Why Waddle When You’re Made To Fly? Romans 7: 15-20
(SORR-ən KEER-kə-gard) Soren Kierkegaard the Danish religious philosopher and minister, wrote a multitude of works in the middle of the 19th century. Among his papers, is a story he wrote entitled the Tame Geese. In this story, he asks us to imagine that these geese could, like us, talk and think and do the kinds of things that we do. The geese went to church every week. Each week they were inspired by a powerful, motivating sermon. The sermon always went the same. The motivating gander goose would tell the assembled geese of their high destiny and about what a high goal the Creator had appointed geese for he had given them wings. As he said all this, the geese would honk and squawk their approval. The geese knelt and the ganders bowed their heads in honor of the great words. With their wings, the gander preacher told them, they could fly anywhere they wanted around the world. They were most pleased to hear this. And each week after church, as they dispersed, the geese would ... waddle ... home.
Why didn't the geese fly?
After hearing and understanding such a powerful message about the opportunities available to them, they seemed to ignore it. They didn't fly home. The message made no impact on their lives. They continued to do what they had always done. They waddled home. Why, when there were so many good reasons to change from waddling home, didn't the geese fly as they were created to do? It seems unfortunately a part of the human condition that we don't always do what we know we should. We don't always act in our own best interest, even when we know better. In fact, we sometimes even deliberately do things that we know we are going to end up paying for in the long run. This is certainly an anomaly. An anomaly is something that totally goes against the rationale.
People most often know what it is they should be doing but usually choose to ignore or act in contradiction to either their strongest instincts or reality. Although it makes no sense, we continue to waddle even though we were made for flight. In Romans 7:15-20, we see Paul describe his own self-contradictory statement
Romans 7:15–20 (GW)
I don’t realize what I’m doing. I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate. I don’t do what I want to do, but I agree that God’s standards are good. So I am no longer the one who is doing the things I hate, but sin that lives in me is doing them. I know that nothing good lives in me; that is, nothing good lives in my corrupt nature. Although I have the desire to do what is right, I don’t do it. I don’t do the good I want to do. Instead, I do the evil that I don’t want to do. Now, when I do what I don’t want to do, I am no longer the one who is doing it. Sin that lives in me is doing it.
Simply it says, that which I would do, I don't. That which I don't want to do, I do. Paul says that he can't explain it. It makes no sense to him, but he says he doesn't always do what he should. Just like Paul we also can be found doing or not doing what we know we should be doing.
This is mankind’s basic fallen nature. We see it not only in our daily walk with Christ, but we see this played out at our jobs, our duties at home, etc., etc. As a general rule, our problem is not one of ignorance—in fact, it is surprising how much we really do know—we are actually gluttons when it comes to knowledge - our problem is one of action.
That is, acting on what we already know to be true. How many times we have heard or read something and said, "I've got to work on that" or "I've got to change that" and then a few weeks or months later look at our lives and find that nothing has happened? We find that we have done nothing to implement what we have learned. There has been no forward movement. No action. We are still waddling home. The apostle James gets right at this point in James 1:23-27 (NCV)
Those who hear God’s teaching and do nothing are like people who look at themselves in a mirror. They see their faces and then go away and quickly forget what they looked like. But the truly happy people are those who carefully study God’s perfect law that makes people free, and they continue to study it. They do not forget what they heard, but they obey what God’s teaching says. Those who do this will be made happy. People who think they are religious but say things they should not say are just fooling themselves. Their “religion” is worth nothing. Religion that God accepts as pure and without fault is this: caring for orphans or widows who need help, and keeping yourself free from the world’s evil influence.
Sometimes we waddle home because we act as though knowing something is the same
thing as doing something.
Knowing is not the same as doing. Knowledge must have a destination, or it is just simply information. Knowledge must take us somewhere—to a new understanding, to a new attitude, to a new behavior, or to a new way of doing things. In order to make changes effectively and permanently in our lives, we need to have new attitudes that will produce the required actions of change. Possessing the right new attitude will give us the proper determined ownership to achieve liftoff in our flight. Our actions flow from our attitudes. We might need to ask ourselves why we should desire to fly in the first place.
· To win the approval of men
· To obtain salvation through our own doings
· Or because we want to please our loving God in our obedience to Him
We must keep in mind that everything we do is a reflection of our attitudes. We need to be mindful of these attitudes and relate them to every thought and action no matter how seemingly insignificant it might be.
Paul speaks to this very thing in Ephesians 4:21-23
You have certainly heard his message and have been taught his ways.
The truth is in Jesus. You were taught to change the way you were living. The person you used to be will ruin you through desires that deceive you. However, you were taught to have a new attitude. Often, we learn better or better understand things by doing them. As children, we were told to do something just because our parents said so or just because it’s the right thing to do. This is how we learn initially or gain knowledge of what we should or shouldn’t do. And we now know we should of done or not done those things, because doing what we should reveals to us a better answer than “just because I said so.”
