Summary: Discusses how we must not take the bait which leads to sin.

Leave the Bait ALONE!!!!!

Scripture: Matthew 22:15-22; 1 Corinthians 10:13; James 1:13-16


I was riding in my car this past Monday on my way to Wichita when I happened to think about a situation that had happened to me. I had been in a meeting with some co-workers and my director when one of them made a comment that was targeted towards me. The comment was intended to make me look bad. Oh I wanted so badly to set the record straight, but thinking through it all and primarily through the grace of God, I held my tongue and did not say a word – but inside I was fuming. A short time after that meeting I had a meeting with my director. During that meeting we eventually got to the comment that the other individual had made and I shared with him the truth behind the situation. He thanked me for not saying anything and slamming the other person. As I was thinking on that incident this week, I thought about everything I “wanted” to say and the potential consequences (both positive and negative) that would have been the result. You see, sometimes we need to know when to walk away from the bait. My message this morning to you is simple, “Leave the bait ALONE!!!”

I am not sure how many of you have ever fished, but to do it correctly, you must have something to attract the fish, namely bait. Bait is anything that can be used to attract prey. For fish, your bait could be worms, night crawlers, insects or a number of other lures. Now if you were not fishing and were trying to capture a lion, then you would need bait that was more substantial than a few worms. My point is that the bait you choose will depend directly on the prey that you are going after. The bait must be something that will get your prey’s attention and attract it to the trap you have set for it. Likewise, the bait that is used to tempt you is something that would specifically get your attention.

Although we do not always thinks about it, there are people out in the world right now thinking of ways to “bait” us. For example – whenever you get a credit card offer in the mail with a very low interest rate, that’s bait. Whenever you get “free checks” in the mail from the company that you have a credit card through, that’s bait. You see, in both cases they are trying to get you to go out and spend money you do not have so they can charge you more money in return. Whenever you get a bill with the option to pay the “minimum amount” that’s bait. The longer it takes you to pay off something the more money the credit card company makes off you. When you see the ads in the newspaper from a car dealership offering zero percent financing and offering a huge rebate, its bait. They are trying to get you on the lot so they can get your mouth watering so bad for a new car that you will be willing to pay more money at a higher percentage rate with no rebate. A 13 year old flirting with a 25 year-old, JAILBAIT! Enough said on that one. When you walk into the “All You Can Eat” buffet place, its bait. Remember, you should never eat all you can eat, you body cannot utilize that many calories and what is not used is turned to fat. When you go to the fast food restaurant and see the “super size fries”, that’s bait. We must recognize what the bait is and then we must learn to leave it alone.

My daughters have a yellow lab named Elijah who thinks he belongs to me, but he is really my daughters. Elijah loves playing in the snow, the rain and subsequently the mud. However, when it is time to bring him back into the house, he hates getting his feet wiped off. He’d much rather come in and track mud all through the basement. When he is ready to come in, he will jump on the door (his way of knocking.) But when I go to let him in and he realizes that he needs to have his feet wiped off, he changes his mind and refuses to come in. So enters the bait of honey roasted cashews. Elijah loves honey roasted cashews so I always keep some on my desk for him (yeah I know he’s my daughters’ dog.) I use the cashews to lure him to the door. When he sees them, he starts to drool and gets very excited. When I open the door you can see the panic look on his face. If he wants the cashews and he does want them, he must come in. But to come in, he knows he will get his feet wiped off – which he hates. He will literally stand there thinking about how badly he wants those cashews versus coming in and getting his feet wiped off. Sometimes he gives in to his stomach and in and gets his feet wiped off and sometimes he does not. My point is watching him battle with the temptation reminds me of what we go through when we are weighing the benefits versus the danger of going after the bait.

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