Monthly Archives: May 2017

You’re Not A Flamingo! Christians Don’t Have A Passive Gravitational Stay Mechanism

The flamingo stands on one leg. You’ve probably seen pictures. You may even have wondered how and why they stand that way. Many theories still exist about the “why,” but researchers from Emory and Georgia Tech have recently answered the “how.” They call is a “passive gravitational stay mechanism.”

Flamingos have a unique mechanism in their legs. When standing on one leg, the foot centers beneath the body. That engages a “stay mechanism” that allows the bird to stand with no effort at all. In fact, the researchers were even able to engage this mechanism on dead flamingos!

In other words, Flamingos stand with no muscle or energy expenditure! When the flamingo wants to swap legs or stand on two feet, they simply disengage the mechanism by leaning in. It is, truly, an amazing design.

Humans, of course, don’t have that ‘stay mechanism.’ We use muscles to stand, and we expend energy. If we stand in one position with knees locked, we will typically pass out or fall over after a certain amount of time.

Ironically, though, Christians sometimes act like flamingos. We think we can stand firm in the faith without actively working at it. When a person becomes a Christian, they are said to be a new creature…but not a flamingo! Standing requires effort.

Paul reminded the Corinthians to stand firm in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1). Standing firm requires alertness, courage, and strength (16:13). He exhorted the Galatians to stand firm to avoid slavery to sin (Galatians 5:1). The example is of a soldier standing in battle with “cleats” on his sandals.

The flamingo’s “knee” is God’s amazing design. The best “why” guess scientists have is that, by expending no energy on standing, they can regulate body temperature better. They are designed to withstand their environment.

We are designed to withstand our environment as well. We stand securely when we stand on the promises of God! But our standing is not passive – it requires an active faith in the saving work of His Son. Now that is a firm foundation!

Don’t be allured by the illusion! Spiritually assess the true value.

Most people believe that violins by Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737), which sell for millions of dollars, project a superior sound to modern violins. On the contrary, modern sound tests have failed to show the proof of these claims. In fact, in a recent series of tests, Stradivari’s violins, once again, failed to impress…well, sort of.

Stradivari’s violins are beautiful works of art. But in “blind” sound tests, such as those published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, modern violins are preferred. Modern violins are consistently said to project sound louder and better. But, guess what? When listeners were told a Stradivarius was being played, they picked it as the better instrument!

This isn’t unusual. Name brands are perceived to have quality. People pay thousands more for name brand watches, purses, etc. In functionality, though, the illusion of the brand often fails to live up to perceptions of superiority.

Assume that you had paid millions of dollars for a Stradivarius because you thought it had superior sound. Then it failed to impress when compared to a far less expensive, modern violin. Would you feel duped?

In Spiritual matters we see this every day. People are duped by the illusion of worldly matters. But the illusion of this world’s value is surpassed immensely by the actual value of heaven and the functional reality of the gospel.

The Hebrews writer lets us know why Jesus is better: As the Son, Jesus is greater than all messengers and messages (1:4-7); He builds a greater house than Moses (3:1-6); Jesus brings a greater rest than Joshua did (4:8-9); He is a greater priest than Aaron because He is sinless and lives forever (7:26-28); He has a greater ministry with a greater covenant, built on greater promises, with the greatest sacrifice (Hebrews 7:22; 8:6; 9:12).

Those who live for this world cannot see beyond its allure. Rather, we must appraise the value of things according to their spiritual worth (1 Corinthians 2:14-16)! Things in the world have the illusion of being better, but Jesus is the best! And why would you listen to anything else?

His Dignity Is The Real Deal

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

It’s about dignity. Simple, human, dignity. And yet, actual dignity is often hampered by human involvement. Consider recent examples:

Most people know that all races should be treated with dignity. Yet, as recently seen at Fenway Park, we have a long way to go before dignity prevails. The Boston Red Sox and the Mayor are still apologizing to Orioles’ Adam Jones for racist taunts and items thrown at him during Monday’s game.

Most people know that both men and women should be treated with dignity. But, we still have a long way to go before men and women receive equal dignity. Recent news, even from a progressive company such as Facebook, shows that coding by women gets rejected much more often than that of men for the same quality of work.

Most people know that rich and poor should be treated with dignity. But recent news from United Airlines has proven that many people still determine how to treat others based on finances. When a passenger was violently ejected from a flight, it wasn’t just his forcible removal that made headlines. The more sinister revelation was the math that proved that less dignity is regularly given to customers who are worth the least to the company.

None of this is surprising. We live in a sinful world where people, even those with good intentions, will fall short of the glory of God. But does the Christian have a solution?

Yes, Jesus is the answer!

In Christ, all have dignity. It doesn’t mean that we get it right all the time…because we’re human. But there is a goal. There is an ideal.

We strive to be like Jesus. He died for everyone, regardless of race, gender, or socio-economic background. All have equal opportunity to receive eternal life in Him. And if change will ever come in this world, it will be through our efforts to conform to His likeness.