This is the remedy and the cure for our temptation. Abhor what is evil. Run from it. Flee it. Do not indulge it. And then, with all your heart, cling to what is good. Both of these actions are necessary if we want to live in victory.
The Deception in Fishing
Growing up in the foothills of North Carolina, my grandpa and I used every excuse conceivable to steal away, out to the water, so that we could drop a line and go fishing. It didn’t matter if we were trolling quietly up the Yadkin river, sitting on the bank under the shade of a weeping willow tree, in flip-flops on the sandy shore of Holden Beach, or miles from land in my papa’s boat, rocking rhythmically to the waves and cooled by the misty wind. So long as we had a rod in our hand, a fish on the line, and the sun to our backs, we were in hog-heaven.
In case you have never been fishing before, one of the core principles of that enterprise is deception. A great fisherman will not only have the proper gear for his location, but he will invest the effort toward understanding the desires and inclinations of the fish he is after. Then he will liberally give them precisely what they want, yet with one metallic twist.
The idea behind fishing is to take something that is good – something that the fish cannot resist – and then hide a barbed dagger inside it to hook them as soon as they indulge. Their ignorant lust for the lure leads them to their tragic demise. In this sense, the bait is what drags from safety and security to the grill and the plate. The whole process is pretty gruesome when you set about describing it.
In the garden, Satan adopted a very similar posture towards man. He cleverly disguised that first golden hook of sin in the beautiful flesh of a forbidden fruit and tossed the perfect cast before her lustful eyes. He said:
For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
– Genesis 3:5
Her eyes dazzled with a peculiar glimmer never known before. Instantly, she wanted this thing more than anything else she owned. And then, after sharing it with her husband, that barbed hook of guilt, shame, and death dragged the unsuspecting couple into the boat of Satan and away from the tranquil pleasures of knowing God.
The same is true for us today; Satan lures us away from God by using our unholy affections against us. Like a good fisherman, he has studied us well and chooses the exact baits we cannot resist. And while the bait may differ from person to person, depending on their peculiarities and personality, the hook will always be the same.
Every temptation we sink our teeth into, regardless of what attracts us, will lead to the same destination. Once that Satanic hook is set in the lip, we find ourselves dragged violently away from God. For this reason, our greatest defense must not be spent trying to get off the hook once we clamp down but fighting our desires so that we do not fall for the bait in the first place.
To that end, let me give you three things to think about as you seek to avoid sin and gain victory over your temptations.