How to Fly

Finding wings and fighting gravity

Jonathan Martin

14 November 2017

Red Bull confuses me.

This energy drink claims to give me wings and I think I get it. When I feel the downward gravitational pull of my draining energy — drinking a Red Bull should lift me up again on the wings of caffeine and other energy creating elements.

That makes sense — but then, why not “Red Hawk” instead of Red Bull? Any kind of bird with wings will do really. Last I checked, bulls don’t have wings.

But, then again, I also understand the bull imagery. Red Bull will help you plow through that mid-afternoon slump with all the strength and momentum of a raging bull!

You just would have thought that they would go all in on one message or the other. But, alas, I’m not their marketing consultant and it’s probably a good thing because they seem to be doing just fine.

I’m not sure if Red Bull will give us wings, but I do know that God’s Word will give us wings.

We are earthy, worldly, sinful people by default. We know from the Word that there is no one righteous, not even one! (Romans 3:10) Even after the salvation that comes from believing in Jesus, we still feel the heavy gravitational pull of sin. Paul bemoans this experience in Romans 7:15-20 — he’s just so frustrated that he is unable to do what he wants to do, but instead finds himself doing the very things he doesn’t want to do.

That’s me too.

And long before Paul, David felt the same way :

My life is down in the dust;
Give me life through Your Word

Psalm 119:25

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I feel my own heavy tendency to cling to the earth. Even though I resonate with and celebrate the truth I see in the Word — I still find it difficult to learn how to soar on the wings of obedience, holiness, and righteousness.

Several versions of this verse (including the ESV) use the word “cling” — those versions say something like this, “my life clings to the dust.” Even though God desires to give us soaring freedom through the truth of His Word (John 8:32), we still cling to the slavery of sin. It’s not just gravity that’s keeping us here — we are hesitant to fly. We have foolishly fallen in love with the dust — and the cost of flying, of tasting the pure air, is to leave that old dust behind.

But God’s Word has the ability to give us wings by shifting our gaze from temporary earthly things to eternal heavenly things. This earthy dust is killing us — and that’s all it truly has to offer. But God’s Word will give us life by lifting us up out of the deadly dust and setting us free to soar.

Our nature, our sin nature, is to be pulled down towards sin — there is simply no flying high without help — and part of that help is God’s Word. If we’ve seen anything modeled in David so far in this journey through Psalm 119 — it’s this incredibly coupling of determination and dependence. David knows that no matter how determined he is to get up out of the dust — he simply can’t do it without holy help.

The question is — are we receiving the help given to us? One of my personality flaws is that I like to believe that I can make it on my own. That I can fight the gravitational pull of sin on my own. But that’s as foolish and deadly as me believing I can literally fly on the wings of my willpower. No, that’s simply not going to happen. I’m going to need some kind of wings. I’m going to need some kind of assistance and help. I’m going to need to look to something outside of myself if I ever hope to lift up off the ground.

Are you letting God’s Word give you life by giving you the wings to fight the gravitational pull of sin?

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