yes – go on to step 3.            If No –you have only minutes to set your affairs in order – so get to it.
Step 3.       Look out the window.  Is God still in control of gravity and governing all the laws of science and nature?  If Yes – continue to step 4.  If No – pinch yourself as you may still be dreaming.  Wake up and start again from Step 1.
Step 4.       No matter what has gone wrong or how you have failed in the past, if you have completed Step 1, God can make all things right.  Proceed to Step 5.
Step 5.       God still has a plan and purpose for your life. Advance to Step 6.
Step 6.       Choose whose plan and purpose you wish to follow.  If you choose to follow your own plans, go to Step 7.  If you choose God’s plan, go straight to Step 8. 
Step 7.       Stay in bed.  What’s the point of getting up - you’ll only be a test for yourself and everyone around you.  Anything you gain today will eventually be lost.  If you ever wake up again, start from Step 1. 
Step 8.       Get out of bed.  If God is for you (and He is) who or what can stand against you.  Everything that happens in your day, good or bad, will be for your advancement and eternal profit.

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Seeking Shortcuts

Christian Problems IllustrationsA shortcut is a deviation from an established route that enables one to arrive more quickly at a desired destination.  The problem with shortcuts is they sometimes end in disaster.

Many seek a shortcut to PROSPERITY by lying, cheating and through criminal behaviour.  Many seek a shortcut to JOY by using drugs.  Many seek a shortcut to LOVE through unrestrained sexual activity.  We think these shortcuts will get us to our destination quicker, but such deviations always end in disaster.
God wants us all to be fulfilled and happy.  To reach our destinations we need to follow the established path He has made.  God’s way is long for a reason – our proven capacity must come before blessing.  We often think God is trying to stop us having a good time.  This is not true – He is actually trying to lead us so we can experience real JOY, LOVE and PROSPERITY.  God knows that our shortcuts end in disaster (He’s been watching the human race for a long time).  When we seek shortcuts, we only hurt ourselves in the long run.  If we trust in God and follow His established path and do our best not to deviate (sin), we will find true JOY, LOVE and PROSPERITY and ultimately arrive at our desired destination. (Proverbs 3:5,6)

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Entertaining

Christian Problems IllustrationsWhen good friends visit, we should welcome and entertain them and hope they’ll call again.  The same cannot be said about undesirable visitors.  If we warmly welcome them into our lives it can be very difficult to get them to leave. 

Entertaining visitors is similar to entertaining thoughts.  We have to be very discerning about what thoughts we choose to let in.  If we welcome undesirable thoughts into our mind they’ll soon become unwelcome guests.  Entertaining thoughts like worry, judging, jealousy, bitterness, lust, pride and so on, only encourages them to make themselves at home.  Once entrenched, it is immensely difficult to get them to leave.
God has given us a golden rule: Entertain noble, graceful and charitable thoughts, but should undesirable thoughts come knocking - best not to answer the door. (Philippians 4:8)

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Focusing on the Problem

Christian Problems IllustrationsOne day a storm raged through a small community, flooding the river and destroying their only bridge to the outside world.  Next morning the people gathered at the wrecked bridge and began to worry about their plight.  ‘The river is impassable; how will we get to the markets now?’ cried one.  ‘Without the bridge we’re completely cut off,’ said another.  ‘It’s impossible to fix this bridge!’ a third added bluntly.  ‘If we can’t get across the river, we will all perish,’ prophesized the fourth.
Then as the people started panicking they became aware of children playing on the other side of the river and it came as quite a shock to realize they were their own.  The parents shouted to their children, asking how they had crossed over when the only bridge had been destroyed.  The children pointed down river.  Because the parents had so focused on the problem of the broken bridge they failed to notice a great tree had fallen across the river during the storm, making a better overpass than they’d ever had before. 

A problem in our life only becomes ‘a problem’ when that’s all we can see.  Consequently, by focusing on the problem, we often don’t see the solution.  Far better to remain childlike exploring all possibilities and regard problems as new opportunities just waiting to be discovered.  When we spend time worrying about a crisis without searching for the solution, the crisis will eventually overwhelm us.  God does not close a door without opening a window.  (1 Corinthians 10:13).

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The Desperate Plant

DepressionIf a plant is under stress, it doesn’t take long for the signs to show.  First the leaves wither, followed by the branches and then finally, the roots themselves.  Even so, when death seems so near, there is still hope while there is life.  If the plant is given the right amount of water, fertilizer, light and time, small sprouts of life will appear and soon it will prosper again.

