The below Bible illustrations relate to the biblical truth about “the Christian Adventure“. They provide wonderful examples, analogies, anecdotes, and metaphors that help explain, clarify, or justify the biblical truth about life as a Christian. These illustrations not only make this biblical truth easier to understand, but also makes the learning process more enjoyable. Each illustration also includes an amazing creative drawing that further captures the biblical concept graphically.
The Adventurous Life
Adventure is defined as an exciting and uncertain undertaking attended by risk and danger – a remarkable experience where one has been put to the test. We love to watch movies with a brave hero facing impossible odds. No matter how great the risk, we are confident the hero will be victorious in the end.
Christianity can similarly be an exciting and dangerous undertaking attended by risk and peril. And we are assured, just as in the movies, the faithful Christian will be victorious in the end (John 16:33).
God has never said we are to lead a mundane, safe existence – that is usually the life we choose ourselves. When we read the Bible it soon becomes very clear that God has an adventurous heart. He loves watching us bravely face ‘seemingly’ impossible odds – risking uncertainty as we lay everything on the line for our beliefs (simultaneously inspiring those around us).
At times, God may let us experience some close shaves, times of trial, uncertainty and discomfort – often waiting until the very last minute to send in His cavalry. But this is what makes the Christian life exciting. A well-lived adventurous life is a witness to the unbelieving-world, plus it gives our heavenly audience (elect angels) something to cheer.
The Lord is my light and salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 21:1
Running the Victory Lap
When a winning athlete is granted a lap of honour, it is a most joyous occasion. As he or she runs smiling and waving around the arena, proudly holding their country’s flag, their victory is celebrated by many as the athlete has brought glory to their country.
Jesus Christ was victorious at the cross. He paid the complete penalty for our sins and guaranteed eternal salvation for all who desire it, (Romans 6:23, John 3:16). However, Jesus Christ didn’t hang about for his victory lap. Instead, he headed off to build us all a mansion in Heaven (John 14: 1-4). In his absence, he has asked us to do the victory lap for him.
Thus as Christians, our lives should reflect the joyful athlete running the victory lap. When we run around the ‘Arena of Life’ facing its tests and trials, we should do it with the full knowledge that the race has already been won. That no matter how we succeed or fail, our eternal salvation is guaranteed and secured because of Christ’s victorious work on the cross. ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works,lest anyone should boast’. Ephesians 2: 8-9:
We should run proud and carefree and hold high the flag of Christ for everyone to see. When the crowd see our joyful life and the flag we are holding (especially undergoing adversity), they will understand whom the victory belongs. Happiness is contagious and people want to celebrate with a winner. A joyous, relaxed, grace-filled life is a beacon to those living in darkness.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
Explorers go to remote parts of the world to find out what’s there. They need great determination and courage to face the unknown, as well as an insatiable curiosity to discover what’s over the next horizon.
In colonial days, explorers were sent to find rich, fertile lands for future settlement. Once they had made such discoveries, they were then very eager to get back and give a glowing report on what they had found.
God loves an adventurous spirit that trusts in Him. We should all be Spiritual Explorers – seeking, investigating, examining and discovering. We should have an insatiable curiosity about our Maker and His plan for our lives. Everyday is a new opportunity for exploration and unless we go searching, nothing will be discovered. Yes, there will be times of discouragement and exhaustion, and even times that we will be tempted to turn back. But we should foster an unrelenting resolve to investigate the frontiers of God’s Word and the courage and confidence to face the unknown as we hold fast to His promises.
Then, when we discover the lands of Grace and how rich and fertile they are, we should eagerly rush back to tell all who will listen. For those who ask for direction, we should confidently be able to map out the way on how to cross the barrier of sin (through faith in Christ) and settle ‘for eternity’ in the golden lands of Grace. (2 Timothy 1:7, 1 Chronicles 28:20)
Film of Life
We are the star of our own Film of Life and we have a contract which allows us to choose who will be the director. We may decide to star and direct our own life, but the stress at times will be unbearable trying to control everything happening behind the scenes. Inevitably our life’s performance will suffer and in the end we will make a B-grade tragedy / horror of our life.
