The internet age introduced the word ‘phishing’ into my vocabulary. Phishing is a term for techniques used to deceive unsuspecting internet users. Users are lured by communications purporting to be from a trusted party. Phishing often directs users to enter personal information at a fake website which matches the look and feel of the legitimate site.
I was victimized a few years ago by a website I thought was Safari. I was asked to call a phone number that looked like Safari’s number, but turned out to be one number off. I was fortunate to recognize the scam before irreparable damage was done. After hours and days, I was able to extricate myself without loss of funds.
While phishing is a new term, the scam is as old as the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-6). On his first phishing expedition, Satan reeled in Eve and Adam. Creation has never fully recovered from the devastation. In the most audacious phishing event of all time, Satan came to Jesus at the beginning of His ministry here on earth. Luke 4:1-13 records the event, Jesus’ Temptation in the Wilderness. While Jesus did not succumb to the devil’s deceitfulness, overall the devil’s phishing schemes have been so successful that they remain among the enemy’s main tools.
While wicked and cunning men wreak havoc on our bank accounts and financial well-being, there is a greater problem still. It is the constant pressure to believe lies and half-truths in our spiritual lives. Jesus warned us about ‘phishers of men’. He said, “Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). These religious deceivers can be very convincing and often seduce believers that are not well grounded in God’s word. “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
The Apostle Paul offers this advice: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (1 Peter 5:8-9, NIV).
Prayer: Dear Lord, please post a ‘No Phishing’ sign on my heart.