Galatians 5: 1 – It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
There is a specific mindset we must have to be successful and walk free as presented in the scripture above. What keeps us ground-bound is our thinking, which I call "chicken mentality". Yet, God desires us to have the "eagle mentality" if we are to soar and be free. We will examine the chicken and the eagle as they relate to how God wants us to see ourselves.
First let me define what I mean by chicken mentality. The chicken is a ground-dwelling bird that lives majority of its life inside of a coop. Therefore the chicken in the coop only knows this limited world. When we have a "chicken mentality" we are no able to think above the "ground" or the coop. In other words, "Chicken mentality" is thinking that is bound up and imprisoned. Now let me define eagle mentality. The eagle is able to soar for great distances for long periods of time. While the chicken's characteristic is changed because of imprisonment, the eagle is known to live longer and strives, never losing its characteristic even in captivity. Hence, to have an "eagle mentality" means you are not confined to conditions, situations, elements or circumstances. You are always an eagle no matter what situation you are in and you are able to soar above it all.
In my study I found some interesting information. Chickens in the wild are particular about which birds they participate with. Furthermore, both the chicken and the rooster play important roles in the family. Remember I said in the wild, once the chicken goes into the coop, the chicken's identity changes. This is what happened to humanity. We were created by God to think and be different, yet when sin entered in; we became marred and were thrust into sins coop. Now we are like the ground-bound chickens that are imprisoned in limited spaces. Are ability to see above the ground is limited and we peck along the ground looking for the crumbs.
Now let's look at some of the characteristics of the chicken in the coop.
The condition of the Coop: Cooped chickens are in captivity. In some coops the chickens are so cramped together that they lose their ability for uniqueness. A chicken in captivity is unable to choose which chicken to associates with and they all become one group that looks like another. The eagle on the other hand is free and able to move as it needs. Even if an eagle finds itself in captivity for any reason it still keeps its identity.
~ The chicken's personality and individuality are lost in the overflowing crowd. – What often happens to those that have "chicken like thinking" is they lose their uniqueness because they are cramped in with other "chicken like thinking" people. We will lose our uniqueness when we allow pressure from others to act alike and think alike to rule our life decisions. God desires that you seek to put on the unique mind of Christ. This way we are able to begin to lift off the ground in our thinking so we can become who God called us to be. The eagle no matter what the situations; free or in captivity never loses its ability to be an eagle.
Consider this: An eagle's instincts are not changed by its circumstances, how do you keep from allowing the situations around you to shift you from what you know is right? An eagle is able to strive even in captivity, how can you strive even in limiting situations? An eagle has a longer life span than a chicken, what steps can you do to ensure a long "spiritual life"?
~ The chicken in the coop sometimes dies from obesity because of the lack of movement. – When you are not "working" out physically you will see the results of that inactivity in your body. You will not feel well. You will not have energy and stamina to accomplish what you need to accomplish. In fact, prolonged inactivity can lead to obesity and early death. Well God does not want us entrapped in a prison that keeps us from working out our "spiritual muscles". He does not want us trapped in a place that keeps us only taking in but never utilizing that which we eat. How many Bible studies must you attend or how many sermons will you hear before using the information to flex your spiritual muscles? What good is it to read all the great literature available to us, yet we are locked in the coop unable to move? The eagle unlike the chicken does not wait for someone else to feed him. He waits for the right wind and then he is able to fly, enabling him the ability to provide for himself. Spiritually speaking, when we are waiting for someone else to feed us and never taking the time to soar on the "wind of the Spirit" we lose the opportunity to feed ourselves on the right kind of food.
In captivity it is clear that the chicken loses its identity, what it was created to be. This reminds me of man's plight. In the book of Genesis, God's Word gives us the account that man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27 NIV). Humanity was created and given characteristics that resembled God such as the ability to think and reason, love, and make choices, for example. God gave to Adam and Eve all they needed to be the best parents of humanity. Yet, they took this godly ability to reason and made wrong choices. These decisions caused humanity to lose the freedom they had been given by God. These sinful choices made by man destroyed families (see Genesis 4). Just as the rooster lost its identity in the nuclear family of chickens, so has the father become scarce in the nuclear human family. All these conditions resulted from sinful choices … and into the coop humanity went!
Are you in the coop because of broken relationship with God or because of a chicken-like mentality? The first step to finding the freedom to soar is being in a right relationship with Jesus Christ. Now maybe you are in a right relationship, but you still find yourself ground- bound, what do you do? The first step calls for you to examine yourself. What areas are you limiting God and keeping your focus on the ground verses looking up at the vast possibilities available to you? Are you ready to soar? It calls for you to change your thinking from one that is limited by your surroundings and situations to one that is limitless and full of possibilities. Are you ready for takeoff?