Attractive Bait,

Painful Hook

Are you struggling with temptation today? Sometimes we don’t like to admit it even if we are. In that regard, consider the words of James 1:13-15: “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

Reflecting on this made me think about fishing. Almost every summer I try to organize a fishing trip with a few friends. We charter a boat and go out a few miles in the Atlantic Ocean and catch lots of fish.  Sure, it’s fun—for us—but not for the fish.

In the passage above from James look at the word “enticed” in verse 14. The literal meaning from the original Greek is, “taken with a bait, as fish are.” The fish don’t see the pain of the hook coming; they don’t know their life is on the line. They only see the bait, which is attractive in their eyes, desirable, something to go after.

Now look at the rest of today’s passage. When we are tempted to turn away from God and to pursue our own lusts, it is never God who is tempting us.  For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.  When we are tempted, the Bible says that we “are dragged away by our own evil desire and enticed.”  We’re just like the fish, looking at the bait, but not seeing the hook.

We can never blame God for our temptations, but we can thank him that he doesn’t allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to resist.  The Bible says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

We need to work hard to resist temptation. We need to seek fellowship with Jesus and learn to ignore the bait of temptation.

Having begun as a guest speaker in 2005, Dan was appointed Interim Pastor in 2008 and has been serving Maple Root Baptist ever since. As a small group leader and Chaplin for the Connecticut Tigers, Dan has a heart for the lost and the God that saves them.

Dan Kinnaman

Pastor, Maple Root Baptist Church