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Buck Fever

     I will long remember the opening day of my first deer season.  A member of our hunting party kicked out a nice six-pointer to me which stopped broadside only yards away.  You could not have asked for an easier shot. 
    However, for some reason I could not bring the rifle to my shoulder.  Instead, I shot eight times from the hip hitting dirt and trees a a few feet in front of me.  I watched helplessly as the buck finally bounded out of sight.
    This was my initial and (hopefully) most memorable experience with a severe case of the jitters commonly known as "buck fever."  Perhaps there was a time when you got a touch of the fever yourself.
    Those who are unfortunate enough to fall under the influence of "buck fever" have been known to do such strange things as: shout "bang! bang!," lever unfired rounds on the ground, and yell for a deer to stop without firing a single shot.  I even remember reading of one hunter who downed his deer and then ran to put the tag on.  He ended up with his deer, but two broken legs as well.  In all the excitement he forgot he was in a treestand more than fifteen feet off of the ground!
    Nevertheless, as powerful as "buck fever" may seem, there is a force far stronger at work in our lives.  An energy that frequently explodes and injures everyone with whom it comes in contact.  This power that I'm referring to is not limited to a particular season of the year nor to a select group of people called "hunters."  No, this destructive energy indwells and at times overrides every single member of the human race.  Its name -- the sinful nature.
    But God has not left us helpless.  He has provided a "helper."  There is someone who will take up residence in our life and begin bringing the sinful nature under control.  His name -- the Holy Spirit.
    If we have truly trusted Jesus Christ as our Savior, the Holy Spirit dwells inside of us and seeks to help us live lives that are pleasing to the Lord.  As the apostle Paul told the believers in Rome, "You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.  And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ" (Romans 8:9).

© 1997 Tom Rakow.  All rights reserved.

This devotional is found in Devotions for Hunters and Anglers!