Chipped and Peeled by Randy Rowley 3/24/23 ©


As anyone who’s duck hunted with me knows, I have a hodgepodge of decoys.  I bought most of them on clearance at Academy during several of their after-Christmas/30% off sales.  I’d buy a half dozen or dozen of their Game Winner brand decoys, usually, redheads or pintails, each year to either add to my collection or replace casualties from the ongoing season that were too damaged to repair, usually from people stepping on decoys while they were moving around in my boat.

The problem with buying decoys piecemeal, as my finances forced me to, is that there were variations on the Academy Game Winner decoys from year to year.  Sometimes the hen redheads were rust-colored; other times they were brown, and one year they were mustard green.  Game Winner finally solved the problem by introducing their ‘Carver’s Series’ decoys, which were more consistent, lifelike, and thicker, with a $10/box higher price tag.  The other problem with, especially the pre-Carver’s Series Game Winner decoys, is the tendency for their paint to chip and peel off.

After years of frustration, I convinced myself that buying better quality decoys would solve the chipping and peeling problem.  So, off to Cabela’s I went.  I bought two boxes of Greenhead Gear drake decoys – a ½ dozen canvasbacks and a ½ dozen buffleheads.

After I made it home, I opened the boxes with considerable excitement!  I quickly saw that they were significantly heavier than my Game Winner decoys.  Their weight was due to their weighted keels, thicker plastic, and the canvasbacks’ larger size.  I appreciated that I wouldn’t have to screw four-ounce strap weights to their keels to make them weighted as I did with my pre-Carver’s series Game Winner decoys.  They also looked very lifelike.  I hoped their price, which was more than double the Game Winner decoys’ price, would be worth it.  I ‘Texas Rigged’ them with four-ounce egg sinkers and six feet of decoy line, put them on carabiner-style clips, and hung them in my garage.

But I didn’t fully consider my boat’s space limitations.  I quickly realized I could bring 12 canvasbacks and buffleheads or 18 redheads on duck hunts.  As I belong to the ‘more is better’ school, my new decoys usually didn’t see the light of day, except on our FCS ‘all-decoys-on-deck’ coastal duck hunts.

Even though I only put them on the water usually once a year, to my disappointment, I began to see that the paint had begun to chip and peel off them after just a couple of hunts/years.  It wasn’t long before the black plastic they were made of began to show through.  I couldn’t believe it!  How could decoys that cost more than twice what my cheap decoys cost be of poorer quality?

Like new decoys, many new Christians look fantastic immediately after accepting Jesus as their Savior and asking him for forgiveness and repenting (turning from their sins and to God).  Many have a glow about them after being redeemed and experiencing joy that isn’t dependent on happenings and the peace that surpasses all understanding (see Philippians 4:6-7).  They exemplify 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NASB), which says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

Unfortunately, for some new Christians, after facing real-life trials, their new creation paint job starts to chip and peel – their glow fades, and the peace and joy they had leaves, often from either not having deep roots or getting choked out by the thorns of life.

Mark chapter 4 recounts that Jesus began to teach a large crowd that had gathered around him at the banks of the Sea of Galilee (what the Bible often refers to as ‘the lake’).  He said in Mark 4:3-8 (NLT), “‘Listen!  A farmer went out to plant some seed.  As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it.  Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock.  The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow.  But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died.  Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain.  Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!’”

Later, when they were alone, he told his disciples in Mark 4:17b what he meant by the shallow and rocky soil.  He described it as those who receive his message joyfully and grow quickly, but since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long and fall away as soon as they have trials or are persecuted for being Christians.

In Mark 4:18-19, Jesus told his disciples what he meant by the thorns.  He described them as the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things.  These thorns kill the plant that springs up from the seed, and it never produces its fruit.  A Christian could have a ‘perfect life’ with Christian parents and receive Jesus as a child before they could become a slave to sin.  They could also have a Christian spouse and a nice church and have few crises or setbacks.  But such people may experience temptations and hear arguments they’re not prepared for when they go off to college or take a job out of town.

Romans 12:1-2 (NASB) answers the questions of how to avoid having shallow roots and how to avoid getting choked out by the thorns of life.  It says, “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Renewing our minds means focusing on God’s values.

For some new ‘converts,’ their fancy new paint job is just a thin coating covering the darkness and hollowness existing beneath them.  Sadly, their half-hearted ‘conversion’ was nothing more than them ‘walking down an aisle’ trying to fix themselves with no intention of a lifetime commitment to Jesus.

Like a good decoy paint job, a true commitment to Jesus isn’t for display – it’s meant to be used.  It’s a devotion and allegiance to Jesus that stands firm when the temptations of this world try to burn us and the trials of this world attempt to choke us out.

Jesus paid the highest price for us – with his life.  When we commit ourselves to him, we’re covered and saturated with his precious blood and re-molded from the inside out.  God’s mercy and grace have redeemed us from the mold the world has sought to place us into and made it possible for us to live in triumph over sin.

Romans 5:16-19 (NLT) says, “And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin.  For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins.  For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many.  But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.  Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.  Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners.  But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.”

When we make peace with God, we remove ourselves from the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin (rebellion).  Jesus’ sacrifice returned us to Adam and Eve’s status in the garden before their fall, which allows God to see us as righteous (justified), holy (sacred), and blameless.

Technicians pour paint into liquid fiberglass when making boat hulls.  The paint is not just spread over the fiberglass – it permeates it, which enables it to last a lifetime.  Likewise, true faith permeates our entire beings, which enables us to make it last our lifetimes.

Satan wants to clip us with other Christians whose paint has chipped and peeled.  Don’t let him.  Your paint will last a lifetime by standing firm, being a living sacrifice to God, and renewing your mind.

Ken Miller and Randy, standing by Randy’s boat filled with his decoys

Categories : Devotionals

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