Thursday, January 25, 2007

Are You Being Stubborn???

If you feel trapped in any way, you might want to ask yourself if you are acting like a monkey with a box...

There is a unique way that the natives use to trap monkeys in the islands of the South Seas. They drill a small hole in a coconut, hollow it out and fill it with rice. Once a monkey puts its hand in the coconut to get the food, it cannot remove its clenched fist. Refusing to let go of their prize, the monkeys are unable to escape.

Monkeys also can be used to help people find water. They know where the water is in their environment, so Africans sometimes give monkeys salt. When the monkey gets thirsty from licking the block of salt, he heads for water and the native follows him to the water source.

There is another interesting way that monkeys are caught. First, the native makes sure a curious monkey is watching him. He then puts some nuts, berries, or other food into a hollowed out log or rock. After a while, curiosity gets the best of the little monkey and he just has to know what’s in the hole. The opening is just large enough for the monkey to put his hand in. When he grabs what is inside, his fist is too big to pull it out of the hole. He's just too stubborn to let go of his prize and pull his hand out. The native can simply walk over and tie the monkey to a tree.

Many things can be learned from these little truths. I cannot find the text from which I first read the story about the monkeys. I have it somewhere in the boxes of stuff I save from my time in prison. They are filled with things that I cannot and will not bring myself to throw away. They serve now as God's gift to me. I read many things as I sat in my cell, day after day, night after endless night, and the story about the monkeys always stuck with me. It applies in many respects to facets of my life.

Am I like the monkey? Is my problem that I will not let go of my sin? Is my hand caught in a box, a snare that was once set for me?

The principle behind the story of the monkeys can teach us many things. For example, as a Believer in the Messiah, Jesus Christ, I might ask, “If I believe that with true repentance I am forgiven, yet I still mourn my sin, am I trying to be saved by my own faith and by my own intelligence?”

Sometimes I wonder if this is what I am doing. Whatever my problem, I go through this type of self-examination all the time. And I know where the idea of not letting go comes from: Satan, or HaSatan, the Accuser of the brethren. He would love to bring me down. So he throws my sin in my face, violently, repeatedly. When he does, I must remind myself that I have already gone to my heavenly Father and really asked for forgiveness. I am forgiven, yes, I am forgiven. How wonderful is a repentant soul when the almighty gives him the free gift of forgiveness. But still, I have to ask myself, am I like a monkey who has stuck his fist in a box and will not let go of its precious addictions? Do I keep memories of them clenched in my little fist?

I was once guilty of so many sins, and I do have my convictions about my faith in God, and yet, HaSatan is always there, lying to me, doing his thing: accusing me. I am often tormented by my oppressor. He figuratively places a bag of heroin in a box, and I put my hand in the box, grab the proverbial bag, and hold on tight. Like the monkey, I cannot, will not, let go, even to get my own hand out. In my past, I was often fooled by the lure of the illicit drug that Satan kept putting in the box. It had the ability to take away all my pain, hurt, anguish. It had the ability to make me feel all “warm and fuzzy,” as though I did not have a care in the world.

Heroin is illegal for a reason. Because once you start it, even from the very beginning, it is becomes like Satan coursing through your veins, owning you, destroying you, killing you slowly, physically and in spirit. You stop caring about anything else, or about anybody, even yourself. You need more and more, just to get that cozy feeling again. Then, when you don't have it, you get so sick. You get sick beyond words and you'll do anything to get the supposed cure: Heroin. You take it, and your very soul begins to darken. It makes you sometimes wonder why anyone would do this to themselves, but then you want more, and you want it more than the little shred of sanity that is trying to reach you in the recesses of your mind.

I once did it all, and to this day I continue to taunt myself. I often forget the pain it caused me and in my mind, I find that I am often still mentally holding onto a bag, placed neatly in the box....

The truth is if you look inside that box, you see lies, hate, maggots, oppression, hurt, pain, and more maggots. I must learn to leave it all in the box. I must learn to recognize that HaSatan is a liar, sent to deceive and even kill me. I must focus on the light of Jesus Christ, Messiah Yeshua. I must seek to walk in His light.

How do I do that?

I now realize that my nightmare's ceased when I began to read the Word of God before going to bed. I fed my soul with the satisfying Word, and in turn it blessed me with calm assurance. I began to see that if I would feed my soul during the day, by reading the Word, especially the Psalms, the living words I read would sustain me. They would take on a redeeming quality in my life. I realized that if I took a certain part of my day, to pray and just talk with God, He would comfort me. I realized that if I was thankful in all things, He would allow me to keep those things and would provide me with even more.

Now, when my car starts, I thank Him. As I am using sharp equipment and I pray for Him to bless my hands, I am not cut. I am grateful for so much now. At one time, I lost everything. I had it all taken from me. In my mind, I sometimes grieved the loss of my worldly things. It was sometimes like another prize in the monkey box. I walked out of prison with a plastic spoon and a cup. And then I learned to appreciate every single thing I was given. I especially learned to appreciate things I had worked for. I learned to let go of the old stuff and to embrace the new. I became truly grateful for all things, including my freedom.

I have also since learned that freedom is only a state of mind. I learned to appreciate my time spent in prison. Sometimes, I feel like I would highly recommend prison for some people I meet. It's a shame more people can't go one the “sabbatical retreat” I went on. No, you do not lie around in prison and play cards or watch T.V. Oh no! You work, starting at 18 cents an hour. If you do not have people that will send you money, you learn to appreciate the little things you get. In prison you are provided boots with a 1/8 inch heel, so a pair of $30 shoes becomes a treasured blessing. I know. I saved for 3 months to get mine.

If you are not counting your blessings, you need to think about what it would be like to do without. You need to stop taking everything for granted. In the blink of an eye, my friend, it can all disappear... Poof! Don’t try to hold on to earthly possessions, instead, always be thankful and grateful in your heart for the things you do have. His eye is on the sparrow, and it is on you too. He will take care of you and provide for you.

So, what is in your box? Are you a monkey with your fist clenched around something?

If so, it’s time to let go and let God.

What are you grateful for?

By Babs Moore

Edited by Batya Wootten

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