Fishing is quite the hobby. Someone who’s into it will sit for hours upon hours, day after day throwing their baited hook into the water to catch a fish. And the really avid fisherman will likely have a whole tackle box full of various baits – all different sizes, shapes and colors.
They have a very specific way of doing things, too. They will decide which type of fish they feel like fishing for. They will decide where they want to fish – lake, river, stream, etc. Then they will go through the detailed process of preparing their fishing rod. They have to have the right strength fishing line to make sure it’s strong enough to hold the fish. They need to have the right size hook to ensure when the fish grabs on it won’t be getting away. And finally, they have to be sure to have the right bait. That’s what will draw the fish in and get it to bite.
I got to thinking that sometimes we’re like fish swimming around in this big world, and the devil is like a fisherman trying to get as many of us as he can into his boat. Each of us will be drawn to a different sort of lure, but he’s got a massive tackle box – with every lure he needs at his disposal. And if the first one he tries doesn’t work – he’ll reel in his line and try another one.
Jesus warned that there will “always be temptation to sin.” (Luke 17:1) He spent 40 days in the desert being tempted by Satan. But he refused to bite! Surrounded by the angels and armed with the Word of God – he refused to take the baits that the devil threw his way.
Overcoming temptation is not easy. Jesus was well aware of the struggles we would face, and he implored his disciples to “keep watch and pray” so that they would not succumb to temptation. (Matthew 26:41) The devil is not going to give up. He will continue to bait his hook, cast his line and reel it back in until we finally bite – and then he will pull with all of his might to set the hook!
We must stay alert (1 Peter 5:8). We must avoid the murky waters where Satan is dropping the bait specific to us. And we must recognize temptations that come our way for exactly what they are – bait. Then we need to remember who’s at the other end of that the line and swim away quickly.