When I meet with “driven” men, or those in a tough spot in their marriage or whose spiritual life feels flat and lifeless to them, I’ll often ask them if they have a “nut” they just won’t or can’t let go of.
I’m told there are tribes who have a unique method of capturing monkeys. It seems they drill a 1 ½” hole in a coconut, drain the milk and dry the meat. A large nut is then dropped through the hole and a short rope or chain is attached, one end to the coconut and the other to a tree.
Soon a monkey will come along, pick up the coconut, shake it and hearing the nut rattling around inside, will reach through the hole for the nut. However, now the monkey’s fist holding the nut is larger than the hole and he can’t remove it.
All he’d have to do to be free is let go of the nut. But, soon the trapper comes along holding a club. The frightened monkey starts running around the palm tree and with each turn shortens the rope until there’s no slack left and he’s clubbed to death.
How stupid we think! But, many of us are gripping a “nut” of our own, and if we don’t let it go, will kill us.
So, what’s your nut?
Your nut may be an addiction, a relationship you know is wrong, or a wound from the past you simply can’t forgive or forget. Your nut could be an addiction to success, your job, your Facebook page, or a hobby that’s killing other important relationships in your life, including your relationship with God.
I know a woman so wounded by her former husband that it has kept her from ever truly trusting a man again. And that nut has even contaminated her own children’s view of men – killing future relationships before they’ve even developed.
I meet with men all the time whose nut is pornography. For others it’s sports, Fantasy Football, or working hard, not just to provide for their family, but so they can buy the next thing they think will make them happy. Many men spend more time every day working out or running than alone with God in Bible study and prayer. Their nut is what makes them feel good or look good. Sound familiar?
Our married daughters have been shocked by the Christian women they talk to who appear to be obsessed with reading the next Fifty Shades of Grey sequel or copycat. They know it’s morally toxic, but still they read on. Or they spend hours shopping or online, checking their Facebook every ½ hour, faces buried in their phone instead of talking to their children. And, all the while they’re truly puzzled why their spiritual and marital life is flat or dying.
For me occasionally, my nut is ministry. There are times, I’m more in love with ministry than I am with God and I have to confess that and let go.
So, what’s your nut – your “secret sin”? What is it you simply can’t or don’t want to let go of that’s slowly killing you physically, emotionally and especially spiritually? What obsession has your spouse, or perhaps even your own children been talking to you about?
“For a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.” II Peter 2:19b
Letting go of the nut
• Naming your nut is the first step. Do you know that you have a problem? For the truly courageous, ask your spouse or a close friend this question. Is there anything in my life that you feel is so controlling me, that it’s hurting me, or causing confusion about what or who I truly love? Give them a few days to answer you either in person or by email – whatever way they feel most comfortable. Getting people to speak truth to you is a tricky business, but assure them that this is important to you and you need their thoughtful and honest answers.
• Confess any sin or obsessive behavior to God. Tell him you know you have a problem – a sin and ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom what to do about it. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” I John 1:8-10
• Get help. If it’s a deep rooted sin issue, you may need good Christian counseling. Ask your pastor for the names of good, Christ-centered counselors.
If it’s a balance issue you may need a mentor or an accountability partner. On this website you can download information on both. Mentors or faithful accountability partners can not only help you get back on track, but keep you on track.
Unless you’re a better Christian than me, this isn’t a onetime thing. As I said, every year or two, I discover a nut I find tough to let go of. But if I don’t, I risk the slow death of my integrity, a moral conviction or my great relationship with my wife or children.
Question: So, what’s your nut and what have you done about it?
Following Jesus in Real Life