Have I ever mentioned my good friend Russ? Well one summer Russ and I were at a lake camping. His parents left us the camper and the fishing boat. We awoke at five o’clock in the morning to go fishing. It was a very cool, late August morning in Buckeye country. A thick fog rested upon the water. We quietly slipped out into the lake and then started the motor. We were off to the best fishing spots to catch a bunch before the other older fishermen ever awoke. Boy, did we ever catch some fish! Dozens of Blue Gills were hauled into our boat until we had exhausted our bait. However, they were so small we had to let them all go. Some of the baby Blue Gills were so young they were still wearing diapers when we caught them.
Disappointed, we headed back to shore. This time we were going to dig up some more bait and just walk along the shore and fish. This, too, proved to be hopeless. Now we were headed back to camp after six hours of fishing with no bait and nothing to show for all of our efforts. Suddenly, we saw the biggest, fattest bull frog in your lives. He was so huge that he was probably the reason we caught nothing. He must of scared all the fish away.
“We have to catch him,” I told Russ. “But with what?” he asked, “We’re all out of bait.” So, I found a small, red berry. Russ, put it on his hook and dangled it up and down in front of the frog trying to imitate a fly. At first the frog did nothing but blink a couple of times. Then in a flash he took the bait. The red berry, hook and all were in his mouth. He tried to leap away, but Russ reeled him in.
Every eye was on us as we proudly marched back to camp with Goliath the giant bull frog hanging from a fishing pole. One man asked us if we wanted to sell our catch. He would give us a dollar for it. He said he had been wanting some fresh frog legs for quite some time. So, for fifty cents a piece we parted with our catch of the day. Next time we saw the big, old bull frog he was a double amputee pushing himself around the shore in a wheelchair.
No, Russ and I were not great fishermen. However, Satan is really good at what he can use to catch men and women in sin. James tells us, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:14,15). The Devil knows just the right kind of bait to use on you. It may not be loose women like he used on Samson. Instead, it may be a bathing beauty like Bathsheba was to the eyes of King David. It may not be thirty pieces of silver the Tempter used to catch Judas. Instead, he may use the love of this present world that lured Demus away from the work of God. You may not be enticed to gossip with some juicy piece of information about an enemy, but you just might sin by failing to speak up when you ought too. Yes, Satan has had nearly ten thousand years to perfect his techniques. Paul warned us not to let Satan take “advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Cor. 2:11). So, whatever bait might appeal to you remember Satan has a hook in every enticing lure.
On the other hand, Christians should also be busy fishing. Jesus told His disciples, “Follow Me; and I will make you become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). Unlike Satan, we cannot use just any old bait we find to catch men. Only the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). Only with it can we rescue the souls of men out of the kingdom of darkness. The good news about our bait is that you never run out of the Good News.
– Daniel R. Vess