The Eagle can give us hope. We live in a world without hope right now, and I believe that Jesus is not only the light of the world, He is also the hope of all mankind. So into this climate of fear, I want to speak a message of hope, and like the prophet Isaiah, I believe that we can learn a lot of how we should live in this COVID, fearful, hopeless world from studying Eagles.
Every since I heard the song Desperado I have been a fan of the Eagles! I remember standing on an escarpment with Bill Newman watching an eagle for hours, and when I think of Eagles, I am reminded of that great passage…
Isaiah 40:30-31 (ESV)
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
I think our entire planet is weary, exhausted and without hope right now, but we have a message that, if we wait on the Lord, we will mount up on wings as Eagles, we will run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint.
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
Proverbs 30:18-19 (ESV)
Three things are too wonderful for me; four I do not understand:
the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a virgin.
Let’s concentrate on the eagle rather than the man with a virgin. Eagles are remarkable, and inspirational birds. They feature as a symbols of power, strength and authority in various countries, from the Romans to the Nazis to the United States. They inspire, they challenge and they stand for victory!
A mature eagle can have a wingspan of over 2 metres and weigh around 7 kilos. It has eyesight that can spot a rabbit at 3.2 km, and has acute depth perception as well as 270 degrees peripheral vision. It is equipped with razor sharp talons to grip prey, a strong beak to tear flesh and a clear membrane that covers and protects the eyes when attacking. It is strong enough to carry well over its own body weight, even a whole lamb, if necessary.
The eagle is the supreme hunting and fighting bird. Fast, strong, courageous, the eagle embodies much of what we as Christians should be.
Today I want to consider 7 lessons the eagle can teach us.
1. EAGLES FLY ALONE OR WITH THEIR OWN KIND
Eagles either fly alone or with their own kind. The lesson we can learn from this is to associate with those who bring the best out in our lives, people who think like us, share similar goals and dreams and encourage us in our life.
The eagle doesn’t waste time with other kinds of bird, and we should learn not to waste our precious time with negative or argumentative people.
Ephesians 5:15-16 (ESV)
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
So many people, especially post COVID, are saying they don’t need to come to church, they can just watch YouTube and get better sermons online. I agree, there are far better preachers online than me, and if your only criteria to attend church is to “get something out of it,” then don’t bother coming to church.
But if your desire is to serve God, win souls and grow spiritually, birds of a feather flock together. Church is God’s idea, not mine, and it helps us to grow and develop into the people He wants us to be.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
2. EAGLE’S SEE FURTHER
Eagles are renouned for having superior eyesight and concentration.
Job 39:27-29 (ESV)
Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes his nest on high?
On the rock he dwells and makes his home, on the rocky crag and stronghold.
From there he spies out the prey; his eyes behold it from far away.
To catch their prey eagles see it up to 3 km away, focus on it with laser like intensity, and set out to get it. The lesson for us is that we too should focus on the goals God has for us and give time, effort and energy to achieve them.
Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
God has destiny for each and every one of you. He has plans to prosper you, plans to grow you into the person He desires you to be. He is already preparing works for us, and our job is to see them and focus on being obedient.
Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further, it’s by standing on the shoulders of giants.” We have spiritual giants here at Ignite, and if you want to see further, stand on their shoulders.
But ultimately, God gives you superior vision…
Ephesians 1:18 (ESV)
having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
The Greek for enlightened is PHOTIZO, which means to instruct, to illuminate, or to shine. You might have brilliant eyes, but in a cave you can see nothing. Even the best eyes need light to function, and that’s why we need the eyes of our hearts enlightened.
3. EAGLE’S FEED ON LIVE FOOD
Unlike vultures and other scavengers, Eagles do not eat dead animals. Instead, they focus on catching live prey. So what is the eagle teaching us here?
Don’t waste your precious time and energy on beating a dead horse! Stay open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, be listening, be ready, and make sure your mind is filled with life, with good, godly, Honourable thoughts, not dead, rotten sin.
Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
People are so negative and complaining today. We as a nation have so much, and yet are so ungrateful for the blessings we share. Feed your mind and heart on live, wholesome, godly food, not the left over junk they serve on the news and social media.
Colossians 3:2 (ESV)
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
4. EAGLES RIDE THE WINDS
Watch an eagle and you will notice that they rarely flap their wings. They just spread them, and soar through the sky. There’s not a lot of flapping, or effort, and I believe this is a key point we can learn from the eagle.
Zig Ziglar said, “I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.”
The eagle seems to barely move it’s wings, unlike most other birds who flap. By doing this the eagle conserves a lot of energy as it rises into the heavens.
The lesson for us is clear… as a church but also as individuals. Instead of loads of activity with little tangible, eternal results, we need to rest in the Lord, and allow the wind of His Holy Spirit to gather beneath our outswept wings and lift us higher.
Psalms 127:1-2 (ESV)
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.
