Look for the Hook
Two fish were swimming along and an older fish swam by and said, “Morning, boys! How’s the water?” The two fish swam a bit more before one turned to the other and said, “What’s water?”
We can sometimes miss the most obvious things all around us. It’s why fish are always getting caught by fishermen; they only see the bait—they don’t look for the hook. We can be oblivious to the things around us, as well. Like fish, sometimes we see the bait and swim right for it without ever looking for the hook. But in order to look for the hook, we have to be able to identify the bait. The Bible does a great job of identifying all kinds of different bait—things we should watch out for and avoid.
“Don’t do as the wicked do, and don’t follow the path of evildoers. Don’t even think about it; don’t go that way. Turn away and keep moving.” (Proverbs 4:14-15)
“Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge.” (1 Timothy 6:20)
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)
We did an entire post on the list above called The “Get Rid Of” List—all things that can be put on a hook and used as bait to lure us into obeying our sinful nature. Sometimes we can be enticed into pointless discussions which quickly become arguments and then we find ourselves not getting rid of anger, bitterness, and harsh words, but using them. Don’t take the bait. Look for the hook.
Bait can even be dangled from the pulpit with leaders preaching their opinions or lies, instead of Biblical Truth.
“Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. See, I have warned you about this ahead of time. So if someone tells you, ‘Look, the Messiah is out in the desert,’ don’t bother to go and look. Or, ‘Look, he is hiding here,’ don’t believe it!” (Matthew 24:23-26)
“And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them.” (Romans 16:17)
“I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. Watch out!” (Acts 20:29-31a)
This is important because sometimes the bait isn’t something we should avoid at first glance. We know we should avoid sexually explicit material, but when we are talking about preaching, it’s not bad on the surface. Going to church is different than going to a strip club, but according to Scripture, even the words from the pulpit may be bait. So if we know the bait may be wrapped up in a sermon from the pulpit then we can look for the hook. The sermon may sound nice, you may love the preacher, his words may suit what your itching ears long to hear, but we should always judge what is taught from the pulpit against the truth of Scripture and rely on the Holy Spirit to make the Truth known to us.
“But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.” (1 John 2:27)
We need to know our own weaknesses and temptations to identify the bait that the Enemy may specifically use against us. Movies are great bait. They might have fantastic stories and feature great actors and your favorite director, but it’s all bait around the hook of language or nude scenes. If sexual sin is a temptation and weak point for you, then you should avoid the bait of a movie that contains sex and nude scenes because the hook will snag you and you could fall into lusting and sinning sexually. The same could be said about the Internet: it’s very useful and helpful—you’re using it now if you are reading these words—but it is also filled with bait and if we don’t identify the bait, we will get caught on the hook and be yanked to our death. We must recognize the bait so we can look for the hook.
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13)
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.