Sensory overload. There aren’t many things that can scramble my brain and make me more tired than big box hunting stores. Sure, I love my trips through Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops and the like, but have about a 45-minute window before getting cross-eyed; especially in the camo clothing section. Nonetheless, rarely do I leave this area empty-handed.
I have all sorts of camo for different terrain, weather, and conditions; uninsulated, insulated, moisture-wicking, scent-control - you name it. Then there is camo designed for timber, grasslands, and a variety of foliage colors. There is even blaze (safety) orange required in many states to help hunters see one another. I’m starting to sound like Forest Gump, I know... As silly as it sometimes seems, the fact remains - it is important to blend in when you hunt. And let’s face it, for many of us, it proudly displays our lifestyle. Our identity.
As hunters, we treasure our relationships with hunting buddies and even the game we pursue. It’s really no wonder that, for both fun and productive reasons, many of us even name the deer we hunt. “I saw old high-brow this morning” or “Curly has gone nocturnal on us” might grace our conversations. Yeah, these are relationships alright. But what about our relationship with God? As a Christian, I have long since acknowledged that often I keep this relationship to myself. I’m spiritually camouflaged.
The Ultimate Personal Relationship
In my mind, my relationship with the Lord is, in fact personal; and I think it needs to be to remain authentic. But should it be hidden? I’m not so sure.
The scenario is common. In the early morning or late evening hours, my eyes see slight movement and, if I look very carefully, there it is. A deer at the edge of a brush line or standing in the tall grass. It is there, well-blended into its surroundings. Much like us; well-blended atop a tree or under a low canopy of limbs and underbrush - Our camo pattern mimics our surroundings. We are still; frozen.
We likewise are often concealed behind a protective pattern in life; one that obscures our outline; it matches our surroundings. We’re camouflage Christians.
Deer hunting is nothing if not a sensory experience; especially regarding our sight. Whether through optics, from game cameras or just plain old straight vision, what we witness in the field is almost as important as what ends up on the back of the truck. If this weren’t true, there wouldn’t be the litany of hunting shows, podcasts, and website forums. Clearly, we love seeing the whitetails and other game we chase. And we love to enthusiastically share what we see with others.
But what about our non-hunting world? You know, the one we spend most of our time in? For me, I know if I was half as excited about sharing my faith as the account of a buck with kicker points, I’d be a pretty decent witness and example for the Lord.
Choosing the Right Pattern
As people of faith, we can find ourselves so well camouflaged that no one can tell the difference. God’s Word gives several warnings against blending in with the world and mimicking its ways. Romans 12:2 says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will”. Perhaps the type of camo we wear in the deer woods matters, but the same goes in our family life, workplace and social lives. From a spiritual standpoint, there should be a clear choice. Though our relationship with our Savior is personal, we need to be willing to stand out a little. I know I can be deficient in this area. We often have to pick our spots, it’s true. However, if nothing else, strive to put forth a Godly example. Be willing to expose yourself. That is, even if it’s not your camo of choice, go blaze orange once and a while when it comes to your faith. Consider standing out.
Based in Texas, Jerald Kopp is President of 1st Light Hunting Journal. His content is largely about hunting strategies and the outdoor lifestyle – often from a Christian perspective. Jerald is an avid outdoorsman with deer hunting and whitetails being by far his greatest passion. In 2005, he established the Empowerment Outfitter Network (EON) – a faith-based non-profit organization that provides hunting opportunities for disabled and terminally-ill children and youth. When not hunting, he spends his time traveling and enjoying life with Amy, his wife of 30 years. Jerald and Amy have two adult daughters and a son-in-law.