Even though our church was experiencing many of the elements of historical revival during my teen years, my father would make time every week for the two of us to play golf.
Golf can be a little different when played in Africa.
About 15 miles south of Durban was a country club in a little town called Umbogintwini. The club gave special rates to pastors, so that’s where we would go for our weekly father/son golf game.
There was one special challenge playing at Umbogintwini, though.
Somewhere around the fifth or sixth hole, when you were the farthest from the clubhouse, it was not uncommon to hit your drive out onto the fairway only to have a monkey run out of the trees, pick up your ball and disappear back into the bushes!
Whenever the problem got too bad, the grounds keeper would set traps for the monkeys.
They would take sturdy, hollowed-out gourds and chain them to the trees, just off the fairway. They would cut a hole at the narrow part of the gourd, just big enough for a monkey to get his hand through.
Then they filled the bottom of the gourd with tantalizing peanuts.
The monkey would put his hand in the gourd, get a fistful of peanuts, and not be able to retrieve his hand, filled with peanuts, out through the narrow opening. And the monkey was unwilling to open his hand, turning loose of the peanuts.
There would be a lot of squawking and snarling as the grounds keeper approached the monkey with a burlap sack, but the monkey would rather go into captivity than open his hand and turn loose of the peanuts.
What an illustration of the attraction, deception and power of residual sin in the life of the believer… when we choose ultimate hold of it, refusing to open our hands and turn it loose.
It will ultimately lead only to captivity and will never provide the enjoyment it promised. And all because we won’t let go, even if it means the enemy takes us into captivity.
The secret to living in freedom from the grip of sin is not a campaign against the peanuts or the gourd.
The secret is in a love relationship with Jesus that reveals the peanuts and gourds for what they are… a trap.
The freedom for every believer, is when we allow the love of God to change our desires in His Presence… by practicing His Presence.
When our affections have been taken captive by the love of God, we willingly open our hands, letting sin go, and escaping the captivity intended by the evil one.