13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. (James 1:13-15 NIV)
I’ve never been much of a fisherman, but I know enough about fishing to get the lesson that James is offering me this morning. I’ve been fishing with folks who really knew what they were doing. I had the opportunity to go fishing for Striped Bass with a professional guide about a year ago and it was an incredible experience. I was in awe of how much he knew about Striped Bass. He knew more about those fish than I know about some of my family members. Because of his encyclopedic knowledge we filled our boat with fish in less than a day.
Our guide knew what kind of bait to put on our hooks to catch the attention of the Striped Bass. This is really the picture that James is painting for us in verses 13:15. The Greek words for the phrase “dragged away and enticed” come straight out of the fishing and hunting world. If you want to catch Catfish you will want to use bait that will attract Catfish. If you want to catch Striped Bass then you are going to want to use bait that will attract Striped Bass. Don’t count on Catfish Charlie drawing many Striped Bass to your hook. And so it is with you and me. I know what temptations get my heart racing and you do too. We are not all the same and neither are all temptations. Some have a far greater attraction to some than others yet we all know what “lures” will hook us if we aren’t careful and prayerful.
Oftentimes, when we fall into sin and are sitting in the ruins of the aftermath, we want to question God, or worse yet, blame God. James makes it quite clear that ruins and rubble have come about become we’ve allowed our ungodly desires to hook us, we’ve taken the bait, and now destruction has come. Giving in to temptation is the first step in the downward spiral of destruction. Once we take the bait, the downward spiral kicks in. It doesn’t matter how tasty or attractive the bait may look, it’s rotten and we must do everything in our power to stay away.
My prayer today, Lord, is that You will help me to be honest about those things that are sure to bring about my demise. Give me eyes to see and the courage to turn away before I’m drawn into the web of destruction.