Years ago, kids could make extra money by trapping raccoons. They would build a trap by drilling a small hole into a log and dropping a piece of foil into the bottom of the hole. Around the hole, nails were driven in at angles so that the sharp ends pointed toward the center of the hole. A raccoon’s natural curiosity will cause him to investigate this, and upon finding the piece of foil he will slip his tiny hand between the nails to take his new-found treasure. The only problem is that once his hand is wrapped around the foil it no longer fits through the nails, and the raccoon becomes trapped. The only thing keeping the coon from freedom is that tiny piece of foil in his little fisted hand. All he needs to do is let it go, and he will be free. But he won’t do that. The hunter who sets his traps will come back and beat that little raccoon to death, while he holds fast to his piece of foil. He will die with it wrapped tightly in his hand.
What a powerful illustration of sin in my life. I have been that little raccoon, holding so fast to my sin that I won’t let it go, even while Jesus stands coaxing me away from the trap, urging me to open my hand. Jesus has given me everything He has, but I want my own little piece of worthlessness.
Each of us have things we hold tightly to. Things that God wants us to give over to Him so that we can experience true freedom in Christ. But we’re often unwilling to let go, no matter the cost. How little we understand what our “treasures” cost us. How little we understand what can be gained if we’ll only let go of those things which hinder us, tie us down, and eventually cause our spiritual (and even physical) death.
Therefore, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)