Well, we have just launched into another season of fishing on a grand scale. People, cars, trucks, and boats arriving from all over, packed to the gills with equipment. In fairly short order they have unloaded, claimed their ground, set up camp, and scheduled their efforts. At this point, the all-too-familiar question will resonate from the chummy populace, “What are they biting on?” Everybody wants to make sure they have the highest opportune chance of landing the big one.
What can they use to lure those nearly complacent fish out from the security of those grasses and outcroppings of rocks? What can they employ to cause the fish to think, even for a minute that danger doesn’t lurk right above the water line? What can they use to entice the fish to chomp down on that hook and deliver himself up to be a tasty catch?
When you think about it, fisher-people are in the business of temptation, utilizing something as bait in order to draw the fish to capture. The bait is something which seduces; it is something which promises to satisfy the fish. It may be a worm, or a bright piece of rubber, or even some nasty smelling fluorescent goo, but the goal is to have the fish securely hooked on the end of the line. In the end, the bait, at least to the fish was a rude lie.
I imagine that Satan looks at us in “fish-like” fashion …“What are they biting on today?” Probably, some combination of what we have been “biting on” for the last several thousand years: lust of the flesh, lust o the eyes, and the pride of life. We chomp on those things that make us feel good: physically, emotionally, or egotistically (1 John 2:15-17). He serves up the same fare in order to lure us, but we have a say in the matter, don’t we?
James 1:14-15 describes the process into this descent:
“But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”
James communicates that we are carried away…drawn, and lured by our own lust. That word enticed is a fishing word which James uses. The idea is that we allow ourselves to “consider” the benefits of such an exchange. In doing so, we downplay the benefits of doing it the Lord’s way. The reason we fail is that we want to. We convince ourselves that the temporary benefit of doing it our way will be a better payoff.
Obviously, we are setting ourselves up for failure, sin, and a compromised fellowship with God.
Now, we would like to blame everything on Satan but, in reality, he is just serving up what we may bite on–he is tugging at the evil desires of our heart. However, in reality, we don’t need his help, we can be misled just by the temptations in the world, or in our own hearts. In reality, we can be tempted even when we are alone. And, we can be tempted when we already have everything we want or need.
But, God does not fail us.
1 Corinthians 10:13 gives us hope. “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” We do not experience any temptation which mankind has not known. God will help us to endure, and he will provide the way out.
God provides a way of escape, and that is victory in His word, and by His Spirit.
What are they biting on today? Don’t give Satan a chance.
Leave him alone to lie about “the big one that got away”!