ROMANS 8:12-17: “So then, brothers and sisters, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, because if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs — heirs of God and coheirs with Christ — if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” CSB
OBSERVATION: How can I live a victorious life each day? How can I walk in the freedom of forgiveness, the power of His pardon, and the example of His life? Like others, I have tried and failed so many times. Is there any hope?
I have learned to love and appreciate animals through the caring eyes and heart of my wife. During our married life we have rescued everything from a baby crow, a tortoise, several dogs and cats, lizards, and the list goes on and on. And as I have learned to love animals, I have also become a student of their behavior.
We have had a lot of birds in our family. We now have an African grey parrot and she is really a special bird. Having birds in our home has made me appreciate birds in the wild. There are two birds that I especially love to observe. They are the sparrow and the eagle.
The sparrow is a wonderful little bird that works really hard. There have been many times, while at McDonalds, I have observed them working hard, just to get a piece of a fallen french fry. And if you toss a few in their direction, you suddenly get a host of them vying for the treasure that lies before them. Their little wings flap at a rapid rate. They do not fly for long periods of time, as their little wings appear to need rest. Their’s is a life filled with activity and effort.
The eagle is another thing altogether. In our new home our back sliding glass door looks out on the 16th fairway of a golf course. One morning we looked out and noticed a very large bird with a white head. We wondered what it could be, as we were new to Central Florida. When we looked more closely we saw that it was a bald eagle. We watched in wonder at this majestic bird. Then it took a couple of hops, a few flaps of its majestic wings, and it was in flight. Its flight took to soaring, and then it was gone.
A sparrow struggles and flaps his wings incessantly, An eagle rises on the current of the wind and soars. This is a beautiful picture of our spiritual lives. We can live in constant effort and struggle, or we can learn how to soar through life through the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul makes it very clear.
- “So then, brothers and sisters, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, because if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
Just as the sparrow cannot soar above the heavens because its wingspan will not allow it to, so we cannot soar above the power of sin in our own human effort. It is not enough to know that we have been freed from sin by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We must also learn how to overcome sin in our daily lives. And the reality is – we can’t – BUT HE CAN! It is only by the Spirit of God in our lives that we can put to death the deeds of our old sinful life and live.
How do we do this? We need to stop flapping our wings, trying to overcome the difficulties in life through our own wisdom and human effort, and learn to soar above these things on the wings of faith. We do this by listening to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit as He speaks to us through the Word of God.
- “For all those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!”
We need to develop an intimacy with God through the indwelling presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We do this as we abide in His Word, continue in prayer, and live a life of worship. There is a difference between working and abiding. There is effort in both that is required. However, one puts us at the feet of Jesus, the other on the pathway of self effort, exhaustion, and failure. Remember the words of Jesus that He spoke to Martha.
- “But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.” The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:40-42 CSB
Martha was living her life like a sparrow. Mary was living her life like an eagle. Martha was tired, frustrated, angry, and upset. Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus being renewed and receiving from the Spirit the life and power of Jesus’ words which could not be taken away. Both took effort, but only one led to life. And it is life that the Lord is desiring to bring into our hearts and daily existence! It is not only life – but life abundantly!
- “The Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs — heirs of God and coheirs with Christ — if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.”
- “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never becomes faint or weary; there is no limit to his understanding. He gives strength to the faint and strengthens the powerless. Youths may become faint and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not become weary, they will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31 CSB
Lord, you love the little sparrow, and you love me. However, Your desire for my life is that I learn how to soar on the wings (of faith) like eagles. You desire that I learn each day how to walk in Your steps through the leading and empowering of the Holy Spirit in my life. Pour out your Spirit upon me today – and help me to soar!
In Jesus Name!