I can’t remember who said it, but many years ago I heard a speaker say that, “you can’t stop a bird from pooping on your head, but you can stop it from making a nest.” I admit, it sounds a bit gross or weird, but if you think about it for a second, it makes a lot of sense. Think about it in regard to your thought life. We all have experienced thoughts that seemingly come from nowhere. You were scrolling through Instagram or Twitter, minding your own business, and all of a sudden you come across an inappropriate picture. Thoughts you didn’t ask for come rushing in...you can’t stop a bird from pooping on your head, but you can stop it from making a nest. Or maybe you’re driving down the road and someone cuts you off. Immediately, your skin begins to turn green and you feel rage coursing through your veins as if you were the Hulk himself. You can’t stop a bird from pooping on your head, but you can stop it from making a nest. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says to, “...take every thought captive to obey Christ…”
We live in the world. We can’t avoid life. We will undoubtedly encounter situations that will tempt us. Lust, anger, envy...whatever flavor of sin is most enticing to you, will come knocking. If not today, just wait awhile. But it is what we do in those initial moments of temptation that make the difference between sin and obedience. Temptation is not sin. Everyone has crazy thoughts. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve walked with God, temptation will come.
Take every thought captive. Trust in God. And don’t let a bird make a nest in your mind or heart. “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
Here are a few perspectives and principles that I have learned the last 50 years. I learned them the hard way.
1) Who you are as a believer is more important than what you do.
If we are not in tune…We can build an alternative reality of success instead of wholeness, but it is a fantasy. Get with God and gut this stuff out now, while there are those around you to help.
T. Kempis, a 14th century Monk in writing words of encouragement and correction to young monks entering the monastery said “…if I am outwardly admonished and not interiorly set on fire I may die and find that my life was without fruit, and at the moment of judgment I may be condemned for hearing the word but not fulfilling it, knowing it but not loving it, for believing it but not living it.”
Who you are as a believer is more important than what you do.
2) Self-sufficiency is a trap.
Dependence on ‘self’ leads to prayerlessness. You will find, and it will be a good day when you find it, that having confidence in your flesh is just an illusion. Crisis will drive you to your knees and ultimately flat on your face. And when you cry out and mean it when you say, “Oh God, I can’t do it”…He’ll be there. When you can no longer hold on, He’ll hold on to you. Again, to quote Kempis: “If you are looking for knowledge and learning that is useful to you, then love to be unknown…”
Self-sufficiency is a trap.
3) Don’t fear the crucible event that is coming.
The word crucible means: a situation of severe trial. At some point in your life you will experience, if you haven’t already, an event that changes you. Don’t be afraid…what you do with that life-altering event will reveal who you really are. And it’s good to know who you are and it’s good to find out that you are really stronger than you think you are.
To quote Kempis one more time, “…you must not become dejected nor give into despair… Remember, after winter comes the summer, after night comes the morning, and after the storm comes the great calm.”