(For Part 1: https://bit.ly/3eyidig)
In Part 1, I described how God pointed me to a pair of mourning doves; how I was like them; and how, while this is understandable at a time like this, I must not stay there. He showed me that it’s time to trade the mourning dove identity for that of an eagle. As a believer, I always have hope – great hope that transcends this world’s trauma and turmoil. I was made to exhibit hope!
I’m sure God wasn’t saying every believer should be so victorious that they never mourn again. He knows we are human! After praying about this, however, I believe He is saying we must shed the identity of perpetual mourner and move to an eagle identity. If we fail in this, we cannot live the uncommon life of an Eagle Christian in this critical hour. We were made to fly majestically above the storms and to make a real difference for Christ. We were born for now!
The eagle has many aspects of their nature from which to draw inspiration. I am choosing a few that relate to our nature as Eagle Christians.
EAGLES RECEIVE TRAINING
Let’s begin with the young eagles – the eaglets. They are destined to fly high, but this is not automatic. They undergo a learning process. In Deut. 32:11, God says He is “like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions.”
Eagle parents show lots of tender affection to their young. They nurture, protect, and “hover” over them. But the time comes when Mama “stirs up its nest.” This stirring is a necessary to eaglet training. If their nest is not made uncomfortable, they may stay and never develop. The parents know when it is time for the eaglets to grow up and stop being dependent on them for everything. Once the nest is stirred up, Mama prods her eaglets out. They hop and flap their wings around the nest.
Where do they go from here? There are a couple of scenarios given: (1) They are weak and feeble and cannot fly, so Mama eagle takes them upon her wings and supports them while they try and fail. She keeps at this until they acquire strength and confidence to begin flying. (2) They are fearful outside the nest. They don’t want to move, so Mama eagle pushes them from the cliff! They shriek and flap their wings, but she swoops down and catches them. She repeats these training exercises -- catching them, shaking them off into the air, and catching them again until they begin to fly.
The first scenario seems kinder, of course. In any case, for a few months she will continue to assist them – reassuring, guiding, and helping them to gain strength and confidence. They study their parents – how they perch, take off, glide, and land. Soon they are honing their skills and learning to take longer and loftier flights.
Sometimes we are doubleminded. We want to fly like the eagle, but then again, like the eaglet, we prefer our nest. It may become confining, dirty, and unfit, but it is home, and here is safety and comfort. We like the idea of maturity, but conquering fears and confronting dangers seem a lot to ask of us.
Nevertheless, God loves us and will not leave us in an ineffective state of just waiting to be fed. He wants us to grow up and awaken to our destiny. So, He disturbs our nest and perhaps even pushes us into what seems like a freefall. We thought we understood enough to get by, but He has big things to teach us outside the nest – lessons in character, trust, holding to His truth, and yielding to His Spirit’s guidance. He’s training us to rise victoriously in faith to conquer.
As our lessons commence, we might cry, “Hey, this isn’t love; this isn’t fair!” But, despite how we perceive it, this IS love, and it IS fair. Would God really be fair if He permitted us to sit idling our life away, pretending this is the Christian life, but secretly wishing things were somehow different? His nurture includes tough lessons, but we must know that He never clutches us in His claws to crush us. No, He lets us ride on His wings so we can learn to navigate the heavens!
Leaders, mentors, fathers and mothers in the faith should know that they are not called simply to spoon-feed us and make us happy. Too much of that has gone on today. Instead, they must help us to grow spiritually sound and mature so we can claim our birthright and mount up with wings as eagles. They must always point us heavenward and say, “There’s your destiny!”
EAGLES FLY HIGH
Eagles like the high places. They roost and nest in the tallest tree in a territory or on high cliffs. When they fly, they can reach an altitude of 10,000 ft. and higher. Soaring at these heights, they can glide for hours on wind currents while expending little energy. What amazing creatures!
Christians are meant to fly high, too. We are meant to move out of this world’s lower realms into the Spirit’s higher ones. That is where real freedom is found, where we find the victorious faith that overcomes the world. (See 1 Jn. 5:4.)
