Monday, October 10, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Hold On

Why We Need to Hold On To God
A devotional by Cyndi Staudt

“Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him.”–Deuteronomy 13:4 (NLT)

In various countries in South America, Africa, and Asia, natives have devised a very effective method of trapping monkeys. The plan is deceptively simple. A hole is drilled in a gourd or similar object that is just large enough for a monkey’s hand to pass through. Extra weight is added to the gourd with sand or pebbles, and then a nut or piece of fruit is put inside where a monkey will find it.

When the monkey comes along, he thrusts his paw inside to get the food. However, the opening was just wide enough for the monkey’s paw to fit in, but not quite wide enough for his food-filled fist to come out. With the object too heavy to be carried away the monkey now has a dilemma. Because the monkey will not let go of the food, he becomes trapped. He gives up his freedom for a small piece of food. Even as the trapper comes out of hiding to capture him, he refuses to let go of what will ultimately place him in bondage.

While I've read many variations to this story, its lesson is universal. Sometimes we grip too tightly to things that are not good for us. Perhaps you too can relate. It’s easy to see how foolish this is, yet I have been that monkey more often than I care to admit. But, with the wisdom of God’s Word as our guide, we believers should be able to avoid falling into such traps. We should be able to understand the danger of holding on to things that aren't beneficial for us or that can harm us. We should be able to recognize when we are creating traps for ourselves or being lured by the bait of our enemy.

Sadly, many traps we fall for in our lives are ones we create for ourselves. We hold on for dear life to things and people that aren’t right for us and rationalize away the red flags God throws up. We hold on to past mistakes when God has placed them as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). We cling to the need to be right when God says we should “seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14 ESV). We won't let go of anger or resentment, becoming bitter and cynical. We become attached to material things that are of no eternal value. We put the importance of our possessions ahead of our own well-being. And the list could go on.

Other traps are deliberate attacks from a deceiver who prowls around looking for someone to devour and we happen to be the target of the day. We forget that greater is He (God) who is in us than he (Satan) who is in the world (1 John 4:4) and we succumb to the trickery and tactics of the tempter. But this needn’t be the case.

Often what we are holding fast to keeps us stuck or holds us back by keeping our focus on the wrong things. The only thing we should be clinging to for dear life is our Savior and He can be trusted to care for us even better than we care for ourselves. When we fix our eyes on Jesus Christ we won’t be led astray by bogus blessings. Let’s commit to letting go of those shiny objects that look appealing “in the now” but may prevent us from reaching what God has next for us. 

If we can remember that according to Jeremiah 29:11, God has plans for us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future, then we can forego the tiny morsels of counterfeit blessing and wait for the abundant overflow of our Heavenly Father. 

Doesn’t that sound like something worth clinging to?

Let’s Pray:
Breath of Heaven, thank You for giving us clear guidance in Your Word and through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Help us recognize the traps we encounter, whether by ourselves or the enemy, and be quick to turn from them and to You. Prevent us from settling for chains disguised as blessing, clinging instead to You and the full favor that comes from being a chosen and cherished Child of God. May we always be willing to release our hold of anything that will lead us away from You. In the matchless name of Jesus we ask this. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “He Will Hold Me Fast” by Keith & Kristyn Getty. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Cyndi Staudt is a Jesus-loving, adrenaline junkie who is devoted to living her life for Jesus Christ until the day she is living with Him.

With a passion for cultivating a craving for God’s Word, her devotions and Bible studies are saturated with faith and hope to stir your soul to connect with God in deeper, more intimate ways.

Through her writing she hopes to ignite your desire to read God’s Word, invite your heart to experience God’s love, and inspire you to live your live life “souled out” to the One whose love has no limits.

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