The life of a fish, what could we humans possibly learn about sin and death from the life of a fish? According to James, we can learn plenty. James 1: 13-15, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
OK, now your thinking, “How does this relate to the life of a fish?” Think about a fish, let’s call him Freddy. Freddy swims around and eats from the lake or pond in which he was born or placed. From that lake or pond he is provided all that he needs to survive and thrive. If Freddy stays focused on what has been provided, he will most likely be safe and live long and happy. (OK, I know fish do not have emotions and that yes, a bigger fish may eat the smaller, but work with me a moment!). While enjoying a great day of swimming and eating like every other day, suddenly something catches Freddy’s eye; it isn’t like anything he has seen before. It is shiny and tantalizing, it looks pleasing to the eye and he begins to consider how this new thing might taste. Remember, Freddy knows what he has always eaten and never had any problems with, but the way this new thing dazzles is just overwhelming. So even though he should know better he moves toward the object and with eager anticipation…swallows it! The moment he closes his mouth he realizes, oops, something is wrong! As the hook he didn’t see gets set and the line attached to the hook begins to drag and entice him closer to the shore, he realizes he made a mistake. As he is brought to shore the grip of that wrong choice, the hook, leads ultimately to Freddy’s demise, the frying pan.
Here’s the question, whom should Freddy blame? Is it God or the fisherman that is at fault or is it Freddy? Freddy knew what was right, but he was not content with what he had been given, so he chased after something that seemed more promising. Sadly, the promise came with a hook. The fisherman knew fish and only gave the fish what he knew would drag it away from what it knew to be right, and entice it to something wrong. The creator provided well for Freddy from the pond he was placed in, but he wanted more.
That is how it works with you and me. We have been given everything we need from God. He has promised to love us and provide for us. He has promised to be our Father and for us to be his beloved children. But something else catches our eye and drags us away and entices us to leave the safety of God’s promises and follow our own appetites. Satan knows what we desire and all he does is bait the hook. We do the rest! When we look at our lives, let us be careful to place the blame for our sin in the correct place, on us. It certainly isn’t God’s fault. God is trying to draw us to Himself, not push us away. God may test our faith as He did Abraham, but He never uses evil to entice us away. We need to remember that God is holy; and He uses the revelation of His holiness to draw us near, not evil to push us away. It really isn’t Satan’s fault either. He is a liar and deceiver, but he only uses what he knows we desire as bait to drag us away and into sin against God.
So then who is to blame when we sin against God? Finding the answer is as easy as looking in the mirror. Let’s live our lives like the “one that got away”, because we live in the contentment of what our great God and Father has generously and lovingly provided for us.