There we were, roasting in the Caribbean sun, covered in sunscreen and looking for adventure.
A few years ago, my wife and I went on a family cruise. It was an extremely fun time. We ate food, walked on beaches, ate food, went to shows, ate food, visited a volcano, ate food, went parasailing, ate food, snorkeled, and oh…ate food.
As we were making our way into one of the island’s ports I remember we were immediately hit with a barrage of people looking to sell us something…anything really. There was no point in trying to hide the fact that we were tourists, so we decided to just smile, nod, and try to make our way through the crowd.
Now, I honestly can say that I have no clue how it actually happened, but before I knew what was going on there was a monkey on my back….literally.
My wife was laughing as a monkey suddenly appeared on her as well. Our smiles grew as the monkeys increased. There was a local man smiling and laughing with us as he egged our furry little friends on. Then he asked me if I wanted him to take our picture.
I should have known better.
After he snapped a couple of photos of us his smiled faded, the primates jumped from our shoulders to his, and he held his hand out.
He got me.
Now, I want to be clear, I don’t begrudge this man for trying to make a living. My wife and I certainly aren’t missing the few “American dollars” our monkey pictures cost us. But I think what irritates me (only a little bit honestly) these years later is that fact that I had been “gotten.”
I should have seen it coming. I should have been ready. I should have just kept walking.
It could have been the scorching sun, the fresh air, my wits dimmed from the all-you-can-eat buffet, or just simply the excitement of the day. Whatever the reason, the reality was that I had been suckered into paying for something I didn’t need.
My defenses were down and it happened so fast.
We need to be careful how we live our lives, because the monkeys on our back can be crazy dangerous.
It’s frustrating, but this is usually how sin works in our lives. It jumps on to us (or we willingly put it on) and before we realize what is going on, payment is due. There is a quote from Ravi Zaccharias (although it has been attributed to several people) that goes like this,
“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”
That quote is, unfortunately, so terrifyingly true. We can get caught up in something, and before we even realize it, we are neck deep in the consequences of our actions.
James 1:14 reminds us that, “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” Those words “lured” and “enticed” could even be translated as “dragged away by.” That’s an unpleasant thought.
So what do we do when we are faced with temptation?
We keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
We remember the truth of who we are in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
We put on the protective armor that He has supplied us. (Ephesians 6:13)
Run away from those monkeys. They may be fun, cute, and cuddly at first…but they will always end up costing you.
“Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” Romans 12:9