What if you lived like a mink? In the swamps of Louisiana, there are minks galore. So, there are traps galore set by trappers looking to make a living off the furry little swamp weasels. What if you and I had to live constantly in fear of being trapped by some scoundrel who wanted to use us to further his own ambitions? Actually, we do.
Oh, yes, you and I are in constant danger. Like the mink, the worse thing we could do is fail to recognize the danger. Then, we step directly into the trap. Good trappers know this; so they bury the trap in the water or in a shallow hole. But they always put the trap directly in the path of the mink, and, in fact, they put up sticks and stones in order to narrow the path, ensuring the mink steps into the trap.
It is the same way for us. We are trapped by sinners who place traps along the path we already travel. The path we travel is narrowed so that we—as we always do—take the easiest route. The easiest route leads directly into the sinner’s trap, and we are hooked before we even know it. We need not be fooled, the trap is set.
Oddly enough, we are often afraid of being trapped by preachers and preaching. We are suspicious of those who peddle truth. In one sense, that suspicion is more than well-earned. With the Tiltons and Swaggarts and Haggards and Bakkers out there—not to mention the David Koresh types—we have reason to be on our guards, making sure we aren’t trapped by dubious snake-oil, salvation salesmen.
What I am suggesting, however, is that we actually become dubious of things around us—the things that make us most comfortable. Why? Well, because we understand what the trappers are up to—make the path comfortable and easy so the mink steps directly into it in the course of his daily rounds. Here is why Scripture is constantly reminding us to be sober-minded and be on the alert because of the adversary prowling around checking his traps. Is it not easy to be seduced by sin? Is it not comfortable to forget about God? Is it not comfortable to follow one simple, easily accessible link to internet pornography? Is it not comfortable to blend right in to the conversation in which gossip is slicing up an absent friend? Oh, how easy indeed!
Getting into traps is easy. Getting out is impossible. There are 2 choices, and they could not be further apart. On the one hand, you can surrender all to the trapper. Give him your fur. Enrich his appetite for skins and be done. On the other hand, you can cry out for freedom from the one who created you. He can also redeem you. He has purchased your freedom through shedding his blood on the cross. He has demonstrated his power through being raised from the dead.
But, you need to know, he sets you free to become his slave. There is no way to live in this world except to live as a slave. You may not like hearing this, but it is true. You can be enslaved to the trapper. He will promise to make your path easy (to keep you in his trap). He will promise to make much of you (to fatten you up and skin you for your fur). But he will not ever let you go. You become to him what Don Henley became to the mad-man at the Hotel California—a resident who could check out any time he liked, but could never leave.
Your other option is to become a slave to Christ. Romans 6:16 puts it this way: Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?
You do live in a world in which you are someone’s slave. You could become a slave to your wife, your kids, your boss. Or, you might become a slave to your particular sin. How many people do you know grow up wanting to lose their wives and their jobs to alcohol, gambling, or drugs? None. It isn’t an ambition to which people aspire. And, yet, it happens every day. I have known attorneys, doctors, and judges who have sold their souls (and their families) for drugs, gambling, and adultery. They started out “enjoying” their sin, believing they were masters not only of the sinful things but also of their own world. They were no masters; they were slaves, trapped by the path of ease.
Better that we should choose our master and choose the one who is infinitely wise and good. Let us choose to obey Christ as master and make ourselves his slaves. In this way we can listen and obey every command knowing that it will protect us from death; it will preserve us for eternal life; it will keep us walking in love; it will free us to love others without fear; and it will bring us an abundance of peace and joy.
Who is your master today?
What do you think?