Are your Wings being Clipped? 

The discipline of desire is the background of character
- John Locke
Most people want to avoid pain, and discipline is usually painful - John C. Maxwell
‘Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy’ - Matthew 6:9.

Just think of it. If we were birds, what sort of bird would we be? I am certain we would be wild birds, because of our innate temperament. An eagle maybe? We are naturally untamed. Our old nature is unruly and wild. It is capable of the most unthinkable things. 

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures,  idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarrelling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.’  Galatians 5: 19-21.

Because of this we are desperately in need of cultivation and refinement.

Bird owners are advised to clip the wings of their exotic and wild birds. A common first reaction is that it is a cruel thing to do. After all, birds are meant to fly. It is true birds need to fly for pleasure, to find food, to find other birds - as mates and for socializing, to find breeding and nesting sites, and to escape danger and predators.  However, in order to handle a wild bird domestically, it needs to be carefully and sensitively cultivated.

One of the ways to cultivate a wild bird is to clip its wings. This is a very delicate and specialised operation that takes a trained avian veterinarian to do. If not, the bird can end up paralysed and unable to fly which will be traumatic and unnatural for a wild bird. Wing clipping is not meant to totally alter the attitude of the bird, e.g. a bird should still be able to fly for its own safety.

The purpose of wing clipping is for the bird’s safety, for loss prevention, to teach obedience and to curtail its aggressive and unruly natural instincts.

The eagle is a unique and superior wild bird. The beauty, power, grace and spirit of the eagle as well as its size, strength and freedom are very exceptional qualities. These qualities need to be harnessed and carefully protected. The superior qualities of an eagle include: 

  1. Eagles are born wild and free
  2. Eagles fly alone at high altitude
  3. Eagles have extremely keen vision
  4. Eagles thrive in stormy weather
  5. Eagles adapt to extreme temperatures
  6. Eagles are bold and unafraid
  7. Eagles have tenacity
  8. Eagles rejuvenate
  9. Eagles are faithful to a mate/nesting place
  10. Eaglets learn through training. 

So, if we were eagles, would a loving, heavenly Father clip the wings of his exceptional birds? 

I believe He will and He does. Just look at this encouragement:

And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” … God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Hebrews 12:5-11

The good news is that as Christians we do not just get a nice makeover; we are transformed and get a brand new nature. A new identity. We become a new creation, changed from the inside out.

And, if we allow the Lord to clip our wings, we will become pliable and agreeable in His hands; and because He is the Master avian veterinarian, He knows exactly how to clip our wings so that we retain our exceptional characteristics especially our ability to soar and glide freely.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles… Isaiah 40:31.

In the context of the workplace, could that colleague who rubs you up the wrong way be a messenger from the Lord to help refine your character? Could that manager who picks on you at every staff/team meeting be the sandpaper that will help to smoothen your unruly attitude? Could you learn more patience and self-control in these situations? Could it drive you closer to the Lord in brokenness and dependence? Could you learn wisdom and courage? Could you become a better, more tolerant and respectful person?

The extreme situations of life are the processes God allows to make us what He wants us to be – more Christ-like. How we respond determines the success of the process.

We need to embrace the challenge so we can flourish in the workplace.