Alternatively, we can ask God to direct our Film of Life. Only He has the right qualifications to take charge of a combined – thriller / adventure / romance. God is a perfect director and has a perfect tailor-made script for each of us. He knows exactly how long a scene should last; He knows all the best angles; His knowledge of lighting and locations is incomparable and He handles all the problems arising behind the scenes with graceful ease. True, at times God can be a tough director, but this is only to bring out the very best performance from His stars. God has also promised that in every film He directs the leading stars will receive Oscars (eternal rewards). (Proverbs 3:5,6)
However, we must not forget about Satan, the very first star to sack God and direct his own life. Satan wants all the credit and is now in the process of making the biggest box-office-flop of all time. He is also keen for us to take a supporting role in his picture.
Different Species of Birds
God has created a world with many different species of birds, each with its own distinct colours, characteristics and call. Through creation, we can learn that God clearly loves variety (Gen 1:25). Yet despite this knowledge, we are often guilty of thinking that when we become Christians we should all be white swans.
We should then perhaps ask ourselves how many times God has wanted a Christian eagle that speaks eagle, to witness to the eagles – a Christian owl that knows the owls’ ways, to bare testimony to the owls – a Christian wren to speak fluently to the wrens? Unfortunately, if all God’s birds are pretending to be white swans, none of their own species will take them seriously.
As Christians, we should stop pretending to be something we are not and realise God made us the way we are for a reason – to be missionaries in our own occupations and recreations.
Whoever we are, whatever we do, we should do it professionally as unto God. As we grow in Grace, we should develop our own individual personality and let God worry if we fit in or not. When we have our eyes firmly set on God, we will start glided through life, tranquil and relaxed, filled with compassion and inner strength. Then, at the appropriate time, God will raise us up so those around will look and wonder how we maintain an inner peace amongst life’s ups and downs. When they question, we shall have the answer in a language they understand and honest personality they admire. (1 Corinthians 12: 4-6, 19-21)
When a sponge comes in contact with water, it absorbs the liquid and expands. When it is squeezed the water is expelled. If a sponge is not in the vicinity of fluids it eventually dries out and all the squeezing in the world will not produce a drop of liquid.
In our Christian life, God wishes us to be spiritual sponges, absorbing waters of wisdom (God’s word) and liquids of grace (Christ’s characteristics). When the pressures in life give us a squeeze, wisdom and grace should flow out to form rivers of living water to sustain those around us. However, if we have been too busy to absorb spiritual fluids (study God’s Word), when pressure gives us the squeeze it will soon be evident to everyone that we are a dry sponge with no grace or wisdom residing within us.
Jesus stood and cried out, saying “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37, 38.
An Impenetrable Fortress
In the ancient world, a fortress was built to give soldiers the battle’s advantage by keeping them safely out of their enemy’s reach. When attacked, it would be senseless for soldiers to have a fortress yet choose to fight outside its walls.
Whether we like it or not, a spiritual war is raging. God has built us an impenetrable fortress. The walls are His impregnable promises. He commands from within and offers a spiritual suit of armour for each of His Christian soldiers. Yet often, when the enemy is not in sight, we don’t feel the need to remain vigilant. We ignore God’s commands, take off our armour and walk naked from the fortress in search of personal gratification – usually, straight into an ambush.
Armed only with our own resources, it isn’t long before we are completely subdued and sustain many injuries of: disillusionment, misery, doubt, depression, worry, jealousy, bitterness, fear and hatred. We then typically run back to God’s fortress crying, ‘I was attacked, why didn’t You help me?’
