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The Devil is a Fly Fisherman

MATCHING THE HATCH

Experienced fishermen know that to be routinely successful trout fishing in mountain streams they need to know how to match the hatch.  Upon approaching a stream they watch the air for what insects may be floating on the breeze.  They turn over stream rocks to see what lies beneath.  Hellgrammites, mayflies, stone flies, midges, caddis flies . . . what’s hatching?  On what are the trout feeding this particular day?  The fisherman than fetches his fly box fitted with an array of dainty, often hand-tied, flies.  Hook size, color, floating or sinking, winged or legged; these things matter significantly if the fish are going to be enticed to take the hook.

Satan is an experienced fisherman.  He too matches the hatch in order to lure the Christian into his grip.  

Is your heart given to anxiety?  His fly box is filled with particular enticements in order to stir up your hungry heart which feeds on worry and stress.  He can cast a forward weighted line so beautifully into the pool in which you dwell, that you would never know there was a hook in that enticement.  Do you struggle with bitterness?  Satan will enter the stream on that day when your co-worker receives the promotion for which you were hoping.  How about lust?  The devil has a way of threading in some wife-irritation in hopes that your heart will grab tight to the next cast of a gold-flashing streamer.  Are you prone to covet the stuff others have?  A roll cast lightly delivering a deliciously-presentedpromise of fulfillment will be delivered to your Pinterest board.  Satan knows us so well.  

THE FISH

In the early 1900 Appalachian mountains, poor timber and farming practices contributed to run-off that silted mountain streams and increased the temperatures of the lower elevation waters.  Coupled with the introduction of the non-native species of brown trout and rainbow trout, which could handle the warmer water temperatures and were direct competitors to the native brook trout, the native brookies were forced up stream into the smallest of tributaries.  Today, brook trout are found at the highest elevations, are protected, and it is a delight and trophy to catch one just ten inches in length.  Plus, they are very wary.  A fly fisherman knows that he cannot tie on a flashy large fly to catch brook trout.  The fish are skeptical of anything that does not closely resemble their native food sources.  

Hatchery-reared trout, on the other hand, are feeder-fed on pellets like Purina Trout Chow®.  No joke.  You can Google it.  Here’s an excerpt from an online fishing forum answering the question, I know stocked trout are easier to catch then wild trout, but does anyone have any good tips for fishing a recently (hatchery) stocked small creek/river?” :

“Berkley makes trout hatchery food bait. If you go to a feed supply store and get some sinking fish pellets you just throw a hand full of the pellets to get the fish in a feeding frenzy then cast your line with the hatchery bait on it and fish on. Make sure they are sinking pellets though or they won't work.”

That’s a far cry from the tedium of matching the hatch.  Here is the point:  People who are given in to the glitz and glamour of sin are easily enticed by any temptation thrown their way.  We are fat and content to be caught, gutted, and thrown on the grill.  

But Christians are called and equipped to live differently than the world around us.   How can we be the salt and light that Christ has called us to if we are given to every temptation thrown our way?  

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy habitation of the Most High.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;

God will help her when morning dawns.

Psalm 46:4-5

God sent Jesus to rescue us and the world.  On the cross Jesus defeated death and Satan.  Sin has no dominion over the one who trusts that Jesus paid the penalty for their disbelief, distrust, and rebellion against God.   The power that Satan now has in the Christian’s life is to entice us to be unfruitful by falling prey to the false promises of the world.  Yet God continually draws us, by His Spirit in us, to trust Him . . . to take our eyes off of immediate gratification and look to the better provisions of our Creator and Sustainer.

Though pushed upstream by every destructive human device, the mountain of God becomes our refuge.  The stream becomes clearer in light of God’s voice.  We breath more deeply for the life-giving oxygen of His care.  The reality of our secure place on the mountain becomes our strength.  The promise of "He is with us" is our hope.  Therefore we become more wary of the hints of temptation that threaten to undo us.  We grow healthy and more discerning.  We start to long more for Him than we do the glitter of false promises and provisions.  

The devil may be a fly fisherman but Jesus is our Living water.