Is there an independent spirit within you that prevents you from engaging with believers and obstructs the calling God has on your life? God did not create us to stand alone.
During the fall of the year, the distinctive call of Canadian Geese can be heard as they migrate to their winter habitat. Studying God’s creation will reveal godly principles at work that can be applied to everyday life. In fact, extensive studies have been done on the flight patterns of geese1-4. Here is a portion of what they found.
Geese fly in a “V” or wedge formation, with one goose in the lead. If a goose leaves the formation, it feels the resistance of the air and the difficulties of flying alone. It quickly comes back to the formation to take advantage of the group’s power in front of it. When the lead goose gets tired, it relinquishes the lead to another goose and takes a place in the formation. During flight, head movements of the lead goose seem to give signals to the other geese, perhaps to let the others know how he is doing.
It is estimated that the “V” formation flight pattern reduces wind drag due to the lift the other birds receive, and it is believed to increase their performance by up to 71 percent. Another benefit to the “V” formation is that it is easy to keep track of every bird in the group. Flying in formation may assist with the communication and coordination within the group. Fighter pilots often use this formation for the same reason.
The geese are vocal. Their “honks” are believed to encourage the ones in front. In that way, they keep the same speed. Whenever a goose drops out of the group because of injury, sickness, or exhaustion, two geese go with it. They remain with it until it dies or it is able to fly again. The geese may not catch up to the original flock, so they make another “V” formation or join another group later.
There are lessons to be learned from the flight of geese involving teamwork, leadership, mutual respect, encouragement, compassion, and unity. The study shows that the geese are dependent upon one another, and work together to accomplish their purposes.
In today’s society, independence is considered a desirable attribute. The world’s system feeds the desire within us to gain recognition for our individual achievements. We wrongly believe that being an independent individual frees us from the need to depend on anyone else.
The fact is, dependence on others is a good thing. As it does with geese and other creatures in nature, it can bring us into a unity of spirit that accomplishes much more with less effort while meeting needs for each of us, individually and collectively.
Christ talked a lot about unity among believers. He knew that believers must be in union to take the gospel of salvation to the world.
I in union with them, and you in union with me, so that they can be perfected into one so that the world can know that you sent me, and loved them just as you loved me.John 17:23
We need to depend on others so that we don’t go it alone. By banding together we increase our strength. By going it alone we must carry a load we were never intended to carry. God did not create us to stand alone. Together we become a holy sanctuary in the Lord and a dwelling place for God.
So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, 20having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy sanctuary in the Lord, 22in whom you also are being built together by means of the spirit into a dwelling place of God.Ephesians 2:19-22
By joining together we accomplish more for the Body of Christ than we could ever accomplish independently. As unique individuals, we each bring strengths, talents, and skill sets into the Body of Christ. This makes us a dynamic Body that enables us to advance the Good News of salvation to the world to the praise and glory of God. But this only happens if we are united and standing together in unity of purpose as one body. Paul explains how we are to work together in the Body of Christ by using the analogy of the human body in 1 Corinthians 12.
For as the body is one, and has many parts, and all the parts of the body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.1 Corinthians 12:12
He then goes on to explain the uniqueness of each part of the human body and compares it to the uniqueness of each member of the Body of Christ with the gifts and abilities we each contribute.
Now you are the body of Christ, and individually parts of it.1 Corinthians 12:27
Knowing that we will not always see eye to eye because we are individuals with diverse gifting and personalities, we are given the method by which we can bring our individual gifts together and achieve our common goal – to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling:
And yet I now show you a more excellent way.1 Corinthians 12:31
The “more excellent way” is love. If any giftings are not being operated in love, they do not really profit. Love marginalizes “self” and the independent, self-seeking spirit that hinders and obstructs unity.
Love is patient, and is kind; love does not envy; love does not brag, is not puffed up, does not act improperly, is not self-seeking, is not provoked, does not keep a record of wrongs, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is the motivation and energy that enables us to “fly in formation” – watching out for one another, caring for one another, encouraging one another. Love is the bond that unifies the Church, the Body of Christ, and enables us to have true fellowship with one another.
That which we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed, our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.1 John 1:3
Fellowship can be defined as “intimate joint participation.” We all know when we have genuine fellowship with others that is true, “intimate joint participation.” We let people into our hearts and lives, and are with people who open their hearts and lives to us, and that happens among people who are in close association and in union with Christ.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. […] 44And all those who believed were together, and had all things in common. […] 46And day after day, continuing with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were receiving their food with great joy and sincerity of heart, 47praising God, and having favor with all the people. And day after day the Lord was adding to them those who were being saved.Acts 2:42, 44, 46-47
Reject the independent spirit that prevents you from engaging with believers and obstructs the calling God has on your life. God did not create us to stand alone. Together, as one body, we have access by one spirit to the Father – to the praise of His glory.
1 An Analysis of Function in the Formation Flight of Canada Geese, John P. Badgerow, Department of Biology, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY October, 1988
2 Formation Flight of Birds, Lissaman, P.B.S., and C.A. Schollenberger, Science, 168, May 22, 1970, p. 1003-1005
3 Precision and Dynamics of Positioning by Canada Geese Flying in Formation, F. Reed Hainsworth, Journal of Experimental Biology 1987 128: 445-4624 Preflight and Flight Behavior of Canada Geese, Dennis G. Raveling, October 1969, Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois 62901