God’s answer is always the same, ‘Soldier, you forsook My protection and left My fortress. You chose to go alone into Life’s Battlefield. It was you who deserted your post – I have remained at mine.’ The Gates of Grace will then open. ‘Quickly, get back behind My walls, put on your armour and pick up your sword.’ (Psalms 18: 1-3. Psalms 91: 1-2. Eph 6: 10-13).
Working Side By Side
When people voluntarily work side by side it brings them closer. When you work with someone, you really get to know them.
Parents know how hard it is to encourage their children to assist around the house. On those rare occasions when they help with a happy heart, it is pure delight to the parents and is frequently a bonding experience.
Alternately, when their children are uncooperative and sulky – it brings no pleasure to either party. It is usually easier for the parents to do the work themselves. Sadly, the children have deprived themselves of the opportunity to improve themselves and bond with their parents.
God doesn’t need our help in the ‘Kitchen of Life’. We may think He does, but God is all-powerful and we only get in His way. When we help God we are like little children; no matter how good we think we are and how important our service is, we generally make a horrible mess of things. God usually needs to tidy up after our tidy up. With this in mind we should seriously consider the following questions:
God is omnipotent – He can do all things; so, if we are not helping out with a happy heart – why are we helping at all?
God owns the riches of the universe – He doesn’t need our money to accomplish His purpose; so, if we aren’t giving freely – why are we giving at all?
Working with the wrong attitude or from guilt, brings no pleasure to God. He has given us an amazing opportunity to be part of His work, and in so doing we begin to know Him better. God understands that two people voluntarily working side-by-side is an excellent relationship builder. His greatest desire for us with Christian service is to improve ourselves spiritually by getting closer to Him.
Our Christian service may benefit others, but the one it was primarily designed to benefit was ourselves. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7
Hitting the Mark
A marksman is defined as someone who shoots with great skill and accuracy.
We are all marksmen aiming at our own goals and objectives. Some people are better than others at hitting their mark.
As marksmen, we can go through life shooting at our own targets (sometimes hitting and sometimes missing) – or we have the choice of handing our arrows to God.
When God starts overshooting our targets, we can’t be blamed to think He has missed the mark. But God is a perfect marksman and never misses. One day we will come to realise He was never aiming at our target – but a target far beyond our range of vision. As we pass it, we will see God hit the target squarely in the centre.
Mankind is often too short-sighted to see the targets of an eternal God. Sometimes our arrows (purpose in life) will hit the target (bear fruit) long after we are dead. On handing our arrows to God we should keep in mind that just because we can’t see where God sent our arrow doesn’t mean He didn’t hit the mark.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6.a
Missing the Boat
Traditionally, a naval ship’s purpose is to serve and bring glory to king and country. In order to do this, every ship needs to be manned by a captain and a crew. Each person has his own specific and individual duties that are necessary for the ship’s daily function. The ship’s success will be determined by the captain’s focus, leadership and preparedness and the crew’s training, eagerness and dedication. Ships that fail to reach their objectives are usually captained by a man seeking personal glory, or occupied by a mutinous crew.
Every ship is given missions for the glory of king and country. Some will be accomplished solo and some as part of the fleet. On their return home, rewards and decorations await those ships that successfully complete their missions.
A church is like a ship of the navy. Its purpose is to serve and bring glory to God in Heaven.
God has commanded us to board one of His ships and become a member of the crew. We are directed to find a church that is fulfilling its spiritual missions and use our spiritual gifts to help that ship reach its objectives. The more people that are on deck ready to serve, the more God can accomplish His glorious purpose through them. Historically, you will note that Christian nations have prospered but when they turn from Him they soon go into decline. Today, the Church is diminishing in Western Nations, but rapidly expanding in nations like China and India.
There will come a day, when we are in Heaven, where everyone is applauding the successful missions of certain ships (churches). Let’s make sure that we aren’t one of the regretful people saying, ‘I could have been aboard that ship and been part of their successful spiritual assignments. But alas, I was too busy with my own affairs and didn’t want to risk leaving the comfort and safety of the harbour.’
Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” Matthew 9:37
Building an Ark
For 120 years Noah built the ark. For 120 years Noah was ridiculed for building the ark. From the public’s perspective it was an immensely stupid undertaking. Only with the arrival of the flood did people stop considering Noah a fool and fearfully recognise his years of faith were well justified.
As Christians, God will reveal to us personal undertakings that make as much sense as building an ark in a desert. We may receive a splendid vision of ‘what-could-be’ and inexplicably know how to achieve it. It may be a call to ministry, an irresistible urge to be a missionary, or something entirely individual like Eric Liddell running in the Olympics or C.S. Lewis writing a book.
However, after a time, it will be a great test of faith to remain true to that ‘still small voice’ of original inspiration. Most people around us will not see the sense in what we are doing and quickly tell us so. Sadly, when we start to listen to those voices of ridicule and stop, the world wins another victory. But as with Noah, we must persevere and let God defend us when needed. Only when it starts to rain will the voices of ridicule see that our years of faith have been well justified.
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:17
Roller-Coasting Through Life
A roller-coaster is a thrilling ride at an amusement park where you speed along an erratic track that rises, curves and drops. Since you are not in control you have two options: grit your teeth until it’s over – or sit back and enjoy the ride.
Let’s face facts; we are on a little planet spinning completely out of control. Everyday could be our last! When you factor all the variables, each day we live is truly miraculous – a gift not to be taken for granted.
Yet many of us are unhappy. We are frustrated or frightened with all the things in life that are out of our control. We put so much effort into trying to control our various circumstances, the people around us and what others think of us. Then, just when we think we have it under control – it all unravels.
Life is like riding a roller-coaster; it has many ups and down with lots of unexpected twists and turns. Some don’t enjoy the ride because they can’t control the direction in which they’re heading. Like the roller-coaster, life has no steering wheel, but this does not mean it is out-of-control. God has designated a route for each of us to travel and His plan has many dips, curves and rises.
To fully appreciate life, we should give up trying to control the direction it takes and simply sit back, trust in God and enjoy the ride. Remember, with all its ups and downs, life is just a short amusement ride before entering eternity.
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1
To Fear or Not to Fear
Fear is a state of mind caused by a sense of impending danger – whether real or imagined.
Amazing opportunities are missed through fear. Those who have phobia of spiders and bugs often avoid the outdoors and miss tremendous experiences. A fear of rejection or intimacy hinders a good relationship. A fear of public speaking may prevent one from taking leadership roles. A fear of travel and the unknown stops one from experiencing amazing places. Fear of failure stops people trying.
God does not want us to live a life of fear. He states many times in the Bible: “DO NOT FEAR – I am with you!” (Gen 26:24, Ex 14:13, Josh 8:1, Luke 12:32,). Fear is a sin; it shows a lack of trust in God and His ability to handle our every situation. We may not have the power to overcome our fears – but God does.
The undeniable courage of David springs from his trust in God, ‘The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’ (Psalms 118:6). As with David, God has incredible plans for each one of us.
Often, the reason nothing eventful happens in our lives is fear has become an obstacle. We fear to take a risk or try something new because something bad may happen. In order to move forward we must give our fears to God trusting that He has ‘all things’ under control. God must become more real than our fears.
God has promised that we will not be tested beyond our ability if we stay focused on Him (Romans 8:28). When we truly have confidence in God there is an absence of fear, resulting in courage and the ability to relax under pressure – even when faced with our worst fears.
As Christians, God has even taken away the excuse for ‘fear of death’, (1 Cor 15:55) and when we are not afraid of dying, we can really start living.
Hebrew 13:5-6 states: Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say” “the Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
Hansel and Grethel
Hansel and Grethel were two children abandoned deep in the forest by their parents. After many days lost and hungry, they stumble across a cottage made of bread and cakes which they immediately feast upon. If they weren’t so hungry they may have realised the house was a trap and could have avoided the witch who wanted to fatten and eat them.
