I’m a “catch and release” fisherman, which means I don’t kill the trout I catch, but net and handle them gently and set them free. It’s a technique that ensures “sustainability,” as conservation officers like to say, and keeps trout and other target species from disappearing in heavily fished waters.
I rarely release a trout without recalling Paul’s words about those who have been “taken captive” by Satan to do his will (2 Tim. 2:26), for I know that our adversary the devil does not catch and release but captures to consume and destroy.
We may think we can deliberately sin in a limited way for a short period of time and then get ourselves free. But as Jesus teaches us, “Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34). Even “little” sins lead to greater and greater unrighteousness. Sin becomes the consequence of sin. We find ourselves entrapped and enslaved, and like a luckless trout, we cannot wriggle free.
Sin enslaves us. But when we yield ourselves in obedience to Christ and call upon Him for the strength to do His will, we are “released.” The result is increasing righteousness (Rom. 6:16).
Christ broke the bonds of sin, that I
Might know His strong eternal tie;
This blood-bought liberty I bring
To be Your bond-slave, Master-King. —F. Hess