When was the last time you were hooked? Oh, you’re not a fish? I’m very confident of that but you can still get “hooked.” We’re hooked whenever we react in a manner that is contrary to the fruit of the Spirit. For instance, instead of being loving, we withdraw our heart or we’re hateful. Instead of being joyful, we’re unhappy, disgruntled or ungrateful. And so it goes. It’s any reaction that doesn’t glorify God. When we’re hooked, we are not trusting God.
I started wondering who was hooked in the Bible. I came up with some. See if you can relate.
Miriam and Aaron were hooked when they criticized Moses. They said they were upset about “the Cushite woman whom he married” (Numbers 12:1) but it’s pretty obvious they were jealous of the status Moses had because they complained, “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well?” (12:2). Oh, that’s revealing! They were hooked by jealousy and responded with a critical spirit.
Let’s think of another. One very obvious example is Haman from the book of Esther. Haman hated Mordecai the Jew. Esther 3:5 tells us, “When Haman saw that Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage to him, Haman was filled with rage.”
EW! Haman was hooked because of his pride. He hated not being given the homage he thought he deserved. Did he feel small? Did he feel belittled? Did he feel insignificant? He must have felt as though the whole world were watching Mordecai’s disrespect and he was embarrassed. Now it would seem that everyone knew the truth that he had been trying to hide. He really wasn’t all that important or brilliant after all. He reacted in rage which ended up fueling his plan to kill Mordecai and all the Jews.
Let’s find an example where someone resisted getting hooked. How about Daniel’s three friends? King Nebuchadnezzar is requiring everyone to bow to his golden image but not everyone is cooperating. When the King finds out Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego refuse to bow, the King reacts in rage and anger. Oh, he got hooked! He wasn’t getting the respect he wanted either. Therefore, he calls the three young men before him and they know the consequences of not obeying the King’s edict. Their lives are in danger.
The three men should be terrified. They should be hooked into worry. Worry is an indication we’re hooked because worry is always about mistrusting God. Fear may be a legitimate reaction of a dangerous situation. (After all, if a bear meets you in the forest, you will be afraid and need to take action.) But worry is when fear turns into distrust of God. The teens could have been really worried for their lives. But how do they prevent being hooked?
Daniel 3:16-18 tells us, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up’” (NASB).
Their trust in God’s sovereignty and their total surrender to God’s will empowers them to resist being hooked. They stay calm and peaceful; the fruit of the Spirit reigns in their lives.
When was the last time you were “hooked”? Were you jealous but it seemed reasonable to criticize the other person? Were you worried but it seemed reasonable to think this situation was beyond God’s grasp? Were you withdrawing your heart but it seemed reasonable to protect it?
The comment of Daniel’s friends in the NIV give us some guidance to prevent being hooked:
When we’re being hooked, we’re primarily trying to defend and protect ourselves rather than trusting God’s protection and defense. He’s no longer our hiding place or refuge. We’ve dug our own cave to hide in.
The next time you’re tempted to react in a manner contrary to the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control–Galatians 5:22-23), trust in God’s sovereignty and His good plan for you. Trust in His love for you. And tell yourself, “I don’t need to defend myself or protect myself. God is my defender and protector.”
What peace and joy come from living in trust of our great God.