I have tried to see similarities between the Christian life and the practical things we see around us. This is not a new way of thinking. Paul compared the Christian life to a race, a fight, wrestling, and more. 2 years ago, I shot my first deer. I had been deer hunting plenty before that day, but not until that day did I collect the fruit of the efforts. I cannot explain the adrenaline and excitement that came upon me in that one minute when I realized it was time. Only those who have ever experienced it can understand what I am saying fully. So I got to looking at this thing called hunting to see if there were any similarities between it and the Christian Life, and I found quite a few.
(Purpose) First when we think about hunting, whether it be deer, turkey, squirrel, ducks, etc, there is one purpose, it is to “bag the game” Any true hunter has one goal in mind, and that is to take home a prize. Some are foolish with the prize and only wish to hang the antlers on the wall, and others only care for the meat, but across the board, all of them want shoot a deer (or whatever else). So Likewise in the Christian life, we have one purpose (or we should). That one purpose is to try to win souls to Jesus Christ(Proverbs 11:30-He that winneth souls is wise). This should be the main focus of our lives here on this earth. Everything else that we do revolves around this one purpose, to win souls to Christ.
(Planning) If a man or woman decides that they wish to go to the “field” and get a deer, there is much planning and preparation that must go into that decision. A hunter must study to know what time to go. He must study moon cycles, feeding cycles, mating cycles, and much more. He must scout out an area to determine if there is even a presence of deer or any movement in that location. He or she then must make a plan of when they will go. Many hunters will make sure that nothing will hinder their time to hunt, because they know they have but a short time to get something. They cannot put it off even an hour in some situations.
The same thing must be necessary of our gospel preaching. We should find a place where we can reach some one. (Go where the people are). We should be aware of time of day, when folks will be out or in, so that we can plan our approach(Sometimes we go to the streets when they are moving around, and sometimes we knock on their doors when they are in) Sometimes, like at the Salvation Army, we are able to get them during a feeding time. But the time will have to be a priority. We cannot put off our endevours for even an hour, we need to make it a priority to win souls for Christ.
(Places)There a few places that are relevant to deer hunting. One is what is known as a hunting club. This is a place where folks who all have the same thing in common(deer hunting), can come together in one place. These clubs are usually associated with a certain amount of land that they have the charge over. The members of this club usually have a “club house.” This is a place where they come together and sit and talk about the hunting endevours. They share stories, make plans, and maybe instruct each other how to hunt a little better. Many times, the “old-timers” will teach the young fellas how to hone in their skills in order to be more effective. But hanging out in the club house doesn’t make you a hunter, going to the field does.
So likewise we compare this to the church. In geographical locations all across this world, there are local assemblies of believers who have been given charges to preach the gospel in that community. They may have a church building where they meet together, but the focus should be the field around them. When we come into the church, we come to encourage one another, strengthen one another, and instruct each other. So we see, those that have experience, teaching the younger how to better do what they have been given to do. (Titus 2) No person is considered to be fully doing the work that they are to do until they take the gospel to sinners. Coming to church is good and very needful, but it is not the main reason we are left here.
(Presentation) This article would not be complete without a section on the presentation of the hunter. A hunter wears a certain style of clothing that sets him or her apart from all others. There are whole stores and companies that only sell clothing that is designed for the hunter’s use. Hunter’s tend to wear camouflage. This camouflage may differ depending on the place on which he is hunting, but across the board the hunter is wearing camouflage. Now, wearing camouflage does not make you a hunter, no more than putting on a Marine Corps Uniform makes you a Marine, but it will sure be a help to the hunter if he wears it. No doubt, we have all seen the fashion trends where young people have decided to where camouflage all the time, even though they have never set foot in the woods to actually hunt, or even seen a deer, much less shot one. (I was one of those people at one time).
