Do you believe there are traps that catch and make us fall? This story stirred while fishing at Topsail with James. Baiting hooks and waiting patiently for the thrill of reeling in a fish taught me lessons about the road of life. Those fish were targets of our traps as they swam along ocean’s highway. Under the sea, creatures of all kinds, (created by God) live and look out for traps in their paradise packed with predators.
Fishing fever brings people of all kinds (created in His image) to the shore. Fishermen and women seek the best bait to trap their catch. Our fishing adventures, on the surf or Pa’s pier, brought us closer to one another and to the beauty of God’s creation. With journal in hand, I watched my line while writing about traps that spoil seasons - when everything seems to be going just fine. Each fish James or I reeled in became a trophy to me, even pesky, pin fish that teased and took precious time. I wrote how traps are waiting to catch us the same way we wait to catch fish, how we wiggle and work our way through traps that wait to snag us, and how wisdom helps us avoid traps set to steal, kill, and destroy. Warnings heeded help us avoid disaster by obediently steering away from problems along life’s highway.
Fish, like people, become overconfident - thinking they can’t get caught, or become comfortable and miss warnings of danger that catch us off guard. Some play with the bait, becoming victims before realizing they’ve been hooked. Others narrowly escape when they turn from traps intended to torment. Foolish fish (and people) habitually fall for the same traps which forbid fruitful living and keep them floundering through life. Others are blessed to be given second chances.
Watching James throw innocent, little fish back into the water made me think of how God gives His children second chances. He honors a repentant heart by forgiving and forgetting any offense or trespass. Satan lurks with bait, hook, and sinker ready to trap anyone who bites and believes his lies. Wise people watch for warnings, avoid traps, and stay connected to the Vine while fostering faith and a closeness to our Creator.
Jesus knew about the road of life and warned of different kinds of traps designed by the devil to make us fall. One of the traps that tears people apart is offense. Surprisingly, offense is defined as “the name of the part of a trap to which the bait is attached, hence, the trap or snare itself.”
I never thought about offense as being bait or the center of the trap. Did you? Yet, once you allow offense to attach itself to your heart, it will stop the power of God from flowing in your life. It sure stopped mighty works from happening in Jesus’ hometown. The people thought Jesus was very wise and did mighty works, but felt he was just another hometown boy, the son of a carpenter. They dishonored God when they rejected His Son. Offense laid its trap and the entire town failed to believe. As a result, they missed marvelous miracles and opportunity to honor the hometown hero who would, one day, sit by His Father in heaven. Can you imagine anyone rejecting Jesus?
In Matthew 13 the story is told of Jesus entering His own country. He taught them with wisdom and mighty works, but they were offended in Him. Jesus told them, “ A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.”
John the Baptist sent the disciples to Jesus to ask if He was the Messiah, or should they wait for another. They were weary and could have been influenced by people from Jesus’ hometown. Surely, the word about the carpenter’s son who claimed to be the Messiah had spread like wildfire. Yet, Jesus answered in a wise way, “And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me.” Luke 7:23
Writing about traps that catch us and make us fall causes me to reflect on my life and how offense can cause me to miss blessings. How about you? Are you a person who wears your feelings on your sleeves? Do you hurt others or yourself by offense? This old saying tells the truth for many of us who offend or are offended easily.
If you want to be blessed and see mighty works, avoid the trap of offense. We are wise when we do not allow the devil to plant his seeds in our hearts. He sets deadly traps, like landmines, hoping to stop our healing and harvest. Keeping our hearts cleaned and living above offense keep us free from the devil’s trap and safe in the arms of Jesus.