In our travels through the Australian bush my wife and I would sometimes come across flocks of wild budgerigars.
These birds are untamed and they fly free, and boy can they fly! They race around the sky like a formation of fighter jets, moving in perfect precision and executing high speed manoeuvres as if they had a single mind controlling them all.
It is worth stopping to watch these budgies in their native environment, flying fast and free.
The contrast between the wild budgie and the one that sits at home in a cage is stark.
They sit behind bars as a caged animal, and no matter how big the cage is, they will never fly like those in the bush.
Why? Because they simply are not free.
I expect for the most part they don’t even realise there is a different way of life. They were caged when hatched, are caged throughout their life, and will most likely remain caged until they fall off their perches.
An analogy for Christians
Now you may be wondering what on earth could be the link between budgies and Christians in the Church.
In many ways they are very similar.
There are Christians who fly free and without constraints, like the wild, bush budgerigar. And then there are Christians who are bound up in many ways in their church and are like a budgie in a cage.
And the ones who are bound often don’t even realise they are bound. They don’t see the prisons they are in, and even if they could they don’t know how to break out of prison.
Let me explain further by asking a few questions. First, why did Jesus come to planet earth?
There are many answers to that question, but here is a big one. He came to take away our sins.
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John chapter 1, verse 29)
Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John chapter 8, verses 34-36)
Given that Jesus has taken away all of our sins, my second question is this: Are you still a sinner?
While you think about that, consider this scripture.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? (Romans chapter 6, verses 1-2)
We have died to sin through the death of Jesus Christ which we receive through being baptised into His death. We die with Christ in baptism and are raised as new creations, set free from sin to walk in newness of life with Christ.
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? (Romans chapter 6, verse 3)
Putting it together
So going back to the questions, if your sins are taken away and you have died to sin with Christ, then you are set free. You are like a wild budgie, roaming the open plains and the skies flying free.
But if you are still in bondage to sin and you consider yourself a sinner, suffering under condemnation, then you are like a caged budgie. You are bound by the bars of your past sins with no way to escape.
And often, like a caged budgie, you may not even realise that there is a cage around you and that there is a way to escape. You may even be happy as a caged budgie because that is what you have been told is your lot in life as a Christian.
So, which are you?
The way of escape
If you call yourself a sinner and suffer guilt and condemnation, there is a way to unlock your budgie cage and get out. You just have to go through the door. Jesus made this comment.
“I am the door; if anyone enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John chapter 10, verse 9)
Jesus is the door. He opens the door to set you free. He takes away the sin of the world. He died to set you free from sin. He says it is possible to live without sin and condemnation in your life, when you die with Him through baptism and believe in what God the Father has done in Jesus’ death and resurrection.
So, one final question.
Do you want to be, (or remain?), a caged budgie, or do you want to fly fast and free like a wild budgie as you were meant to be in Christ Jesus?
And remember the words of Paul while you consider this:
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians chapter 5, verse 1)
Since retiring from work, John Lemmon now spends his time teaching, preaching and writing about the word of God, online and offline, answering God's call on him to “Speak to my people.” You can connect with John on Twitter (@JohnBLemmon) or on his website: freegiftfromgod.com/ or listen to his podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-free-gift-from-god-podcast/id1440682375