Hunger drives people to do irrational things, just as the ‘hunger-for-affection’ will do the same. In times of loneliness we are very vulnerable; this is when we are ripe to fall into the arms of deceitful people and unscrupulous organisations. When we are starving for a bit of human attention, all it takes is a smile and a bit of personal interest to suck us in. Because we desperately want to be liked we don’t question the integrity and motivation of the person / organisation that is being so sweet to us. Then, before we know it, we are trapped in a bad relationship or locked into a shifty organisation and all our time and resources are being devoured.
Hansel and Grethel escaped from their bad situation. Unfortunately the fairy-tale ending doesn’t always happen in the real world. Even if one does escape from their bad relationship, organisation or cult, there can be lifelong scars.
Because of this, prevention is far better than the cure. When we find ourselves starving for the bread of human affection, do as Christ did when tested in the desert, (note that Satan waited for Christ to become ravenous with hunger before he tempted Him). How did Christ pass the temptations? He focused on God – He kept looking Up.
When we focus on God, we realise how much we are loved every moment of every day – He does not forsake us. When we are truly occupied with Christ, loneliness will not take hold and overwhelm us. Our hunger to be loved will be completely satisfied.
The Bible states: ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ Matthew 4:4.
For thousands of years there have been stories of man’s adventurous quest for fabled treasure. Few things capture the imagination like the daring hunt for a magic lamp, a golden fleece, a legendary sword, a holy grail, a dragon’s hoard, a mummy’s tomb or pirates’ treasure. We love to see a hero find a dusty old map that promises great riches. We love to see them challenge all odds to find it. Throw in a devious villain, a few traps and a romance; there is a story that will transcend the ages.
Too many of us think this sort of adventure is only reserved for movie heroes. Yet God has called us to be the heroes in our own lives. He has given us a spiritual adventure unrivaled in all of Hollywood. God has even included an old map (the Bible) to guide us through insurmountable obstacles across the terrain of life. This map points out the way to the greatest treasure the world has ever known (salvation) and ‘X’ does mark the spot. If we start digging at the Cross (believe in Christ), God has guaranteed we will find the most extraordinary treasures (eternal life and eternal rewards).
We must view Christianity as life’s big adventure and go after these ultimate treasures, letting no odds stand in our way. We have spiritual-weapons, (Ephesians 6: 10-18) to protect us from a devious villain (Satan) and aid in rescuing loved ones and others in need of salvation.
Throughout the Bible we learn that God loves an adventurous spirit. If we find Christianity dull, then we are not living the Christian way life God intends but a shallow substitute. There are so many life-treasures for us to claim and God encourages us to hunt for them. The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalms 27:1
A Fairytale Life
In essence, fairytales are sad stories that miraculously reach a happy ending. In between the heartbreak and the happy ending, the hero or heroine must endure many hardships and obstacles.
In a fairytale, every character is ‘written in’ with a purpose. For Cinderella the wicked-stepmother is there to test and the fairy-godmother is there to encourage. There are also many minor roles (like the carriage driver) simply ‘written in’ to aid the main characters to reach their ‘happily ever after’.
God has made us the center character in our own fairytale. For those who trust in Him, God has promised that a ‘happily-ever-after’ waits for each of us in eternity (John 3:16). However, in life, there will be many hardships and obstacles to first overcome – but isn’t this what makes a tale worth reading?
Our life is not a series of random events; every person in our circumstances has a purpose. God does not ‘write in’ someone without a reason. While many people are with us for only a page, others are there from start to finish. Some will be there to encourage and lift up, while others will be there solely to test.
