One of my favorite illustrations is the classic finger trap, also known as the Chinese finger trap. Here’s how you can use this illustration to show students how submission, not resistance, is actually the path to freedom.
Begin by demonstrating or inviting your students to demonstrate the finger trap. To demonstrate this device, stick your two pointer fingers into the holes on each side of the trap. Then try to free your fingers from this trap. The natural inclination as you try to escape this trap is to pull your hands apart. But doing this only tightens the trap around your fingers more.
If this is your students’ first time seeing the traps, they may be very confused about how to get out of it. Some may even break the whole thing by pulling so hard. But there is a better way to break free from the finger trap. It is counterintuitive, which is its genius. To break free from the finger trap, push your fingers together instead of pulling them apart. By doing so, you create enough room for your fingers to escape the grip of the trap.
Our first reflex is to try to push out with our fingers to find freedom from the trap. But the counterintuitive truth is that freedom only comes by submitting to the trap and pushing in. This truth crosses over to our lives as well. We think we can find freedom by pushing out in rebellion, but the reality is that we actually find the most freedom by pushing in toward God in submission. As we do this, we will find freedom in living the way we ought to live.