The saying “monkey on your back” is used most often to refer to someone whose addiction to drugs or alcohol is so difficult for them to break that it’s like trying to get a monkey off their back when he doesn’t want to be forced off. However, in a broader sense it can be applied to any addiction that we’re having trouble kicking.
God’s children can get addicted to all sorts of things: food, sexual pleasures, football, fishing, arts & crafts, TV, or having the best looking lawn in town. Whatever your “monkey” may be, when it comes to the effect our sin has in separating us from God, a monkey on our back is serious business…as serious as a drug addiction. People sometimes look at a drug addiction as somehow worse than an addiction to these other things, but to do so is rooted in pride.
You say, “Oh, wait a minute! A drug addiction can take someone’s life, but an addiction to TV can’t.” Yet why do we look at our life in this world as the worst possible thing than can be lost? Such thinking stems from an attachment to this world which is not of the Father.
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” – Matthew 16:25-26
Brothers and sisters, until we start looking at the monkey on our own back as seriously as we do a drug addiction on someone else’s back, we will not take getting rid of it as seriously as we should. When we fail to see our own sin as seriously as we see someone else’s, we have set up a god in our life which we are placing before the true and living God.
Our god is whatever we love more than the true and living God—the God of heaven and earth. If we are unwilling to give up what we love in this world in order to serve God as he has told us, then we have set up an alternate god (or gods) to serve whether we are willing to admit it or not. We turn to these gods (sex, alcohol, TV, etc.) for relief from the problems of life, when in reality these things become a burden—a monkey on our back—pulling us downward.
My hope is that each of us can be honest within our own mind, and not only be honest but actually apply our changed way of thinking by making positive changes in our actions. In doing so, we kick that monkey off and feel freedom we hadn’t previously known.
“If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god; Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.” – Psalm 44:20-21