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Fish aren’t the only creatures susceptible to bait. Nor are they the only ones who are studied to find just the right bait for the right conditions and the right fish. Every creature falls prey to that since bait’s definition is “an allurement, enticement.”
Humankind is no exception to being taken in by bait. That’s why so many ad agencies are out there producing ads that have only one goal – to get you to buy into whatever they are selling. That’s why any food or restaurant ad will be the most appetizing, colorful ad you see even though you cannot literally taste it. A great ad can make you want one so badly that you will interrupt your drive time to get it.
But it isn’t just food that gets us caught. Clothes, shiny new cars in our favorite color, toys for humans of all ages, and trips to exotic places are on that list as well. And it’s not just what we consume. We buy into other things as well even if we have phone call blocking on our phones, ads arrive in the mail, and any time we listen to someone we can be susceptible.
How did we get here? Why do we get up and buy that ice cream, order that great looking pair of shoes on sale, or buy another shirt that we have no need of? Why do we even listen to or look at the pitch when most of us know our weak spots on certain things?
“Anyone who has trapped animals knows a trap needs one of two things to be successful. It must be hidden, in the hope the animal will stumble upon it, and it must be baited to lure the animal into the ugly trap’s jaws.
Satan, the enemy of our souls, incorporates both of these strategies as he lays out his most deceptive and deadly traps. They are both hidden and baited.”John Bevere
This enemy is skilled at getting us focused on us – what we want or desire, what we think we need, what would make life better for us, and so on. It gets us to buy things and try things we might avoid otherwise. It’s so successful it traps many of us in one addiction or another. That list goes far beyond alcohol, tobacco, and drugs of all kinds. You need to include food, pornography, sex, and more.
If these traps don’t kill us, they wound us and the ones that are most precise at hitting the target are those within our relationships.
“Only those you care about can hurt you. You expect more from them – after all, you’ve given more of yourself to them. The higher the expectations, the greater the fall.”John Bevere
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What happens next will determine how deep the bait goes into the core of us. For too many of us, much of the time offense follows hard after hurt and Satan is most skillful at using this tactic because of course we believe we are right. He whispered that to us at the outset and we agreed as a way to blunt the wound and avoid any error on our part. Pride helped along the way as well and looks for someone to blame.
Most of us would agree there appears to be an epidemic of offense beyond even those close to us these days. A subject is broached and soon we have each gone to our corner believing we are right without much of a capacity to listen to the other person, consider his or her position, and whether we might not have everything aligned as it actually is either. In social media these days, it means you get canceled, muted, blocked, and shut out and division spreads like a cancer among us all.
“Our response to an offense determines our future.”John Bevere
Only each one of us can (with God’s help) determine how much we have been affected by this epidemic and perpetuate it in our own life. That takes some time with a journal and a listening ear and the Bible in our lap to learn the truth since much of our offense cannot be categorized by being righteous like Christ whose words and deeds offended many. If we don’t take that time, we will be a part of what is causing family, businesses, organizations, churches, schools, countries, and more to be destroyed because we believe we are right or the victim of someone or something.
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The polarized world we live in will not make our path easy or without some bumps in the road. After all, looking first at ourselves in the mirror is never as easy as taking the speck out of another’s eye. But it can start with the wisdom John Bevere suggests in his book The Bait of Satan that I read in 2001.
“God never created us to live separately and independently of each other. He likes it when His children care for and nurture each other. He is frustrated when we sulk and feel sorry for ourselves, making everyone else responsible for our happiness. He wants us to be active members of the family. He wants us to get our life from Him. An isolated person seeks only his own desire, not God’s. He receives no counsel and sets himself up for deception.”John Bevere
The choice is ours, yours, and mine. God gave us the gift of choice and how we use it will have a great impact on how much we grow into maturity. The choice will show up in how we live and especially how we love.
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