Today I was sitting at my nephew’s house in Southern Ohio when I heard a THUMP! Then another THUMP! Going to investigate I found that a beautiful Cardinal was sitting on a branch near the dining room window. I guess he saw his reflection because he would look at the window, take off and fly smack into it. THUMP! He did this over and over.
(Actual shot of “Thumper the Concussed Redbird”)
I remembered that I had a similar experience with a bird back in Texas so I was relieved that this is not just a Red State phenomenon. I thought I would revisit my comments on Avian behavior and how that relates to my personal journey. No, I have not yet seen my reflection in a mirror and attacked it. I would more likely move quickly away. I like to think I am smarter than that bird so I laugh and make fun of him for mindlessly hitting the same window time after time. Obviously he is not hurting himself too badly because he comes back every day for the morning concussion. Stupid bird.
But the sad parallel is that for years and years I would go out and imitate this poor creature with my own daily behaviors as a Christian.
Day after day I went out and slammed up against the same spiritual windows. Einstein was once quoted as saying that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” I am not quite willing to concede that I was insane. But the truth is that I did approach my spiritual life the same way everyday while somehow expecting different results. If I am hitting the same window over and over maybe it is time to change my approach. Scripture tells me that I should be producing fruit in my walk with Jesus.
If I am truly grafted into the True Vine I will be producing fruit. But I too often decide to THUMP against the window of my own desires and selfishness. I THUMP against the ridiculous theology that I can produce fruit with my own talents and disciplined strivings. Jesus said this in the Gospel of John.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other. (John 15, NIV)
Sometimes I make this so hard. I am asked to trust in Jesus daily because I can do nothing on my own. When I do that Jesus says I will produce fruit. Then the Father will give me whatever I ask in His name. Then He commanded me to love one another. That is not a “helpful suggestion“. That is a command. But that doesn’t fit my bird-brain plan.
My strategy is to ask for the Father to give me whatever I ask first and then I will get around to producing fruit. THUMP.
And then I decide that some people I simply cannot love. THUMP.
If I just try harder in my own ability I will produce fruit. THUMP.
I rationalize that I just can’t produce fruit right now because of (insert difficult life circumstance here). THUMP.
Yep. I am a lot smarter than that bird. It only took me thirty-six years to figure out I needed to change my approach. Stupid bird.