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Dear Church,

Those of us who have gone fishing know for certain that no fish will bite a bare hook.  However, if you put attractive bait on the hook, the fish will come, and a good fisherman knows what is ‘tempting’ for each kind of fish.  This is also true from a spiritual perspective; Satan knows exactly how to bait each one of us.  He knows our weak spots, our unmet emotional, physical, and psychological needs, our empty tanks, and deep desires. The hook is sin, and the bait is whatever lie Satan puts on that hook to draw us in.

“If you do this, it will be rewarding. If you do this, you will feel better. If you do this, you will not feel the pain of your sorrow. If you do this, you will be rich and successful.”  Remember what Satan told Eve in the Garden (Genesis 3:1-7). Now, Satan can only bring the hook to us, but we have a choice to nibble at it or not.  It is only when we nibble that we get hooked.  If we don’t nibble, we don’t get hooked.

So, the real problem is not external. It is not just because Satan is bringing these tempting baits into our lives that we get hooked.  The real problem is internal. Our internal desires fall for the bait, and we get hooked. James 1:14 says, “Each person is tempted when he/she is lured and enticed by his/her own desire.”

So, when you and I get tempted, don’t blame the bait or the lure.  Don’t say, “I can’t help it,” because the truth is, you can help it!  Start by changing the way you think (Romans 12:2).  Start by submitting to God in prayer (James 4:7).  Start by putting to death the deeds of your flesh by living by the Spirit (Romans 8:13). Start by taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ. Start by putting on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).

Don’t get in the habit of blaming Satan or your circumstances. This is where Satan wants you to be, and that itself is a bait.  Start living as a child of God.  As His child, you are equipped to resist sin and Satan.

Be Encouraged,
Mathews

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