Recognizing Satan’s Bait

My pastor once taught us that a good fisherman will come back to the same pond for as long as he catches the fish he desires. When a good fisherman stops catching fish, he told us, the fisherman will move on to another pond. Then he explained that Satan will come back to us for as long as he is able to get us to take his bait. When he finds he can no longer get a good catch, he will move on. If Satan knows we will keep taking the bait he has chosen, guess what? He will keep using the same bait. The Bible teaches us how to resist the devil and enforce the victory God has given us in Christ, but what happens when we do not recognize Satan’s bait?

If we do not recognize Satan’s bait, we will pounce on it. Once we are hooked, it’s a done deal. Satan has caught us once again. So one of Satan’s tactics is to deceive us by disguising the bait and making it look delicious. But what happens when we recognize the bait? We have the opportunity to refuse the bait and turn away. A good fisherman knows exactly what bait to use in a particular pond, and Satan knows exactly what bait we are most likely to take.

For me, I am highly vulnerable in certain areas. Rejection. Abandonment. Losing weight. And more. But these are the areas in which I am probably most vulnerable. So what does Satan do? He throws some bait in my direction – time and again. He returns for as long as he knows he can get away with it. And, if I don’t recognize the bait, I will pounce on it so quickly I will likely not even recognize that Satan has just thrown more bait in my direction. If I do recognize the bait, at least I have the opportunity to practice what the Bible teaches about resisting the devil.

The trouble is that Satan’s bait is deceptive. For me, it often comes in the voice of a human. For example, a friend will say: “You look like you’ve lost weight.” With a history of anorexia, I am sad to say that I sometimes enjoy hearing I have lost weight. Likewise, a friend might say: “You look great. You have gained weight.” For someone with a history of an eating disorder, those are tough words to hear. Or, a friend might say, “I’m not going to purchase your book. I don’t agree with your beliefs.” Or, a loved one might say: “Let me see if I can squeeze you into my calendar.”

Despite how innocent these comments ordinarily are, Satan knows where I am still weak. And if I don’t immediately recognize Satan is trying to bait me through someone speaking to me, I am more than likely to pounce on the bait. How? I might want to start losing weight again even if I should be gaining weight. I might resist writing my next book because I feel rejected by someone not wanting to read what I have already written. Or, I might tell the person who wants to squeeze me into a calendar, “I don’t want to get together with  you anyway.” In any of these scenarios, I would be taking Satan’s bait and responding without the love of God.

If I recognize Satan has just tossed me some bait, then I have the opportunity to make a decision. I can take the bait and react out of fear, anger, vengeance, etc., or I can turn away from the bait and seek the Lord on how to respond.

Oftentimes, in the areas I am still quite vulnerable, I simply don’t recognize the bait until after I have already grabbed onto it and experienced the consequences. Thankfully, the Lord allows me to repent, to apologize to anyone or anything I may have hurt, and to carry on. But if the truth be known, I would like to learn increasingly how to recognize the bait AND to not take a single bite of it!

How about you? Do you know what bait Satan tends to send your way? Do you usually recognize it? Do you understand you have a choice about whether or not to take it?

Though I am disappointed when I take bait I should have recognized and should not have taken, I am grateful because I realize something very important. In each area I am most vulnerable, I am seeking the Lord to help me to no longer be vulnerable in those areas.

One day, I just know it, the devil will realize he needs to go fishing in a different pond. Because I am bound and determined to be so healed in those areas that he will not know not to even bother trying to bait me at all. Until then, I thank the Lord that He handles me with such love and mercy when this little fish pulls her mouth off the hook again, spits out the bait, and says, “Lord, I’ve done it again. Please forgive me, please help me, and please heal me. I love you, and thank you. Amen!”

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