It is the time of year when hummingbirds should be on their southward journey to their winter home, so when we see hummingbirds this late in the season we wonder if we should take down our nectar feeders. Perhaps our feeders are tempting the birds to stay here longer than they should stay. We know cool weather is right around the corner. Don’t they? In reality our good food isn’t enticing any hummingbird to stay too long. What is happening is migration. God has placed a strong sense in hummingbirds to head south. The birds we see today are not the same birds we saw last week. They are probably from farther north and are traveling south. They are just passing through.
We too are just passing through. We are sojourners – temporary residents, on a journey, passing through this life on our way to our heavenly home. In a sense, we are migrating from here to there.
“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.” 1 Peter 2:11
As we journey, there are places to stop along the way – We need to know what is a temptation and what is a nectar feeder?
Some temptations are easy to discern. “Does this violate scripture?” That is a no-brainer. We need to flee. But what if I am wresting with something because I’m not quite sure if it is acceptable to the Lord? Search the scriptures. “Wresting” may indicate there is a war between the spirit and flesh.
Some temptations disguise themselves as “good” – even “godly” – activities, making them harder to discern. For instance, do I stay up late making items to put in shoeboxes, or do I become so engrossed in a book that I can’t put it down and as a result other things are suffering. These activities, and perhaps what happens at your house, seem good yet what have we traded? Have we given up prayer and intimacy with the Lord? Have we neglected family or friends who need love and attention? Has our home become so messy that we don’t want to offer hospitality? Are we so tired the next morning that we decide to sleep in and skip Bible study and quiet time with Jesus?
When we look at the trade-off it is easier to discern if something is a temptation to avoid. These temptations, though appearing good, have taken our eyes off God and our journey toward our heavenly home. They have captured and entangled us. Now that sounds like “war” to me, and God tells us through Peter to “abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”
Jesus also tells us, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
Therefore, be alert. Watch and pray. Study to know God’s Word, his will, and what pleases him. Through his Word, we may discover that we have been going to the wrong source for satisfaction along our journey.
“For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things” (Psalm 107:9).
So keep waging war against temptation, keep watching and praying, and keep drinking deeply of the nectar He provides for us through his Word. We as well as the hummingbirds need food for the journey. So when you see the hummingbirds this late in the season, let them be a reminder that we too are just passing through to our eternal home.