Plants are insightful illustrations of people.  When they are under stress, it doesn’t take long for them to show the signs.  Their interest in life – withers.  Caring for themselves and for those around them - dries up.  Eventually, their very roots (soul) become weak with depression.  Death may be just around the corner.  However, while there is life there is still hope.  If someone under such stress is given the right amount of light (intercessory prayer), fertilizer (a loving environment), water and time (encouragement and patients), small sprouts of hope will appear. As God never gives up on us, we should never give up on them. But we must resist the temptation of smothering (over-watering is the quickest way to drown a plant). 
The Bible tells us of God’s concern for those who are overburdened; He wants to take our load from us and be a refuge in times of trouble. Interesting, most of our Biblical heroes suffered depression from time to time.  How many times did God prop up those withered plants so they had a chance to become future great trees, bearing fruit for many hungry souls to feed upon?
If we are to rise from our depression like our Biblical heroes, we must do what they did and stop holding onto our burdens and give them over to God to deal with. (Psalms 9:9,10. 34:18. 43:5.  Matthew 11:28-30)

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Lost in Life

Christian Problems IllustrationsSo that they don’t become lost in the bush, people need a compass, a map and three fixed positions (such as a hill, a lake and a road).  If they take a bearing from their compass, seek three fixed positions then relate it all to a map they will soon find out exactly where they are.

If we are lost in life and don’t know who we are or where we are heading, we firstly need a compass (a positive desire to know the truth). Then, we must seek three fixed positions (the immutable God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit).  Finally, we need to relate it all to a map (the Bible).   If we follow this simple procedure whenever we feel disorientated in life we will never become lost again. (Luke 19: 10.  Psalms 119: 105).

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Cleaning Dog Poos

Christian Problems IllustrationsDog owners know the unpleasant reality of picking up after their dog.  It’s a continuous job.  If the poos are not picked up daily they soon mount up and mess the yard.  In our busy lives, we are often guilty of scooping up the big ones and leaving the little ones.  Usually, it’s those little ‘left-behind’ doggy-dos that are stepped on - at the worst possible moment.  

Everyone (except Christ) has a sin-nature.  Sins are the dog-dos the sin-nature produces and we just can’t leave them lying around.  We must deal with our sins daily or they will soon mount up and mess our lives.   Obvious sins need immediate attention or they will quickly become obstacles and obnoxious all round.  However, we must also deal with the little sins (sins of the mind) that don’t seem to harm anyone.  If we brush them aside, those seemingly harmless sins will haunt us later.  If they are not dealt with promptly when they first come to our attention, we are going to step on them at the worst possible moment. (1 John 1:9).

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The Unhelpful Helper

Christian Problems and solutionsA hungry boy sat on a river bank looking longingly across to the other side at a tree laden with fruit.  A canoeist paddling by asked the boy why he looked so sad.  The boy explained how hungry he was and how he had found this tree that would feed his entire family, but his father had forbidden him to cross the river.
The canoeist assured the boy his father was just being over-protective because he didn’t want his son to drown.   Wishing to be helpful, the canoeist then suggested the boy hop into his canoe so he could row him safely to the other side to pick the fruit and then row him back again.  He reassured the boy that his father would be so pleased when he saw the food to feed his hungry family.
The boy eagerly jumped aboard.  Soon he was safely on the other bank climbing the tree and picking fruit.  As the canoeist watched the grateful boy pick the fruit, a grin spread from ear to ear – he was happy to have done a good deed.  Moments later, however, his grin disappeared - when he saw a lion suddenly leap into the tree and devour the boy in a single gulp.

God allows and forbids certain things to happen in our lives that may seem unfair or unreasonable.    However, God has a reason for everything He does but sometimes it’s not made clear to us.
As Christians, our intercessory prayer and service are designed to help the spiritual advancement of others - never to hinder them.  We often rush in, with our good intentions, where angels fear to tread.  If we are ever in doubt whether or not our good deeds will have dire consequences, we should do what the well-meaning canoeist should have done - consult the Father first.  (Isaiah 55: 8,9).

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The Ripple Effect

Christian Problems and solutionsIf a rock is thrown into a still pond we see ‘the ripple effect’, where circles of small waves ripple out from the centre of impact.  The ripples continue to spread until they are stopped by an obstacle or until they encounter ripples moving in the opposite direction.

