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What Kind of Fish are You?


Here in Minnesota, the fishing season is going strong. Whenever I drive by the lake I see people standing on the shore and out in boats fishing. I’m not really a fisherman myself, but I have been fishing. What I like the most about it is sitting in the boat, being quiet and enjoying nature, the scenery, getting some sun and reading a book. Sometimes, when I’ve lost the bait on my hook, I just throw my line out anyway and sit back and relax, enjoying what I really came for.

This got me thinking about the different methods of fishing and how they relate to the temptations each of us have in our lives. I remember watching my friends fishing off the dock a few years back. My girlfriend was getting a new worm and her hook was hanging over the edge into the water. A bluegill started trying to bite the hook; there wasn’t even any bait on it! I thought, what a stupid fish!

I’ve been walleye fishing at night. The person I was with gave me a quick lesson on the ways of the walleye. They’re a sneaky fish, and you have to be sneakier than they are. Using a metal leader will scare them away because they can see it, you don’t use a bobber and fish off the bottom. They come up to the bait, lure or whatever you’re using and gently suck it in, the person on the end of the pole can hardly feel the fish on the hook. The expert fisherman, when they feel that small tug they suspect is a walleye; they’ll let out some line and let the fish run with it. The fish is going in the opposite direction of the boat with the bait in its mouth. They are thinking (leave it to me to guess what a walleye is thinking!) that they’re getting away with this particular bait. They’re thinking this is a meal! When they have gone out far enough, the fisherman tugs at the line, “hooks” the fish and reels them in.

Then there’s the northern; they’re a frisky fish. I’ve always thought of them as being the carefree partier’s. They seem to just gulp and swallow the bait that goes by them, and right away, they’re fighting with it. They like action; fast moving bait is attractive to them. The fisherman has to hook them immediately, there’s no letting this fish run with the bait; you hook them, fight with them and reel them in. They’ll panic and dive deep, jump and flip trying to throw the hook and bait off, they will swim under the boat, wrap themselves around the anchor rope and anything else not to get caught.

Different fish, environments or seasons call for different bait or lures. Sometimes, the fisherman doesn’t know what will be attractive to the fish on any given day, and they try one after another until something works.

This is how temptation is. There’s different bait for different people, environments, and seasons in our lives. We may see someone falling for a temptation we would never think of falling for, and like with the bluegill, we think “what a stupid person to not see the hook in that temptation!” When we are small, young Christians, we fall for everything, we’re not smart, mature or strong enough yet to recognize and resist the old “bait” we loved.

Some of us are like northerns, we’re angry, or just looking for fun and go after the action, the fast moving stuff. Some of us are like walleyes. I think of the mature Christian as being a walleye, we think we’re being so careful, not seeing anything (such as a leader). We gently take a nibble, and then a bite, we run with it a while and we start to think that it’s a meal, not bait. We’ll get away with it, no one knows and we won’t get caught. Then, we get hooked!

After some time has gone by, there are some of us, maybe all of us that know what our particular “hooks” are. These are the weak areas in us we bite at and get in trouble with. These things we can‘t do, even though it may be all right for others. For example, some of us have certain addictions and we cannot even entertain the thought of tasting that certain something again. While other people do not have our same addictions and they can indulge, with no problem. We know what our “hooks” are, and yet, we still go for the bait. That bait still looks attractive to us, it smells good, sounds good, we know we will get hooked and we bite anyway. After we bite on these hooks often enough, there are times we can’t remove the hook; we get in denial about the hook. The size of our hook, how bad it’s stuck or the type of bait used doesn‘t matter, Jesus is the only one who can deliver us.

We may think these hooks, bait and temptations come from the enemy, but some of them come from us. James 1:14 says “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” This tells me it is our own desires of the flesh that get us. I’m not saying that Satan does not tempt us, he does, he tempted Jesus in the desert. What I’m saying is we are the culprits who make it hard for ourselves at times. This verse also points out it’s not just some of us, but Each One of us is tempted. We are not alone.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16

Jesus is always there for us and He understands. He’s there when we have hooks we can’t remove, when we’re in denial, and when we’re stuck in the cycle of sin. He’s there and He loves us. We can approach Him with confidence knowing we’ll find mercy and grace.


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