“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles…” — Isaiah 40:31
Many teams use soaring birds as mascots as a symbol of high expectations and a constant push to win championships. Though the Philadelphia Eagles came up short in their attempt to win a Super Bowl this year, they will continue to set high goals that hopefully live up to their impressive flying namesake.
And impressive they are: Eagles can live more than 30 years, which is longer than most other birds, and can fly as high as an airplane and look down on a storm cloud. Their average flying speed is about 40 mph and they often fly 80 mph when they swoop down to catch their prey. How do eagles breathe at such high altitudes? Our Creator designed a dense network of blood vessels in their wing muscles, which distributes oxygen throughout their bodies. See? Pretty impressive.
We may not be able to literally fly like an eagle but the Lord wants us to set high standards for living in this world. John the Baptist did just that — he provided an outstanding example and challenged his generation to turn away from sin. Jesus spoke about John standing head and shoulders above others by his way of life. “Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist…” (Matthew 11:11).
The key to John’s character was how he humbled himself before God. John consistently emphasized the greatness of Christ and pointed people to Jesus at every opportunity: “He must increase, but I must decrease. He who comes from above is above all” (John 3:30-31, ESV). After John the Baptist introduced the disciples to Jesus, he took a lesser role but he lived on a higher level through humility.
If we want to join John and other believers in living above the world’s standards, we need to admit our dependence on God and put our hope in Him alone. Then the Lord will help us soar like an eagle:
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” — Isaiah 40:29-31
— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Georgia
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