Looking back over my father’s life, I’ve never known a man with more passion for life. Whether it was his family, his job, working in his garden, or fishing, his attitude embodied the very essence of how he wanted to live his life and his attitude was what he is most remembered for. One day, I had an opportunity to ask my father why he enjoyed fishing so much… his response was that it was a challenge to understand the mind of the fish he wanted to catch to ultimately catch as many fish as he could. While I was preparing for today’s reading, it suddenly occurred to me that Satan uses the very same tactic… learning all he can about each of us just so he can catch as many of us as he can.
As Christians, we’re called to be ‘fishers of men.’ What most of us don’t realize is that Satan is in the same business of fishing for us. The unfortunate reality is that Satan would love nothing more than to lure us in and hook us. We have all been bombarded with temptation… even Jesus Himself was tempted. Only Jesus was never hooked!
My father taught me that to catch fish, we needed to a.) fish where the fish were and know the conditions where we’d be fishing, b.) we needed to know what the fish were feeding on, and c.) we needed to be patient and persistent. Interestingly enough, Satan uses the same tactics when he’s out fishing for souls… once he arrives on the scene, he figures out what lure will work and begins to use it. And since Satan is not in any hurry, he is as patient and persistent as is necessary to win over more individuals!
Something I’ve realized is that Satan is most likely to tempt us when we’ve had or are getting ready for a significant spiritual experiences. The Bible, in Matthew 4, records that Jesus was tempted directly after He was baptized. Jesus had received the approval of His Father who said “This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.” Who are we to think that we, too, won’t be equally tempted. In Luke 4:1-13, Satan also increases his temptation strongholds when there is physical weakness. During times of physical sickness or when the body is in a weakened state or when hungry or tired, temptation is stronger. Look at how Jesus was tempted after not eating for 40 days. And lastly, Satan seeks to isolate us so he can do his best dirty work. When Jesus was in the desert, He was alone, without the disciples present. But He prevailed…
Just like finding the right lure maximizes the potential of a great yield of fish, so, too, does the devil use anything he can to lure us into sinning against God. Doing so works to fracture the relationship we have with God. So how do we resist Satan’s temptations to overcome the lies and deceit? Look to Jesus and what He did… knowing the Bible and what it stands for is key! One of Jesus’ best defenses against Satan came in 3 simple words… “It is written.” Not only was Jesus the Living Word of God, but God’s Word lived in Him and He was strong and overcame evil with His Father’s Word!
One of the best prayers of defense come in Ephesians 6:10-12… “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the authorities, of the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Father, we pray that we may remain alert and that with Your protection and divine providence, we will have the strength to stand ready to confront evil when it arrives knowing that You will never leave us. Amen!