Some things are puzzling and difficult to understand. Like, how is it that a bird can sit on a hot electric wire and not get fried? After being zapped, again, by my neighbors’ electric fence, I have gotten to the stage of not wanting to touch any fences, at all. Thus the mystery of a Bird on a Wire, sitting calmly and alive, always makes me double think on the matter when I see it.
Science was not my best subject by any means. In fact, in my high school days, I found a lot of it to be theoretical hogwash, and even if it was true, I did not understand why anyone would care other than science teachers, and later, my wife who loves the topic? It is like trying to figure out the meaning of Bird on a Wire by one of my favorite fireside song artists Leonard Cohen. (to get in the mood for this blog, you have to play it while reading) If you’d also like to know the real reason why a bird does not get zapped while sitting on an electric line, read this MIT article on the topic. If you remember your old science classes all we need to know about the laws of power transfer, or as a seventh grader said with a smirk about the bird on a wire – duhh!, is a closed loop.
It’s all about the connections they’re making—or, more importantly,
A bird can safely sit on a single wire filled with enough power to turn it into fried chicken. But the second it becomes part of the loop, the bird becomes a carrier of the power and, boom.
In my line of work, I have had the opportunity to tour multi-million dollar phone and data centers. Warning signs are everywhere emphasizing the dangers of high voltage power in the facilities.
Knowing I can be a doofus at times, I always made it a practice to keep my hands in my pockets. The last thing I wanted to do was be the sales guy that brought a citywide network outage, or most importantly, I did not want to be fried to a crisp.
I recently had a discussion with a former electrician who told the stories of power lineman accidentally touching a line and instantly being electrocuted. One electrician who survived had all the skin of his upper body melted completely. My electrician friend had backed into a cabinet door while working on a line and found himself jolted with a current that would not break. Fortunately, his mentor responded quickly to the situation and whacked his arm with his plastic helmet breaking the current and saving his life. To this day, he still has that touch of the fear of death every time he plugs an electronic device in an outlet. Just about the same way I feel when I pass by my neighbor’s electric fence designed to keep his horses in the pen, or just to get a laugh out of watching me bump into it while picking weeds.
In the business world, a similar concept exists. Power is in the hands of a few, while the Average Joe sits on a power line not knowing he or she is only one touch away from being in the loop. The fear of getting burned by those in power causes many of us to shy away from our full potential. While the CEO or manager we report to carries power, it is the law of being in the loop and having those connections that allow us to have greater success in our businesses or jobs. While it is smart to be careful and not overstep boundaries, establishing connections is a key to success in business.
Until we reach out and make those connections, we are nothing more than a Bird on a Wire sitting on power that does not accomplish a thing. In the law of power, it’s all about the connections we are making. Or if we hold back, more importantly, it is the ones we are not making.
So why in the world am I writing about such a topic? I had one of those lightbulb moments regarding understanding spiritual power that has had me singing, Bird on a Wire repeatedly recently. There is this thought that is tough to fathom – if God has all the power in the universe, why doesn’t he just fry the bad people and make all things positive in the world? Preachers preach on one end He is all loving if that is the case, then why are there so many bad things happening? Why have judgments been cast on people, it does not seem loving? They are questions similar to how does a Bird Sit on a Wire and not die?
To rattle this brain and send a power surge through it to light a bulb doesn’t happen often. It has made me rethink a number of things and tossed my thoughts from the Cohen song that keeps replaying in my head, to how it applies in business, politics, relationships, and then back to the spiritual world.
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A recent trend in the church world relates to a baseline belief that ‘God is a good all of the time and that He is in a good mood’. Based on Biblical history (hello Noah’s Ark, Sodom and Gomorrah) I would tend to think that cannot be a 100% of the time scenario. But that does not in any way negate that God is good and loving. Theologians point out that while yes God is good and loving, He must carry out justice as well and that requires the judgment of the wrongs people do and have done. So I at times struggle with the new prosperity and hyper grace modern church philosophy. If indeed judgment is being carried out where then does the ‘All the Time’ fit in?
P.S. – I am about 60-40 on this ‘In a good mood’ thought, God certainly is not happy with the way things are in the world, but that does not change His goodness which is carried out as having extreme patience not wishing for anyone to have to be banished from His presence forever. I also believe that how He feels about His children vs those who harm His children are 2 different positions. I can put up with my own children spilling milk on the floor with a half-a-smile, but someone tries to hurt them, they best watch out. I would want my God to be that type of Father.