The world we live in is no still pond - everyone is making ripples.  When a person is angry, the anger spreads to people around - who in turn spread it to other people around them.  When faced with rudeness, people feel justified being rude in return.  When a person is inconsiderate, selfish or bitter it causes ‘the ripple effect’ that spreads until it hits a barrier.
God has called us Christians to be that barrier.  By our focus on Christ, we should start ripples of grace and tolerance to counteract those waves of depressions and hostility swamping the world.  Generally, people are caught off guard when their rudeness is returned with kindness.  Unlike a hostile retaliation, a graceful attitude makes people stop and evaluate their behaviour. 
We should always question the sort of ripples we are sending into the world.  The ripples Jesus Christ sent out in His life on earth were so gracious they continue to ripple throughout all time.
  

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The Heavy Rock

Christian Problems and solutionsA farmer took his son to the top paddock.  He bent down, picked up an enormous rock and carried it to the other side of the paddock.  He then turned to his impressed son and commanded: ‘Do as I have done, lift that rock with your bare hands and carry it to the other side.’  
The boy tried but it would not move - no matter how he strained, the rock wouldn’t budge.  Eventually he fell down ashamed, saying: ‘It’s too heavy. I’m not strong enough.’   
‘Don’t worry,’ said his father.  ‘Every week - try it again and you will find that strength will come.  Just don’t give up.’
For many years the boy went back to the heavy rock.  As he grew in strength, the rock started to move.  Soon, he could lift and carry it a short distance.  When the boy grew into a man, he finally achieved the task his father had set him those many years before.  On becoming a father, he took his son to the top paddock, showed him the heavy rock and gave him the same command. 

God gives us many commands.  Some commands we are not able to carry out effectively for many years until we have built the capacity.  God commands us to love Him - how can we love someone until we know them? To be thankful, merciful, long suffering, joyful - how do we fulfill these commands when we are spiritual babies?  We are also commanded to love one another as Christ loves us - a seemingly impossible rock to lift.  There are so many commands that seem impossible to accomplish.  However, when we grow in faith, always persevering - never giving up, we will find that God has given us the strength to fulfill all of His commands.  
But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40-31

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Plugged In

Christian PicturesWhen we turn on an electrical appliance and nothing happens we generally look for the problem.  Most of the time, it is because the appliance has not been switched on at the power point, or plugged in.  No matter how good the appliance, without power it becomes a useless piece of machinery.

If our spiritual life does not seem to be functioning, maybe we should check if we are plugged into the Divine power source.  A branch only produces fruit because it is connected to the tree.  If we abide in Christ we are plugged into God’s power source.  As a result we will naturally start exhibiting the traits of Christ.
Sadly, many try to produce the fruits of Christianity in their own power and then wonder why their burdens aren’t light, why they are constantly stressing and don’t have the joy promised in the Bible.  The truth is, if we are not abiding in Christ and plugged into the Divine power source, we are just like the unplugged appliance – taking up space and good for nothing. (John 15:4,5)

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Adversity

Christian PicturesRock climbing can be an immensely difficult undertaking.  It requires determination and a lot of patience.   It has a high casualty rate for those who are unprepared, ill equipped or go unaided.

During our lifetime, there will be stages when things go bad.  It may happen because of our own stupid mistakes or simply be the unfair result of life in the devil’s world.  Adversity can rise like an impassable wall and if we wish to move forward, we must climb.
Overcoming adversity is no easy task, particularly if we go it alone and start ascending without aid or support - one slip (into depression) can be fatal.  God never likes to see us fall - He wants us to rise above adversity.  For each of us He has given an unbreakable line of support (His promises), which we should attach to our harness (faith).  However, if we are without faith, God’s promises will be of little help. 
Climbing adversity can be a slow tedious journey.  We often tire and think we won’t make it.  For this reason we must continuously lock in our line of support (remember to claim God’s promises daily), then if we slip (get depressed) our fall will not be far.  Eventually, with much perseverance, we will rise above adversity and be a much stronger Christian for the climb. (Romans 8:28, Galatians 6:9)

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Prosperity

Christian PicturesDescending is so much easier than ascending - it takes little effort on our behalf (gravity does most of the work).  However, if our descent is not controlled, there will be devastating consequences when we hit rock-bottom.

