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!