If we as God’s people expend time, energy and effort, but God is not in it, all that we do is vain. We can flap and flap doing all kinds of things, but as CT Studd the famous cricketer and missionary said, “Only one life, twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
We need to let God’s Holy Spirit fill our wings and carry us into the sky! As Jesus said to Martha
Luke 10:41-42 (ESV)
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Just as the eagle harnesses the power of the wind and thermals, God is calling us not to frantic activity, but to resting in Him and allowing the power of the Holy Spirit to take us up and guide us higher. So church, at this time of intense activity, the Lord is saying to me…
Matthew 11:28 (ESV)
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
5. EAGLES LOVE THE STORM
When Adversity strikes, Eagles do not fear it, they don’t even just embrace it, they harness the very elements arrayed against them, using them as a driving force to rise above the storm! Eagles know that the stormy winds are the very force that can lift them above the storm where their flight will be more effortless and powerful.
Romans 5:3-5 (ESV)
we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
The lesson from the eagle here is to rejoice in the trials we face, because they will empower us towards out destiny. We have nothing to fear if we are obedient to Jesus, because these trials that come to destroy us actually make us stronger, if we yield to the Holy Spirit. So if you are facing tough times today, don’t fear, don’t get down, don’t give up and don’t give in to them. Change how you see Adversity, not as “woe is me life is so hard,” But as, “Thank You Lord for this opportunity to shine for You, to grow more Christ like and to triumph.”
You cannot have a testimony without a test, so like the eagle, let us set our wings to harness Adversity and rise above it.
6. EAGLES RESPOND TO ATTACKS IN A UNIQUE WAY
When attacked and annoyed by smaller birds, who swoop and peck at the mighty eagle, it responds in a unique way. The eagle does not fight back, it does not change course, or react, it simply rises higher and higher. At some point the smaller, annoying birds cannot stand the higher altitudes, and lack of oxygen, and soon fall away.
We live in a highly reactive world. Get on Facebook and you will see hundreds of people, sadly many of them Christians, attacking and character assassinating each other over issues that ultimately have little consequence. It seems people cannot tolerate any opinion contrary to theirs, and this include the media, social media and governments.
The lesson is clear… Don’t react when you are attacked, don’t fight back, don’t seek vengeance, just set your wings and fly higher. The attacks will ultimately drop away.
Romans 12:19-21 (ESV)
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I have experienced this over the past few years, people attacking and criticising my ministry, my decisions, my preaching, my beliefs.
I have learned like the eagle to not react, but to step back and pray and take time to respond in a godly manner. To rest on the winds of the Spirit and rise above the din!
Even this week, I have been attacked again on social media by a former member of this church, who has told me they are determined to bring me down and ruin my life and business.
Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
Learn the lesson of the eagle… Don’t retaliate, rise above.
7. EAGLES RENEW THEMSELVES
One little know fact about the eagle is that it undergoes the painful task of renewing itself. Every year it plucks out its feathers so that new, stronger, healthier ones will grow…
Romans 12:2 (ESV)
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
Some Christians think this verse says the removing of your mind, and they act accordingly. Let’s face it, some of us do dumb things in the name of God. But the Bible says
Psalms 103:5 (ESV)
who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
At around 40 years of age, the bald eagle faces a decision. To Die, or to go through the painful process of rebirth, extending its life another 30 or so years. This process sees the eagle flying to a nest high up on a cliff. As Job writes,
Job 39:27-28 (ESV)
Is it at your command (Lord) that the eagle mounts up and makes his nest on high? On the rock he dwells and makes his home, on the rocky crag and stronghold.
It is here that the eagle starts the painful task of knocking out its own beak, plucking out its talons and feathers, and over a 5 month period allowing them to grow back.
Here the Eagle teaches us that, without pain, there is no gain, and without sacrifice there is no success.
James 1:2-4 (ESV)
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
If we are to face what God has for us in the future, if we as a church, as a people, as individuals are to move into the incredible, God given, God designed destiny He has for us, we must constantly be renewed. Even if it’s painful at the time.
Habakkuk 3:2 (ESV)
In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy.
Let me speak this prophetically to someone here. You are not too old, you are not finished, God still has a glorious plan for you. It is time, in the midst of the years, to allow the Spirit of God to revive you afresh. Let His Spirit pour into your life and breath new life into you.
LESSONS FROM THE EAGLE
We can learn much from the eagle. It knows it must be renewed, and despite the pain, it realises that rebirth involves the death of the old self. If you have never asked Jesus into your life, you need to be born again.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
If you know Jesus already, you still need to be renewed. If you wait on the Lord, He promises that He will renew your strength.
If you are weary, overwhelmed, tired, or uninspired, the eagle has a lesson for you today. Respond to the Holy Spirit.
HOW CAN YOU SOAR LIKE AN EAGLE IN LIFE?
HOW DOES THE EAGLE DEAL WITH UNJUST ATTACKS? HOW DO YOU?
HOW DOES THE EAGLE VIEW ADVERSITY? HOW CAN YOU VIEW IT (JAMES 1:2-4)