My Own Worst Enemy
I’m not much of a fisherman, but I think I understand the basic idea. You put a hook, attached to a string, in the water. Then you hope the fish bites and gets his mouth caught on the sharp hook. Boom! Dinner.
Of course, most fish are smart enough to stay away from a hook. A nice, juicy worm, on the other hand, looks quite enticing. He might just bite that, not realizing there is a dangerous hook underneath.
You catch a fish by using his own healthy desires against him. It’s not wrong for him to desire the worm, in fact it’s quite natural for him to be lured by it. But his own natural desires can easily lead to his demise. The fish is his own worst enemy.
“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:14,15 ESV)
James uses this fishing imagery to remind us that we, too, can be our own worst enemy. We are indeed tempted—lured and enticed—not always by some external force but often by our own desire. That desire isn’t necessarily sinful, but it’s one short step away from sin.
What are the desires that lure and entice you? They aren’t always evil (like desiring food, rest, or companionship), but if you become too attached to them, you’ve given birth to sin, with no one to blame but yourself. Ask God to give you wisdom and discernment to know when your natural desires are giving birth to sin in your life.
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16 ESV).
About the Author
Gary Cantwell lives in Colorado Springs. He is the Chief Communications Officer for The Navigators, and is a member of the National Leadership Team.