So likewise, in our Fundamental circles we see a huge emphasis put on the appearance of the Christian. We hear preaching on modesty, and proper dress codes all the time, and these things are good, but they are good for one reason. The reason why, as Christians, our appearance is so important is because it will help us in our true mission, to reach souls for Christ. I have seen Christians fight, whine, complain, and just be outright difficult about the issue of our appearance as Christians. The reason for this is because they have not seen the importance of why we dress this way. Let me say it like this, Modesty does not make you any more of a Christian than camouflage makes you a hunter, but a true Christian will put on what matches the message that is coming from their mouth. It won’t take a man long before he realizes camouflage is important in the woods, just let a deer spot him and turn and run before he can get him. So likewise it won’t take a true Christian long to find out our appearance is important, just a let a sinner turn and reject you before they even here your message because of it, and it will have to be addressed.
One more thing about Camouflage. When a hunter wears it, he wears it for one reason, to NOT be seen. The last thing a hunter wants is for the deer to see him. He wants the deer to see something else other than him. And so it should be in our lives, we should not approach our witness, or preaching of the gospel so that we can be seen, but instead so that Christ can be magnified and exalted. (! Corinthians 1:31-That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord) Somehow we tend to sometimes get things out of sorts in our life, we tend to preach and witness, and do things so that we can be seen. What a dangerous error we make. We need to let the world see Jesus, who cares if they ever see us.
(Proper Weapons) There are a few different weapons that we use we hunt. Some men use a long distance rifle, some use a shotgun, and some use bow. Whatever the method used, the hunter has to become very familiar with his weapon. The last thing any hunter wants to be faced with is a deer and then miss the shot or mishandle his weapon to cause him to lose the prize. So the man must get familiar with his weapon. He must understand how to load it, how far it can shoot (range), how to carry it, how to avoid injury to himself, and how to effectually use it. A hunter has to know how to handle his weapon as to not hurt other hunters either, but know who the “enemy” is.
So we as Christians have a weapon as well, the Word of God, the Scriptures. We can use the word of God to reach those afar off (rifle), reach those at a shorter distance (shotgun), or those near to us (bow). We have to learn how to properly handle our Bible so as not to lose the prize when it stands their in front of us. We must get a good understanding and be in constant practice with it. We have to rightly divide and properly compare scripture with Scripture in order to avoid a mishandling. We must understand that the Bible is not a play thing and what it says must be handled with the utmost care. We have to be careful not to use it to hurt other Christians but to help us to convert to sinner. No doubt, the Bible tells us how to live and conduct ourselves, but most of that goes back to not hindering the gospel when we preach (1 Corinthians 9:27) Learn your Bible and be ready to give an answer to every man.
(Persecutions)Lastly, I want to point out one more thing. I don’t care what region of this world you are hunting, the elements will be against you. My father-in-law is from North Dakota and has hunted up there his whole life. It is ridiculously cold up there. The wide open plains will send a wind that will freeze you out of your skin. They also have to look out for bears, wolves and other such predators. I live down in the Southeastern seaboard. Down here, it is not so cold, although it gets cold enough to make us that live here complain. Here we struggle against the mosquitoes, snakes, sand fleas, humidity, and more. When you go to the woods you will have to battle the constant attacks on you. It is a struggle sometimes to sit still, or to not shiver, or sweat to the point of giving an odor, but all the suffering is forgotten when the hunter receives the prize. When the deer steps out into the view of the hunter, the cold is forgotten, the bugs are disregarded, and all he can focus on is the prize in front of him. After the hunt, nothing is nicer than to take the deer with you to the house or hunt club where you can sit down and enjoy a meal and coffee and tell everyone how great it was.
So it is in our Lives. We many times feel as if the entire world is against us(they are). Different ones of us battle different persecutions, but we all have them. You may feel frozen, the “bugs of this world may just bite you, you may have to look out for false teachers and corrupt churches (snakes and wolves), but when the prize steps out in front of you all that is all forgotten. Christian, don’t let the world get you down, soon enough we will go home and we will enjoy a supper with our Savior. We will see the saints who have gone before, and we will share stories with one another of how great it was to serve our Lord. Keep on Christian, Don’t Quit, It’s almost time to go!!