Monday, June 04, 2007

Cardinals and Insanity

THUMP! What was that? THUMP! There it is again!

About 2 months ago, this strange sound started coming from our front door and our back window. When rushing to the door to investigate, a flash of red could be seen as a cardinal fluttered away at the sight of six children coming toward him. At first, this was entertaining. We thought that the bird wanted inside our house. There was talk of opening the door and letting him come in. Then maybe we could capture him and put him in a cage. But we soon realized that this cardinal did not want to come in our house. He was merely “fighting” a perceived enemy that he saw in his reflection. The tell tale evidence soon became apparent on the doors and mirrors of our van, as he left his “calling card” splattered all over our newly washed vehicle. It seems this red bird has enemies all over our yard, including any reflective surface he can find.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Some have attributed this quote to Albert Einstein. Others go further back and credit it to Ben Franklin. Regardless, the truth in this statement is apparent. Are we dealing with an insane bird here? I’m thinking not…but rather that it is his instinct that keeps him pounding his head against glass all day long for over two months now. After watching this and considering it over this length of time, I knew there had to be a spiritual lesson here somewhere. This bird is walking (flying? :-) ) after the flesh. He is relying on his instincts to guide his steps. I was reading in Galatians 5 this morning. Think of this bird fighting his “enemy” and the pain that he surely must be causing himself in this futile effort.

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
(Gal 5:14-26)

How often do we strive against one another, acting out fleshly pursuits in a desire to better ourselves at the expense of our neighbour? How many times do we do this to our own demise whereby our attempts at striving end up hurting ourselves? And finally, how often do we continue these behaviours hoping against hope that somehow, someway, our futile efforts will ultimately allow us to “defeat” our perceived enemies?

So, I admonish you, just as Paul admonished the Galatians, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”

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