Tempting Trout

Whether it is paddling my canoe or fly fishing, I love spending time on a river.  The picture at the left is of a rainbow trout that I took while fishing a quiet stretch of Roaring River in Missouri.

My son-in-law and I were not getting many strikes until we identified what insect was hatching and causing the trout to rise to the surface of the water.  Once we discovered what was irresistible to the trout, we made a quick dash to Tim’s Fly Shop and purchased some new dry flies.

The secret to successful trout fishing is found in the words:  match the hatch.  This involves the use of a fake that is worked in a specific manner, so it appears to be the real thing–deception is the key!

I seriously doubt that the Apostle James ever did any fly fishing, but he did outline the principles of baiting:      When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death (James 1:13-15).

The practical summary of his principles is seen in the 4 steps below:

  1. Looked–The fish looks at the bait.
  2. Tooked–The fish takes the bait.
  3. Hooked–The fish is hooked.
  4. Cooked–The fish is in the frying pan and cooked

James describes temptation as something that is powerful and persistent.  The construction of the Greek  speaks of continuous action that culminates in lust being conceived.  The picture is that of an almost inescapable death grip that robs you of your vitality.

A good example of this is the enticing techniques used by a cone snail to deceive and then devour a clown fish.  You can see it here.

Most of us know when we should say, No!  Then again, most of us are less like Jesus and more like Mae West who said:  I generally avoid temptation unless I can’t resist it . . . Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.

I think the words of West lack the wisdom of Wesley.  Susanna Wesley was the 25th child of 25 children and gave birth to 19 children herself.  Her many life experiences taught her much:  Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sight of God, takes from you your thirst for spiritual things or increases the authority of your body over your mind,  then that thing to you is evil. By this test you may detect evil no matter how subtly or how plausibly temptation may be presented to you.    

It’s easy to live life at its lowest and to be haunted with regrets.  It’s much harder and far better to shun the bait than struggle in the snare  (John Dryden).

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