Like the main characters in a fairytale, we must not give up – even through the darkest chapters. What if Cinderella ‘threw in the towel’ half-way through her story? What if she became so embittered and disillusioned she told her fairy-godmother to take a hike in her pumpkin? If that happened, Cinderella would have failed her own fairytale – and so would we. If we gracefully persevere to the end – only then will it all make sense and we will see the amazing way God has directed our life. When we start seeing people and our circumstances through God’s eyes, we develop ‘Christ-like’ patience and contentment.
One last thought to consider: What part are we playing in other people’s story? Are we an encouraging fairy-godmother or are we a discouraging wicked-stepmother?
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Happily Ever After
A fairytale normally concludes with ‘… and they lived happily ever after’. The reader is then left to assume that the main characters live blissfully to the end of their days.
God has said to those who have believed in Christ, their ‘happily-ever-after’ begins when they die. So we can conclude that while we are still alive, we remain in the centre of our own personal fairytale – filled with adventure and misadventure, heroes and villains, victories and failures, trials and tests. (Hebrews 11:13-16)
We may eventually retire from work, but at no point do we retire from God’s story for our life. Every moment we are alive is a sign that there is more to be written, more to overcome, more to learn and more to accomplish. If we are alive, God still has a purpose for us.
We can rest assured that God knows the perfect time to finish our tale. For those in Christ, it will always end, ‘…and they DIED happily ever after in heaven’.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Believing We Are
What is our mindset? A prince acts like a prince because he believes he is a prince. This results from being told from birth that he is royalty and at some point he accepts it and acts accordingly.
When a girl is often told by her peers she is beautiful, she will act with confidence and self-worth.
Sadly, the opposite is also true; we can believe we are ‘nothing’ because we accept negative comments. Often, if we believe we are nothing, we act like it and allow people to treat us accordingly.
As Christians, we are born again as joint heirs into the Royal Family of God because of Christ’s efficacious work on the Cross. (Rom 8:16-17, Phil 3:20). What does this mean? We are told we are divine royalty but most of don’t act like we believe it. We go through life filled with worry, feeling unloved and believing we are nothing important.
When we do start believing we are sons and daughters of God we will also act accordingly:
We will believe we are treasured and someone of worth. John 16:27 states: “For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and believed I came forth from God.”
We will have an unshakable confidence amidst the battles of life because we believe that all-powerful God will be with us. Hebrews 13:5 states: For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
We will speak boldly knowing our Heavenly Father will vindicate us if necessary. Romans 8:31states: If God is for us, who can be against us?
We will be relaxed and joyous because our Heavenly Father governs all the laws of nature and owns the riches of the universe. Psalm 68:19 states: Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation!
Finally, when we truly believe we are Spiritual Royalty, joint heirs with our Lord Jesus, the result we be the mindset of inner peace. Isaiah 26:3 states: You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.
Clash of Schedules
A lady had an important job interview, a school reunion and an exciting date all in the one day. To fit it in, she scheduled everything to the last minute; however, on arriving at the bus stop she found that all bus drivers had scheduled a strike.
To reach certain objectives in life it’s imperative to plan ahead. Yet, have we stopped to consider that at certain times our schedule may be interfering with God’s schedule? God is the busiest Being in the universe and has a very tight agenda. God is trying to bring the best outcomes for you and me whilst respecting our human freewill. He knows our needs better than we do and has arranged everything to happen at exactly the right time and place.
When God suddenly brings certain circumstances or people into our lives, it may be a huge inconvenience to us and our plans, but we must be flexible and understand that these situations have arrived on cue – according to God’s schedule.
We should ask ourselves: which schedule is more important – ours or God’s? Are we too busy with our own plans to have God interrupt us with His?
It’s good to have a disciplined routine, but at the same time we must remember to be sensitive to life’s daily interruptions. We should not be so timetabled that there is no room for God’s unfathomable schedule. When things don’t work out to plan, we should relax in the knowledge that God is working something into our circumstances that will ultimately be for the betterment of ourselves and those around us.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 5: 5-6
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