A blessing or a dangerous bait

Published 12:05 pm Friday, November 10, 2023

I love to fish in the streams and lakes and even sometimes the ponds in the Northeast Tennessee region. God has blessed us with beauty from Greene County to Johnson County and all places inbetween. Fishing allows us to draw closer to nature and reminds us of the God who created it all for our enjoyment and sustenance. For many, fishing is leisure time and while they enjoy it, they do not take it seriously. For many others it is a serious sport, a sport that allows many participants to make a great living. It has been said that one of the main rules for catching bass is letting the fish run with the bait. The idea is to lull the fish into a false sense of resistance; to do so you need to make sure that the fish feels no resistance so it will think it has the bait with “no strings” attached. In this way the fish has the confidence to swallow the entire bait, hook, and all. It is at this point the angler gives a strong tug on the line and with skill brings in the catch. When the hook sinks in and the fish is on the line, there is very little hope that the fish will get away. It is at this point you can start the grill and begin to think about that perfectly cooked filet.
There is a disturbing parallel between fishing and the way that Satan works in the lives of men. He slowly and surely attempts to draw us into a false sense of security. He first dangles the bait before us, his unsuspecting prey. Satan, like modern anglers, is very savvy, he presents just the right bait before our eyes, and he keeps it there until we give in to the temptation. He may even have to try different baits until we are presented with a temptation that appeals enough to cause us to give in. His bait can be the promise of self-notoriety, or easy money, or ungodly sexual activities with others. Regardless of what it is that Satan uses against us, it will always be a temptation designed to attack our own weaknesses.
Like the modern fisherman, Satan allows us to run with the bait thinking we can enjoy ourselves with “no strings” attached. However, Paul said in Romans 6:23, “the wages of sin is death.” It is the deception of Satan that deceives men into thinking that they can disobey God and not suffer the consequences of our actions. And at the most opportune time, when we least expect it, we feel the yanking of the line that brings us to the awful realization that we are “hooked” by Satan and the sins we involve ourselves in. Then we realize that we must face the reality of losing our freedom from sin and our souls. For some, they will never realize they are hooked until the very moment they leave this life and enter the eternal realm.
Luckily for fishermen of today, most fish never seem to learn between real food and bait. My prayer is that human beings are smarter than fish. Regardless of what a thing is, if it’s according to God’s Word, it’s a blessing, if it requires disobedience, it’s the bait of Satan designed to separate us from God and bring us into the captivity of sin. Knowing God and what he wants for us in our lives can make a real difference in our eternal destiny. Are you a Child of God? If not, Satan already has you hooked. Resist Satan and his imitation bait and look to God for real and lasting sustenance.
(Tony Hoss is minister of the Centerview Church of Christ, Elizabethton)

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