During a recent trip to the Florida Keys, my husband James taught me how to use a tickle stick and net to catch lobster. If you’ve never lobstered before, here’s how it works. You snorkel until you spot two long antennas peeking out of a hole in the ocean’s hard bottom. Then, you insert the tickle stick into the hole to annoy the lobster enough to expose itself. While distracting the lobster with the tickle stick, you swoop in behind it with the net. Lobsters swim backwards, so poking the lobster with the stick usually sends it directly into the net.
Although the tickle stick is dangerous only to lobsters, the experience reminded me how the Devil will often use temptations to get our focus away from where it should be. When we’re distracted, we’re often unaware of the impending danger that even little wrong choices can present.
For illustration, let’s compare the wise lobster to the foolish one and see some parallels for our own decision-making.
Wise Lobsters Don’t Wait Around.
Not every lobster falls for the tickle stick distraction. Some of them, usually the seasoned veterans, immediately swim away once you get them out of their hole. They’ve either seen enough of their buddies get taken or escaped nets in the past to know that the tickle stick may be pretty and shiny, but it spells D-A-N-G-E-R.
In the Bible, Joseph also had the good sense to run away from pretty and “shiny” temptations. When his master’s wife threw herself at him, Joseph didn’t stop to admire her curves or painted face. He just ran.
In fact, he was in such a hurry to escape that the Bible says “he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside” (Genesis 39:12b NKJV).
If something shiny is dangling before you today, step away from it.
Joseph wasn’t about to get caught in Mrs. Potiphar’s net. During an earlier temptation, Joseph had reprimanded her with these words: “There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he [Potiphar] kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9 NKJV)
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You might be avoiding imminent danger or at least gaining some much-needed perspective by turning away from something that is shiny and distracting you. Always stop and ask the question: Would God be pleased with this choice? If not, swim away like the wise lobster.
Foolish Lobsters Are Too Curious.
Based on my lobstering experience, wise lobsters seem to be the minority. The reason is simple: That tickle stick is too darn distracting. It’s metal, shiny, and swinging right in front of their beady eyes. Of course, they want to know what it is.
When Satan tries to distract us from living for God or making wise choices, he often employs a similar tactic. He swings something that looks too-good-to-be-true in front of our faces. After all, isn’t that what he did with Eve in the garden? He appealed to all three “lusts” that I John 2:16 NIV warns about: “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (NKJV).
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food (lust of the flesh), that it was pleasant to the eyes (lust of the eyes), and a tree desirable to make one wise (pride of life), she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate (Genesis 3:6 NKJV, parentheses added).
Satan snared her with a classic “tickle stick” approach, so Eve never saw the net coming.
Don’t Get Taken.
James and I netted ten “keepers” and celebrated with surf and turf for dinner with family. We thoroughly enjoyed our catch this year.
Unlike lobsters, Satan’s snares produce nothing that brings true enjoyment. No amount of butter can make them better.
The way not to get taken is to run from temptation. Where should we run? Scripture provides the answer:
- “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10 NKJV).
- “Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14 NKJV).
Lord, may we always run to you and pursue the good paths of peace. Help us stay close to you so that we can easily spot temptations that would lead us away from your plan for us.