freedom, Temptation

How to Catch a Monkey

Yesterday I talked about how baby Elephants are held captive by chaining them to trees when they are young, as they grow older they could easily pull the tree over, but because they have grown used to the fact that they are tethered and can’t escape, they don’t pull the tree down and become free, because the memory traps them and holds them captive.

Today, on a similar theme want to think a little about how to catch a monkey.

Poachers used to set traps for monkeys, which was a box that was fixed to the floor with a small hole for the moneys hand to slide through with their palm open. Inside the box was placed some enticing sparkly paper. Monkeys are like Magpies in that they are attracted to things that sparkle. The monkey would slide their hand into the box, grab the shiny paper and hold it in their fist. Yet with  their clenched hand gripped around their ‘spoils’ they can’t get their hand out.

Whilst the monkey holds onto the shiny paper they are stuck, a prisoner, a captive.

To be free they simply need to let go and remove their hand.

The shiny paper actually is worthless to the monkey and yet this bit of rubbish can cost a monkey its freedom.

What of us?

Have we grabbed hold of something that is actually imprisoning us?

Is what is in our hand more important than the freedom that Christ has won for us?

The picture of letting go, of surrendering the desire for the sparkly but worthless prize, yet in doing so gaining liberty and life is one I find profoundly challenging.

The story reminds me a little of the Rich Young Ruler, who was offered a place as a disciple of Jesus, and yet he was still holding on to his wealth and possessions, he walked away from Jesus because he was fooled, hoodwinked, by the allure of his great wealth.

Yet for us, this enticing bit of paper could actually be anything, all of us have things we found hard to lay down before Christ when we began to follow him, and sadly this type of junk is very easy to pick up again. Paul talks in Galatians calling them “bewitched” and saying “they are returning from liberty to slavery” -The opposite journey from the people of Israel, Paul is saying that this is not your story, this is folly, danger and tragedy.

So, what the boxes that imprison us?

What are the things that entice us and trap us?

Is there something God might be calling you to let go off today?

Is there something you need to surrender to him?

I read a great quote on facebook, which talked about how as Christians we are unable to receive todays blessings, because our hands are full of yesterdays junk.

A quote I spoke of yesterday was “if the son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed”.

freedom, Salvation, vision

Let the Elephant tear down the Tree.

I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom recently, I think probably following on from our fab time at New Wine especially with the amazing teaching we had from Danielle Strickland on the book of Exodus.

The first picture that I have been thinking about for a while is circus folk ‘break’ a baby elephant by chaining it too a tree. The elephant is only a baby, so it can’t pull the tree down, the elephant remembers the powerlessness of being chained to a tree it can’t pull down, and as they grow they stay tethered to the tree by a chain, even though by the time the elephant is full grown they could easily uproot the tree and be free.

The animals captivity is not actually physical but psychological, the thing that hold him back isn’t really an inescapable obstacle but rather their own mind and memories.

What of us?

Are the things we think are holding us back actually holding us back, or is it mind-set, past experience and perception?

Perhaps, like the elephant, you have tried to be free before and now have just given up trying?

Jesus talks about setting people free.

The Gospel is a message of liberation, setting people free.

Paul talks in Romans about “being transformed by the renewing of your mind” -in Salvation our view of the world changes, we see things differently, we ourselves differently, we our situations differently.

Danielle Strickland talked about re-visiting the prison and our places of captivity but this time, re-visiting them with God.

It enabling the elephant to see that that which bound him before, no longer has the power to control him.

His fears we based on lies and illusions.

His memories of the past were inhibiting the freedom he was experiencing in the present.

Are there things from our past, that makes us feel like we are a baby elephant tethered to a tree unable to pull free?

Revisit them, and realise that maybe the tree that tethered us, isn’t insurmountable but with Christ can be overcome.

“If the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed!”

For freedom to take root and flourish in our lives, we need to let it liberate our hearts, transform our minds and restore our eyes in how we look at the world.

How you were, how you have been, in Christ is not how you have to stay, nor is it how you will be forever.

That’s a message a world desperately needs to hear.