For faith to grow, it must be exercised. By faith, God wants us to go to the next spiritual level and then to the next. To what level do you have faith to ascend? These are increasingly perilous times; what seemed solid now quakes beneath us so that only what cannot be shaken will remain (See Heb. 12:27.) All the more reason to fly high! Fears may hinder you, but they are an obstacle to conquer. Don’t allow yourself to wallow in unbelief, bound to a low level of expectancy. God can build upon a tiny bit of faith – like a mustard seed. Use what you have, and He will give more.
Once we taste that risen life, we change. In that higher realm, we see that our life is held up by the wind of His grace, not by our own effort. We learn to look down on the cares, trials, and clamor of life beneath us. And though we be surrounded by a world of woe, we can thank God, praise Him, rejoice, transcend, reign with Christ. This is the life of an Eagle Christian. Others look up at us and yearn for this risen life, too.
EAGLES FLY ALONE
But not always. Sometimes an eagle is with another eagle or follows others on their way to a feeding ground. You won’t find them blending in with a flock, however, or cavorting with smaller birds.
Of course, as Christians, we are called as a family, to fellowship and build each other up. Yet, there is a sense in which we, too, must fly solo. . . but not as those who leave the Church or who never intersect with the world.
In a time like this, a cacophony of voices drowns out God’s voice. Right now, we are deluged with messages like “Listen to this before it is taken down!” That would be fine if it were not #100 . . . for the week! Experts have so many conflicting opinions. Voices on all sides of every issue are getting bolder and more audacious. Meanwhile, so often the Church listens either to old regurgitated messages or highly inventive new ones. . . not to God’s voice! In an already perilous time, this is exceedingly dangerous. We really need to pull away and hear God! If we do not, we will forget about being an Eagle Christian.
Sometimes God gives us a dream for our life that others neither understand nor appreciate. They would steal it from us, deeming it absurd and urging us to stay stuck in provincial safety. This forces us either to surrender to them or to fly alone awhile to learn more about His nature, will, and purpose for our life. Although we are blessed when we find a companion or mentor who encourages us in God’s way, Eagle Christians have learned that they must sometimes go it alone for the upward calling.
The Bible is replete with stories of fruitful ministry that sprang from time spent secluded with God. Of course, our greatest example is our Lord’s. Immediately, after He was baptized, the Spirit sent Jesus to the desert for 40 days. He returned empowered to begin His mission to save the world. Many times, He was in solitude during those ministry years. Moses went up the mountain to be with God and came down radiant and carrying God’s Commandments. Jeremiah said he never sat with revelers but sat alone with God’s hand on him. He was one of God’s greatest prophets. After Paul’s conversion, he spent 3 years in the desert with God and emerged to begin his world-changing ministry. Anna spent most of her life worshiping, fasting, and praying day and night in the Temple. She heralded Christ’s coming! (Mark 1:9-12, 35; Ex. 34:29; Gal. 1:11-24; Luke 2:36-38; Jer. 15:15).
This is a new day. We have not been this way before. Quality time alone with God is more critical to our spiritual lives and ministries than ever. If we refuse to take heed, a thousand distracting voices, pressures, and fears will drain hope from us, weighing and even chaining us down. We must not let that happen.
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isa 40:31).
PRAYER: Lord, “weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” I have wept. Now it is time to greet a new day with hope and expectation. I don’t want to be one sitting safely tucked away in safety making little difference. I don’t want to let this world drag me down; I want to soar victoriously as an Eagle Christian. Help me to surrender to Your training, to ascend in faith and fly high, and even to fly alone when needed. I declare that by Your grace I will not be earthbound, for I am destined for Your Kingdom heights. Thank you, Jesus! Amen!
I had not intended to make this a three-part series, but I still have two more eagle qualities to share with you. If you want to be an Eagle Christian, you won’t want to miss the inspiring article I will post next week.
If this blessed you, please pass it on to bless others. Please share helpful insights, input, comments below.