Doing something gives those principles OWNERSHIP in our lives. We will not continue anything GOOD or BAD unless will continue to practice it. Frequently our knowledge increases and our understanding deepens by just simply doing what we know to do. This relationship between the knowing and the learning and the doing creates an interesting motivation. Doing what we learn connects the dots sort of speaking in connecting why we are doing it in the first place. This helps to integrate us by bringing together our thoughts and actions. In turn, it sets the stage for even greater growth. Kind of like flapping our wings for liftoff. We can understand better what we are actually doing and putting into practice the disciplines we need to develop and understand why we actually do need to be flying instead of waddling all the time.
This is to say, that doing can provide us with direction—it guides us into understanding where we are to grow and what we are to work on.
We can see and understand the basic principle on the surface, but we can’t get to the why component without actually doing it or putting it into effect. In other words, we can better implement what we know—and more effectively apply what we know—by beginning to do what we know.
James 1:22 tells us
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
Taking action requires more than just hearing or talking about doing something.
Sometimes we find ourselves waddling home because we confuse talk with action. We often act as if talking about doing something will get the job done.
Talk is only a stepping-stone to action. Talk can seem like action, as it is an activity in and of itself. But without it leading to a change of attitude, behavior, or actions it’s still just talk.
However, with that being said, we shouldn't discount the value of talk. Talk can help us put together the puzzle pieces for action. Talking can generate enthusiasm for whatever we are trying to do. But, again, talk alone is powerless.
Proverbs 14:23 tells us
Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!
1 John 3:18-19 commands us
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him;
Sometimes we waddle home out of fear of the unknown.
Change always creates a period of uncertainty. We as humans tend toward the status quo. We prefer the familiar to the unfamiliar. Sometimes we prefer a bad situation or a wrong way of thinking to that which we know is right, because the changes would create a new pattern of behavior that we don't yet know how to deal with. All change requires some degree of loss and leaving. It is helpful to understand just what it is we are leaving behind—what must be abandoned to make the change. Any transition period is a time of uncertainty and we have a natural tendency to return to where we just came from. With that knowledge of our own behavior, we are better able to work through our tendencies and get on with the changes that we need to make.
We are inspired by the words we find in 1 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
Sometimes we waddle home because we don't know how to stop doing what we've been doing in order that we may begin doing what it is we want to do.
It's not always easy to see just how we are to stop doing something that has always been part of who we are and still keep everything we must still be doing, in motion. This is when we need to seek out help from the Holy Spirit and our brothers and sisters in Christ who have gone through these changes themselves. These resources will be of immeasurable help in giving us the courage and direction to do what must be done.
1 Peter 5:14-15 gives us this encouragement:
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
Sometimes we waddle home because it is just plain hard to see ourselves
doing whatever it is we need to do.
It conflicts with our own view of ourselves. We must have a forward vision in order for flight to begin. It is important to know what we are trying to change into and then see ourselves moving to that end. Even professional aviators have a flight plan before taking off!
God gives us so many insights into His flight plan for us…
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” —Jeremiah 29:11
“He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” —1 Peter 1:3-4
“Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” —Philippians 3:20
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” —Zephaniah 3:17
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” —Romans 15:13
“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.” —Isaiah 40:31
“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.” —Psalm 39:7
“Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…” —Titus 2:13
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” —Romans 12:12
“The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” —Romans 8:18
“Behold, I am coming soon.” —Revelation 22:12
“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” —Romans 15:4
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” —Revelation 21:4
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” —Lamentations 3:21-23
When we find our lives chalked full of conflict, pain, tension, fear, confusion, or things just not making sense . . . these are signals from Almighty God that change is called for. Progress begging to happen. Once we confront them, the growth process begins. However, waiting until the last possible moment to change or until pain or necessity, demands it be dealt with is playing with some serious fire. When we do this, we are only reacting to those negative signals in our lives. For real soul cleansing change to happen we need to take an active role in our growth. We have to want it! We have to truly desire it! We have to actively work at using our wings! We can't afford to wait until we feel forced to change or until a situation demands it of us. Any forced change is really no change at all.
· Proverbs 6:2 you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth.”
· Proverbs 6:4 “Don’t put it off; do it now! Don’t rest until you do.”
· Ecclesiastes 11:3-4 “When clouds are heavy, the rains come down. Whether a tree falls north or south, it stays where it falls. Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.”
· Proverbs 6:6-8 “Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.”
When things aren't working for us, when we know to do better, we can't afford to be content with waddling home. We must do what we know to do and begin doing it now! It’s not good enough to make excuses like “I'm just this way or that way” and not to be sincerely working on it. It is easy to make excuses for and dismiss our problems or to just psychoanalyze them away. Like it runs in the family or I've always been that way or It’s just my personality.
Jesus in Luke 14:16-24 gave us this example:
But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’ ”
We have all heard that if we continue to do what we have always done, we will continue to get what we have always gotten. This is another way of saying that we will reap what we sow. And there is a multiplier effect at work here though too. We not only get back what we have put in, but we will get back more than we bargained for. This will work for us and against us depending on what we sow. Quite often we know what it is we are to be doing. But, knowing is not enough. Knowing doesn't give us the liftoff we need to begin flying. Only Doing…. Only by Flapping our wings of faith will we begin to do what each of us are created to do…..TO FLY! So let’s not waddle home any longer when we know how and why we are to fly.