Don’t take the bait

The more I study the Bible, the more I see its direct application to my life. In every book, chapter, and verse, there is truth that I need to stand on each and every day. It is not a book of good suggestions for me to be more “holy”, it is the very foundation for life. Look at how John begins his gospel (verses 1-5):

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John describes Jesus as the Word. Jesus, who called Himself the bread of life (John 6:35), is defined as the Word. Could there be a more powerful call to spend our time and energy seeing what He has to say to us through the letters He chose to give to us? We spend so much time trying to unravel the mystery of God when He has already given us a living Word in the Bible and an interpreter in the Holy Spirit (see John 16:13-15).

That is just the preamble to what is really on my mind, however. What I really want to talk about is the constant barrage of destructive thoughts that the devil hurls at us. Do not be confused, his only intention is to hurt you. 1 Peter 5:8 says:

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

He is relentless and hateful. That is why it is so important to recognize and reject the multitude of negative thoughts, hurtful feelings, condemning opinions about yourself and others, … that seem to never end. While we may not be able to completely turn off this internal parade of ugliness, we can just let it march on past. We do not have to join the parade or pick up the candy that the creepy clown throws our way.

It reminds me of a television commercial I saw yesterday for a fishing lure. It is called the Mighty Bite. Here is what it promises.

It’s better than live bait – and works on all predatory  fish! Tired off getting “skunked?” Then throw out  your traditional lures, leave the live bait at the bait shop, and put one of  these incredible lures on your line. They’re specially designed to appeal to all  five senses. The “Spasmic” action, unique Bite-Mark design, and 3D hologram  design catch the fish’s eye, while the powerful scent trail and special rattles  that “sound the dinner bell,” entice fish to strike and strike often.

Isn’t that just your experience with your thoughts? Have you had a negative notion appear from nowhere that was designed to grab you right where it hurts? It almost certainty “appealed to all five senses.” It was fabricated specifically for you, your experiences, your weakness, your pain. These thoughts are not your fault. They are designed to derail your walk with Jesus, if only for a moment. They are crafted to destroy you.

I encourage you to take in the Word. Eat this bread and you will never go hungry (John 6:35). Let these attacks lead you to Jesus and the Word. Quote the Bible directly back at these thoughts. Here is one of my favorite weapons (1 John 4:18):

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…

Let that lure pass right by you. Don’t take the bait!

About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
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