In so many ways, prosperity can be more testing than adversity.  It is natural to think: Test me with prosperity any day.  However, truth is the highest suicide rates and suffering from chronic depression occur in prosperous nations.  Almost daily, we hear of celebrities who have completely lost the plot and wrecked their lives.  Statistics reveal an overwhelming majority of lotto winners wish they had never won.
Prosperity wrecks more lives than it improves. The problem is that when things are going well we tend to let down our guard.  Most of us leap into times of prosperity thinking - we can fly.  Instead, we plummet.
When arriving at prosperity, we should approach with caution – if we simply leap in, it will end in disaster.  As with adversity, God gives us a life-line (His promises) to attach to our harness (faith).  When we start descending into an ‘opening of prosperity’ and feel we are moving too fast or out of control, we must lock in God’s life-line (promises) which will immediately control the descent.
When we finally reach the end of prosperity, we will not be ruined like so many others.  The experience will have refined and improved us.  At this point, many may wonder how we managed to go through prosperity without being affected.  That’s our opportunity then to point to God’s life-line and tell them how to connect (the Gospel). 3 John 2

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Peace of Mind

Christian PicturesThere was a very old saying coined in a time when strong nations constantly invaded weaker nations: ‘If you want peace – you must always prepare for war’.  It was understood the only way a nation could be left in peace was to be so strong no one could take their peace from them. 

If we want to keep our ‘peace of mind’ in a world that strives to take it from us, we must be prepared to fight.  There is a spiritual war going on and God has given us the armaments to defend ourselves.  We must put on our spiritual armour (Eph 6: 13-18), we must exercise in God’s word daily and rely on His promises within.  In a nutshell, God is our armour, our strength and our sword.  When we start using Him to fight our battles, we are prepared and our ‘peace of mind’ cannot be taken from us - even when we find ourselves among enemies. (1 Sam 17:47)  

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The Roads We Travel

Christian ImageLife is a journey.  In regard to our physical, mental and financial wellbeing - where we find ourselves today generally depends on roads travelled yesterday and where we find ourselves tomorrow depends on roads taken today.  It is obvious, if we wish to reach a certain destination we must find the roads that lead there.  If we travel on paths leading in the opposite direction we will never reach our desired destination.

If we desire to become strong, inspirational Christians who lead many people to the Lord, we must travel on roads directed in God’s Word.  His way leads us to Salvation and the eventual arrival at Spiritual Maturity - a great place of integrity, poise and inner-happiness.
However, if we walk on contrary paths like: Laziness, Lust and Selfishness, don’t be surprised when our destination is Failure, Loneliness and Misery.  No one plans to end up at a dead end, but if we are heading in the wrong direction (by bad daily decisions) we should not be shocked at where we finally end up.

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Unforgiving Prisons

Christian ForgivenessA prison is defined as a place of captivity – a position of confinement or restraint, be it physical or mental.  The worst ‘prisons’ are the mental ones we create for ourselves.  They can be the hardest from which to escape. 

When we don’t forgive other people’s trespasses against us (either real or alleged), we incarcerate ourselves in hatred and thoughts of revenge.  We are locked away in bitterness as we refuse to forgive and move on, waiting until the wrong-doer either apologises or compensates.  But if the offender does neither and is let off scot-free, we are the ones imprisoned and we can remain in our self-imposed prison of resentment for the rest of our life.
When God asks us to forgive the debts of offenders, it is primarily for our own benefit.  God does not want to see us trapped in a prison of our own making.  The only way for us to escape is to forgive as God forgives us.  Only when we are ‘free’ from our self-imposed prisons of bitterness and hatred can we find ‘peace of mind’.  Then, once liberated, we are in a position to help set others ‘free’. (Matthew 5:24-26)

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Clearing the Land

SinWhen early settlers were allocated land, they had to clear it before it could be farmed.  Trees and scrub were removed so the land could become productive and yield successful crops. 

As unbelievers and immature Christians, we plant many wild seeds such as pride, jealousy, anger and guilt.  These (sins) take root and can grow into a forest (a way of life).  As Christians, we have a new (spiritual) life.  Before this life can yield a successful crop, we have to cut down the trees and scrub planted in the old life.  Some sins are small and easily uprooted, while others will have taken root deeply in our lives.  These sins will be obstacles as we start ploughing our fields with God’s plan. 
A deeply rooted (sinful) life can be immensely difficult to change, but we must start clearing or we won’t produce a harvest that glorifies God and lasts into eternity.  God has given us the tools (the Bible, the Holy Spirit and teachers of God’s Word) but it is up to us to start chopping and clearing.  This will take time, so we must be determined to roll up our sleeves and get to work. 

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An Explosive Reaction

Science experimentWe soon learn in chemistry there are elements that are harmless, but when mixed with other elements an explosive reaction can occur.

Everyone (except Christ) has a sin nature.  All have their own personal areas of weakness.  One person’s area of temptation may be licentiousness (immoral depravity), while another is self righteous legalism (moral depravity).  Being temped is not a sin – even our Lord Jesus Christ was tempted.  Succumbing to temptation is the sin.
For example, if we have a compulsive nature and are tempted towards drugs or immoral sex, we must endeavour to keep our sin nature away from places with drugs or pornography.  If we have a tendency to judge and malign, we should avoid gossipy groups.  If we have a short temper, we should separate from elements that set it off.  The mixing of our sin-nature with corresponding temptations is like a powder keg waiting for a spark which usually results in an explosive situation that can make a devastating mess of our lives.
THE SOLUTION: Add God’s truth to our thinking and the outcome will be positive, resulting in a relaxed mental attitude that will defuse potentially hazardous situations.  Gradually, we develop a non-judgemental, inner happiness and self worth which will produce harmonious living and reflect the Glory of God.  (James 1:12)

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The Glass of Milk

Glass of milkA man called his father desperately seeking advice on his troubled marriage.  He told his dad that his new wife and he were arguing non-stop. 
His father thought for a while and then stated he had the sure-fix cure.  ‘Son, next time a quarrel starts sip a glass of milk but don’t swallow it.  Hold it in your mouth until the situation calms down.  Repeat this whenever you are about to argue and you’ll soon see matters improve.’
A week later the son excitedly called his father, saying, ‘It actually worked – our relationship has never been better.  Tell me dad, what is the secret behind the glass of milk?’
His father replied, ‘No big secret.  The milk does nothing – it’s keeping your mouth shut that solves the problem.”

In heated situations, the appropriate thing to say is usually nothing – yet few of us have that control.  We feel we must constantly vindicate ourself, matching insult for insult and never letting anyone get the upper hand.  But where does that get us?  People will believe what they wish no matter how we plead.  Furthermore, even if we happen to win the insult match we certainly don’t win friends.
Our Lord Jesus Christ said very little when unfairly tried and condemned, (…as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so He opened not his mouth. Acts 8:32).  Christ gave them no reason to justify their wrong actions.  He knew the power of silence.
When we have absolute confidence that God will vindicate us (if necessary), there is no need to open our mouth in our defence.  We can relax and practice tolerance and virtue-love.  We soon learn that having a Christ-like attitude resolves the majority of life’s problems before they even begin. (Proverbs 17:28. Psalms 5:11).

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The Fickleness of People

Jesus Riding DonkeyProminent actors, sport personalities and musicians know all too well the fickleness of people.  One minute you are flavour of the month and can do no wrong, then suddenly the media turns and the crowd becomes hostile.

Today, there is a real push in Christian circles to encourage each other.  This is certainly not a bad thing; however, it often leads to a lot of insincere reinforcement.  Churches are filled with well-meaning Christians encouraging others simply for encouragement-sake, not on the basis of genuine support of what others are doing, teaching or trying to accomplish.
It is certainly nice to have people’s encouragement when doing Christian works, but if their praise is our motivating factor, when the crowd becomes indifferent or turns antagonistic, we will ‘drop our bundle’, get depressed and cease our good works. As the Bible plainly states, ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength.’
Our Lord Jesus Christ certainly understood you could count on people’s fickleness more than their encouragement.  One moment the crowd was cheering Him with palm leaves and shouting, ‘Hosanna’.  Within a very short time these same people were shouting for His execution.  We should be eternally thankful that our Lord kept His eyes firmly set on God and did not draw his strength from people.  We should unquestionably do likewise! (Jeremiah 17:5)

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The Frightened Child

Frightened ChildIt is complimentary to you as a parent when your frightened child runs into your bedroom in the middle of the night, climbs into bed and promptly falls asleep peacefully by your side.  While too scared to sleep alone, the child has complete confidence in being safe in your protection. 

Similarly, we compliment God when we flee to Him with our worldly woes and our fears promptly vanish because we are confident in His safe presence.  God is glorified when we are at peace - completely assured that nothing can harm us. The Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life: of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1
On the other hand, we can conclude God is ‘not’ glorified when we don’t trust Him and remain scared when He has assured us there is nothing to fear. (Isaiah 43:1, 2)
What things are presently worrying us: the uncertain future; hostile people; health issues?  In this world there is unquestionably a lot one can worry about.  God knows all our problems and is waiting for us to place them in His capable hands.  He has the ability to turn bad things into good.  Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10
We either choose to keep our fears or hand them to God.  Our peace of mind will be determined by which option we select. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

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