On the hot-wire theme, In the old testament (2 Samuel 6:1-7 to be exact) it tells the story of a guy who was carrying the Ark of the covenant (yes like the one in Indiana Jones). The Ark was on poles and required several large and strong men to carry it. One of them was a man named Uzzah. They apparently have the same type of luck I do when moving heavy objects and they tripped – causing the ark to slip and nearly fall on the ground. ‘But when they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out his hand and steadied the Ark of God. Then the Lord’s anger was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him dead because of this. So Uzzah died right there beside the Ark of God.’
My doubt dueling mind has to look at the ‘God is good all the time and in a good mood theme’ and marvel at it like I do a Bird on a Wire. How then would He get upset and release His power at something the guy did? It even seemed like it was a good thing, Uzzah was trying to make sure God’s Ark did not hit the ground. It would be like a patriotic veteran diving to the ground to prevent the flag of the United States from falling and hitting the dirt.
However, it relates to the Law of Power position. The Ark itself not only represented the presence of God, but it was also filled with the power of God. By reaching out and touching the power source of God, it created a loop. And zap, Uzzah was struck dead.
God is holy. God is all-powerful. God is perfect. Jesus His son came to earth in the form of man and was perfect with zero blemishes, zero sin. Just as an electric line filled with electricity by itself carries power, standalone it is something not to be touched. Because people are blemished and not perfect, God being standalone holy is not to be touched, as the power and holiness is something by itself that our imperfect flesh cannot touch.
Some people diminish this all-powerful standard of God stating that was all old testament. Well shortly after the power of the Holy Spirit was released to the church a young couple also did a seemingly good deed, sold some property, and donated part of the money to the church. The problem though, is they lied and actually kept a portion for themselves while telling everyone they were ‘giving EVERYTHING to God.’ Shockingly, the result of their public lie was both of them on separate moments being zapped just like Uzzah. READ IT in Acts 5. I do not think it is coincidental that both Uzzah and the couple (Ananias and Sapphira) were examples of pointing out the seriousness of the Holiness and power of God right at the beginning of a way for humans to interact in God’s presence. Uzzah was at the beginning of David’s reign and A&S at the start of the church of Jesus Christ. We know of no other examples where this took place after David, just like God never destroyed the earth again as He promised post the Noah era. God is so gracious in all that He does in cutting us humans a LOT of slack. (pun intended in reference to the guy named Lot)
But God is all-loving and desires for every single person to have a relationship with Him. That is why we were created. From the book of Genesis at the beginning of the Bible, it describes how God made all things by just saying words, He is that powerful. But He desires the opportunity to have a relationship with everyone that He created. We who were created in the very same image as God, just like Him, we all want friends and have a desire for positive relationships with other people. It is how God designed it.
The limitation, however, is fitting within the common understanding of the law of power and position. There is only one Maker. So the designer who has the ultimate power cannot be over-run by something He made. A deeper study tells how some of those He made rebelled and tried to position themselves ahead of God. They were cast down to, guess where, here on earth. The earth is in a free state with the power of both evil and good being present. All that is bad is from the power line of evil, all that is good is from the power line of good. If you believe that God is only good, then all good things come from Him and vice versa.
My lightbulb moment contrasts the Bird on a Wire puzzle:
God’s power flows in a constant state, steady, steadfast, filled with love and power.
When we tie into the positive position upwards and are living on earth as it is in heaven, all is as it is designed for the good. It puts us in the loop with God.
When we tie into the grounded (earth side) loop, all is chaos, selfish living, and a circle of rebellion.
But God, yes, but God, who is good and loving and also just, does not force His love on anyone. We have the freedom of choice to do whatever we want. But once we tie into a loop, it becomes difficult to break that loop. The position of where we started and the contrasting results of how people who go one way or the other in relation to God’s being holy, good, and patient is described by Paul in Romans 9:21-23 (NLT):
When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into? In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction. He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory.
God set up a way for all of us to have a relationship with Him, even though He is perfect and no un-perfect thing can be in the same loop. People came up with religion and rituals to get right with God, but that was not enough, we just can’t stay in the position of doing things right. But God, because He is all loving does not want the power of judgment exerted, He really does not. So He set up a way for us to get in the loop and stay there.
First by sending Jesus:
Romans 3:21-26 (NLT:
But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.
Second by sending the power of He Himself to live in us and protect us. Huh?:
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 2 Peter 1:3
And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. 1 Peter 1:5
But hey Average Joe, what is the problem then, if all these people who say they are Christians are right with God and have the same power Jesus carried around with Him, then why are they seemingly getting run over in this crazy and chaotic world? Why are they so powerless?
