Ah, the monkey trap… What is it you may ask? Only a most ingenious way to catch those tasty, high flying monkeys, dreamed up by hungry, indigenous people on the jungle floor! The beauty of it is that the monkey trap uses the exasperating nature of the monkey against him. Imagine the poor natives taunted and at times pelted by these irascible creatures who stay safely out of reach in the branches above them and you will see how truly poetic is the justice at work.
The formula is simple: Take one large gourd, hollow it out, tie it by it’s vine to a sapling nearby, and cut a hole in the opposite end—just large enough for the open hand of a monkey to reach through. Why would the monkey reach through? In order to make a grab for the tasty treat you “foolishly” left inside!
Now you’ve caught the little thief! No, surely not—he’ll pull his hand out and scamper off long before anyone reaches him. Right there is the beauty of the trap. The monkey is truly caught because he will never let go of that treat! He will yank and yank to try to free his tight-fisted little hand, never realizing that by opening his hand and letting go of the temptation, he could easily make his escape. He thinks the trap has a death grip on him—and it does—but it is using his own thieving, greedy nature to do it!
Funny? I think it’s hilarious. Until I pause to consider all of the ways that I have been held captive myself by clinging to things I should have let go of long before they reached the danger level (anger, guilt, fear, etc., come quickly to mind). But I know I’m not the only one. Wake up you silly monkeys! Let go that two-fisted approach to life. Our loving God of All Grace wants to give us life, life in abundance. But in order to live in the flow of grace, we have to get really good at letting go…
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. James 1:13-14
James tells us that we are always and only caught “by our own desires” whenever we take the bait of temptation and then keep holding on to it long after the peace is gone. We are “drawn away” from the place of grace we had been enjoying and are now caught by something that seems to have a powerful grip on us.
It does! Yet, in reality the strength of that grip is coming from our inner agreement with the enemy about the wrong thing he baited the trap with. Sin is essentially an agreement with the enemy. Never forget that he is a liar. Whatever he is offering, it is not something we need. Freedom is so much better.
You have been set free! So learn the new way of staying free. It is called grace and grace is all about letting go.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1