Who doesn’t enjoy flying a kite? There’s something special about seeing a colourful kite soaring higher and higher while we hold onto the string, feeling somehow in command (even if we’re not).
We need at least three things for a kite to fly:
- We need to let go and allow it to fly. It can’t fly if we hold onto it.
- It needs a string to hold it and maintain an aerodynamic position in the wind. Without the string, it will be blown randomly downwind and just gradually flop to the ground.
- There needs to be a wind. In still air, we can run to get it aloft, but there is a practical limit to that, and it will soon fall to the ground again.
Following Jesus is like being a kite
The parallels are clear, and I guess obvious.
We were made to fly
Human beings have aspirations to do more than just exist. We want to find meaning, we want to be valued. We want to achieve great things, or at least something worthwhile. We long for adventure or at least a life that transcends the mundane.
And Jesus calls us to follow him in a life lived for others, and for him. If we try to hang on to our own lives and our own selfishness, we will lose out, he tells us, but if we let go of safety and follow him out of our comfort zones and into life with him, we will be fulfilled.
Staying safe isn’t an option. Holding onto the past isn’t an option. God is always doing new and unpredictable things, and Jesus calls us to let go of self and join him in the adventure of the kingdom of God on earth. Nothing less than that.
We were made to fly like a kite.
We need to hold on
We are not in this adventure alone and we cannot do just as we like. Without him, we can do nothing, Jesus said.
Like kites, we need to stay grounded. We need to stay connected to reality and truth. We need to stay connected to him. We need to hold on even when the currents around us are strong. Especially then.
We won’t fly for very long, and we won’t achieve our potential, if we let go of the way, the truth and the life.
We were made to be tethered like a kite.
It isn’t a choose your own adventure
How do we know when and how to hold on, and when and how to fly? What gives us the impetus and motivation to keep flying when we are tired and buffeted?
The Holy Spirit is the wind beneath our wings. The Spirit motivates us and empowers us. The Spirit is the wind that sends us this way or that.
But unlike a kite, we have a choice. The kite is passive in the wind, and cannot fly upwind. But we can ignore the Spirit or welcome him. We can choose to invite him to guide our direction, or we can go our own way.
But we’ll only truly be the kite God wants us to be if we invite (daily) and welcome the wind of the Spirit to lead us into new adventures, flights to places we’ve never been before.
We were made to soar on the wind, like a kite.
Like a kite
The Holy Spirit can lead us in so many ways.
- To begin new things that build God’s kingdom. They may be really new, or just new to us.
- To learn new things from him and the scriptures. Our understanding of God is necessarily so incomplete it is rudimentary. The world and human culture are always changing. There is always more to know. There may be new things that are crucial for our lives and the kingdom.
- To speak to this person or that, to say this and not say that.
- To hold on to this truth and to let go of that thing we thought was truth, but is not, or is no longer applicable.
- To apply for this job or that, to live in this street or that, to marry this person or that, or not at all.
- To correct us and convict us when we need it, if we are listening.
We needn’t be afraid or worried about all this. The Spirit of God doesn’t lead us to be fearful, but leads us into truth and peace.
Let’s be like kites, lifted and driven by the Spirit of God and anchored to Jesus.
The analogy that following Jesus is like being a kite came from reading the first few pages of Bruxy Cavey’s (Re)union.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash