Rhetoric & Homiletics: Finding Great Analogies!

See the source image  Analogy Is Common In Songs!

In looking for places where you can begin developing an “analogical illustration,” think about the lyrics found in the spiritual songs and hymns of the faith.

I was listening to a favorite song of mine.  I have heard the lyrics many times before but never thought about the powerful analogy it contained.

In the song, Gentle Saviour,1 the lyrics say . . . .

Why can’t I walk away from my regrets
And why is forgiveness so hard to accept
My past surrounds me like a house I can’t afford
But You say, “Come with me, don’t live there anymore”

“Like a house I can’t afford” — WOWwwwww

It reminded me of the fact that hymns and songs will contain many analogies because that is the nature of poetry!

Religious and secular songs use analogies because they are inherent to the art of poetry and prose.

Let’s take that analogical “seed” — “Like a house I can’t afford” — and developed into a powerful sermon illustration — an analogical illustration.

Let’s “run it out.”

#1) Start With Related Words: 



#2) Layout Part (A): Begin with the known side of the analogy.

Have you heard the phrase, “The joys of homeownership.”?  There are benefits which come with owning a home, but there are also a good number of demands which new homeowners don’t always realize.

It is possible that a person goes into the purchase of a home without understanding that it can soon become financially overwhelming. Owning a home is more than just the actual cost of the house.  It includes . . . .

interest payments on the loan — on that principle
real estate taxes
ground maintenance
general repairs
general upkeep
monthly utility bills
periodic painting, roofing
plumbing, electrical, HVAC issues
insurance against a disaster
the worry that goes along with the possibility of a disaster
[things which will wear and break] — (see below)

AND . . . .  the size of the home can increase all those costs.

That is not said to discourage you from owning a home, but to caution and remind us that it is possible to move into a home you can’t afford!

When you get into a home you can’t afford, you will find yourself overwhelmed — not only financially, but emotionally and psychologically.


#3) Pull It Down Into Part (B): 

“Likewise”:  You do not need to use the word “likewise,” but that is a way to think about or approach it.

That happens to people when it comes to regret and guilt . . . .They have bought and moved into a house which they will not be able to afford.  That move will overwhelm them.


When people move into and live in the house of guilt and regret, they are living in a house they can’t afford.  It will overwhelm them emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.


#3) Pull Down Key Words:  Go back and look at some of the words used in (A), and even add to section (A) if there are some good analogical options.

You won’t be able to keep up with the repairs you think you need to make as you try to correct the past.

Guilt will keep you trying to restore and remodel this-or-that relationship

Regrets will keep adding up — far beyond the weight of the original cost of the house.

That house is far too big.  It will have far too many rooms — regret, guilt, remorse, anguish, heartbreak, self-incrimination.

Apologies will seemingly never be enough to restore what was damaged.

Trying to insure against any more damage will add to the weight.

You will never be able to pay off the feelings of regret so that they go away.

There will always be an added thought over a past event which adds to the maintenance and repair lists.


The house of guilt, debt, and regret is a house you can’t afford to live in.  It will overwhelm you.  You have to move out!   You have to move out of that house, and there is a place you can go — a place of rest — a far better home — “Come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest for your soul!” into the Lord’s

A home at no cost to you — oh it cost a lot to build — but the principle has been fully paid.  A place of forgiveness, grace, and rest.

Let Him take care of any needed repairs of damaged relationships or disastrous decisions.

[Let’s add the word “break” to the above list and use it also]

Let Him take care of those broken areas of life which only stalk your mind when life slows down, or late at night in bed.  He knows how to mend the broken, and restore the worn out.

You can’t afford to live in the house of regret, second-guessing, remorse, guilt, shame, only-if, I should have.  That house will do you in.  It is time to move out of that house — into His house — which has written on it — “rest for the soul.”

You DON’T NEED TO live there anymore!



1. “Gentle Savior,” by David Phelps:

Gentle Savior, lead me on
Let Your Spirit light the way
Gentle Savior, lead me on
Hold me close and keep me safe
Lead me on, gentle Savior

Why can’t I walk away from my regrets
And why is forgiveness so hard to accept
My past surrounds me like a house I can’t afford
But You say, “Come with me, don’t live there anymore”


And when I reach the valley, every soul must journey through
I’ll remember then how well You know the way
I’ll put my hand in Your hand like a trusting child would do
And say

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