One of Theo’s favorite pastimes is fly-fishing. The River Coln flows gently past his cottage on its way through the Cotswold Hills of southern England, and is filled with lovely brown trout. Such a pastime allows one to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and spend time in a quiet stream or lake, relaxing in the beauty of God’s creation. Great for us humans, not so great if you’re a fish.
Fly-fishing is the art of catching fish with artificial lures that resemble real bugs, or “flies” as in mayflies or stoneflies. Like most sports or activities there’s an art to fly-fishing, a skill which is learned. Some people are better at it than others, of course; some are naturals, some never develop a love for it and prefer other types of fishing. People like me have to work very, very hard at it, and only catch fish with dogged determination and much prayer. Not a joke.
Also, the fly-fisherman must think like a fish. If you were a fish where would you hang out? Rivers have personalities; some are easy-going and gentle, some are treacherous, some meander with endless loops of cut banks and eddies. The fly-fisherman must learn to read the river. A fly-fisherman must have a fair knowledge of the stream he or she wishes to fish, as well as a fair knowledge of the fish itself. Not all rivers are alike, and neither are fish. For example, barracudas don’t have the same diet as rainbow trout. You won’t find a marlin in a trout stream.
Finally, there are different seasons, as well. Trout are bug eaters, but like all creatures great and small, bugs have life-cycles (egg, nymph, emerging adult, dun, spinner, etc.), so it’s best to know what’s hatching bug-wise. The knowledgable fly-fisherman will “match the hatch,” by selecting an artificial fly from his fly box that best resembles the bug of choice.
What’s my point to all of this? Temptation, of course. Did you know that the devil is a professional with centuries of experience when it comes to fly-fishing? He’s been around a long time, and knows what artificial flies will tempt us. He’s basically got three types: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, the pride of life. He bagged our great ancestors Adam and Eve with these three, and hasn’t added any new flies to his flybox.
He knows what artificial lure to use to entice the believer into sin. James 1:14 reads, “But each person is tempted when they are dragged away and enticed by their own evil desire” (NIV). The word for “enticed” is deleazo in the original language. It’s a fishing term that means to lure.
A wary trout may “sniff” at a lure, but then pass on it. He knows it’s a fake. I’ve had this happen many times in my own experience. What do I do? I’ll try a different fly. Maybe he’ll go for this one. If he does, I’ve caught him. I’m a catch-and-release guy; that is, after I catch a fish I let him go. The devil releases no one. There are no “limits” he must abide by. The devil knows his fish. he knows what lure to use for every kind of human fish, for every kind of water condition––stream, lake, ocean––and in every season of the year.