I think it has to do with the bird on a wire thought. Christians are like a bird on a wire and have power and protection around them. But that power is neutral if it is not in the loop with the positive tie to God in heaven. Or looking at it the other way, it is only when we set our feet on the earth (ly desires) does the protective power of God that normally keeps us in 100% tune with God become broken. It causes us to miss what we have in our hands, or actually what we have living inside of us.
There are two loops, it is a matter of which wire a Christian chooses to hold onto.
It is a matter of choice. The easy choice, and sadly it seems it is the one many take, is to put our feet on the ground and live for all that everyone on the earth lives for. Money, fame, pleasure, people power, and all the other things that we think make a happy and successful human. Whether you are a Christian or not, the choice is there to tap into. The reason some Christians are powerless is not that God is powerless. Huh? It is a matter of the connections.
The other option is to live like the example Jesus set. He too had the option to choose not to have a relationship with God and had all that could be offered on the earth placed right before him. His life was on display for all to see how He would use the power given to Him in front of all the universe to see. (think about it, if you made a decision somewhere in your life to be a Christian), We are also in the same position and have the same power, so much so that Jesus himself said we would do greater things than He did on earth (if we live a habit filled life seeking time with God on His loop). But instead, He chose to do as He heard from the all-loving God while tapped into His loop at all times. (See John 5:19-20)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Hebrews 12:1-2
Just like a bird sitting on a single wire, it is in a neutral do-nothing position. If one feather touches another wire, it is fried. That seems like an awful analogy in comparing having a relationship with God or not having one. But a bird is free to do as it pleases, as are we. The law of power being neutral is a fact in electricity laws. Likewise, the analogy holds that we may make a choice to taunt the power and by joining in with the ways of the earth that is where we are most active and prevalent. In Romans chapter 8:9-10 it states (read below but, note the parentheses, which points out that those who never started a born again relationship through Christ were ever in the loop, if you have zero self-control maybe it is time to evaluate if you do know the All Good God or not), you are in the earthly loop and already have decided once the inevitable death strikes, what will happen to you.
Or a choice like a free bird can be made on the other loop. It is about making the connection, one way or another. If choosing God, the loop we are stuck in can be broken like that helmet that saved my electrician friends life. Or like Uzzah experienced, the wrong loop sets one in a separated position.
But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. [And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.] 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. Romans 8:9-10
Option Number one is not making a connection. When a person is ‘saved’ from that vicious circle of being connected and addicted to what leads to death, they gain all the power needed to stay away from the loop that leads to death. Do you have the connection?
Option Two is connecting with the power of the God which more important than staying off the bad power line, is using the power of God’s love and goodness to bring other people to hear, see, and feel that God really is Good all the time. We as carriers of that power experience God’s power to lead us to live like Jesus did when He was on earth. That is what a ‘Christian’ is as we bring God’s love and heaven on earth to those who do not believe. To those who are oppressed and controlled by the worries of this world.
I personally need a lot of help to carry God’s love and find, not surprisingly, as I spend more time in the loop with God together, only then am I able to walk the walk. Sadly, most Christians do not understand it is not just saying words or listening to a message about the holy ‘book’ that make us live like Him. The ability to overcome and love the un-love-able people comes from being in a real presence filled relationship with God. God’s power and love is steady and ready for us to tap into Him. But, it is not just for ourselves to enjoy, but to show those who are seeking peace with God that He is alive and ready to have a relationship with those who desire to be free. But only if you choose to join in the God positive power loop.
I went through this long explanation to first explain to those I know who doubt God because of what they see in the world and see in ‘religious people’. Just because a person has been given access to a power source does not necessarily mean they know how to use it properly.
Secondly, I penned this mind-boggling blog as I felt the message will help my fellow believers. Every moment of every day the power source is there. We have it not only available for help against the things that lead to death, but to bring and share what God intends for the world to be, one filled with His love, peace, and grace. Carrying and using His power allows the love to flow that brings God’s Peace to other people along with healing and release from the strangle-hold of all addictions. People can and will do the worst of things, but that does not break our connection with God nor should it cause us to hate and seek vengeance. Like a Bird on Wire, I can connect to the positive all-loving God and live like the One who came to earth and set the pace and example.
The choice is up to us for which connection we make. In the case of the ones who never made a decision, to say yes to God. Or if a Christian, to plug-in the connection that was provided and keep connected to our Savior and be what He has chosen us to be. For one it is the first step. For the latter, it is a continual walk, but it is still a choice to be free of the things that hold us from a complete life in the loop with God, or just sitting Like a Bird on a Wire.
Note all Bible verses in this post are from the NLT New Living Translation.