In a recent book, Kenneth Boa compares a soaring eagle to Christians learning to soar through the power of the Holy Spirit:
“God seems to like eagles. Thirty-three Bible verses mention them! Eagles are true flying birds, meaning they get off the ground flapping, but they soar by thermals. Eagles begin flight training around four months old. But even before that, at about two months, they stand up in the nest and spread their wings when they feel gusts of wind. They’re training to know the thermals! Thermals are the columns of air formed as heat rises from the ground. Because heat rises, these air columns push up and up, displacing the cold air around them. By staying in the warmth of the thermal, the birds continue to soar. Eagles become experts in this.
“In this magnificent aerodynamic action, gravity is deactivated – it’s still at work – but the higher principle overcomes gravity. Eagles drop down when they step off a branch. Then, they start flapping like crazy. Once they’re in the air, though, their wings don’t have to work very hard, and while soaring, they use a small fraction of the effort required to rise. They’re almost at rest and can just enjoy the pleasure of flight.
“When we first begin following Christ (or practicing a spiritual discipline) we’re like eagles spreading our wings. Once we start flapping, though we lift up. Maybe after a few tries we’re back down on the ground. But through repeated practice, we finally soar. Also, in Greek, the Holy Spirit is called pnuema, which means “current of air.” Think about what this means for us! We flap and flap, but eventually we catch the current of air, and we soar. This is how the Holy Spirit works with our training. He’s not only our coach; he’s the power behind everything we do.”