A fisherman baited his hook with raw pieces of bloody meat. He dropped the hook into the water, and as the bait splashed beneath the ripples, the blood invisibly dispersed among the eddies and currents that meandered and swirled peacefully beneath the boat. In curly, fingery wisps it found its way to the nares of a nearby fish. Once inside, it triggered the fish’s sense of smell, and his forebrain lit up and crackled like the fireworks that children play with. He sensed food. His body was designed for food, and as the firestorm in his brain raged, he swam toward the smell. The closer he got to the bait, the stronger the smell infected his brain, and the more he craved the taste of whatever it was he was smelling. In a single, swooping pass he chomped the bait. He was unable to see or smell the hook, and it pierced the inside of his mouth and tore his flesh. Instantly, another part of his brain electrified. Realization, fear, panic, and swarms of chemical signals twitched every muscle. He struggled to get away, swimming with all of his might, but the struggle was in vain. The more he resisted, the the stronger the hook grabbed. The fisherman reeled in his catch, took it home, and ate the fish at a wooden table next to a warm fire blazing on a brick hearth.
The fisherman used bait to entice the fish. He put something attractive to the fish into his world. In fact, there was nothing inherently wrong with the composition of the bait. It’s sole purpose was to lure the fish and to conceal a hook. This is a picture of temptation. In almost all instances, temptation is comprised of something (at least in part) that we are designed to receive or use in some way. However, the bait is wrapped around a sinful hook that is designed to entrap us and pull us away from where God would want us. That hook is usually a simple lie. For example, a young man (or woman) may be enticed into sexual intimacy before the commitment of marriage with the lie that there will be no emotional, physical, or spiritual consequences for the intimacy. Humans are made for intimacy, and so intimacy is highly attractive. Satan takes this attraction and places it in deceptive contexts, and it can be difficult to resist.
There is nothing wrong with feeling anger. Because we are made in the image of God, it is an emotion that we share with him. It is designed to help us recognize and right the wrongs we experience in the world. So when we see something wrong, we are lured to a state of anger. Satan will wrap that emotion around the deceptive hook of revenge, and try to lure us away from love and into bitterness or some other element of our sinful natures.
So don’t take the bait unless you want to be eaten (1 Peter 5:8).