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The Common Swift (Apus apus) lives across Europe and parts of Asia. During the winter months, however, it migrates to Africa. Observers of this bird have long suspected that it rarely, if ever, touches the ground. But only recently has the bird’s flight behavior been documented. 

Life Above The World

Common Swift, Hornsea Mere, East Yorkshire, August 2019.

In 2016 researchers at Lund University’s biology department, located in Sweden, published the results of their study of nineteen common swifts. Using tiny tracking devices developed at the university, the team of scientists discovered that these birds can eat, drink, sleep, and even mate in the air. Data from the tracking devices revealed that the common swift will routinely stay in flight for up to ten months without ever touching down – not even once. With these results, the team brought to light definitive advantages to remaining in the air all the time. Common swifts are typically free of parasites and pests which plague earth-based birds. Similarly, they are also less vulnerable to predators when consistently in flight.

Of course, the common swift does not have to flap its wings continuously to stay flying. It is designed for flight like no other bird. Its wings are long and narrow, its legs are short and light, and its body aerodynamically shaped. It sheds feathers very slowly, so there is never a significant gap which would affect its flight. It is perfectly crafted to simply catch thermals and updrafts of air, by merely extending its wings it remains aloft indefinitely.

Common swifts live for a span of about twenty years. In that time, they will travel for nearly two million miles – the equivalent of four trips to the moon and back. The Lund University study proved that common swifts hold the record for the longest sustained flight of any bird.

Hasn’t God also designed the Christian believer for life above the world? Hasn’t God re-created us to rise by His power and remain in continual communion with Him? He gives us the faith to reach out to Him, and the capacity to be filled with His presence. He instills the longing within us to climb heavenward. Thus, as we rise closer and closer to His heart, we also keep our lives free from the parasites and predators of sin.

Our Power Supply

This kind of living is, humanly speaking, impossible. When God calls us to live above the world, in constant communion with Him, He is not calling us to merely do our best.

U.S. Marine Lance Cpls. Ryan Snyder, a 21-year-old team leader from Kapolei, Hawaii, and David Lambert, a 21-year-old mortarman from Granbury, Texas, talk while providing security from their defensive position as the sun sets during Operation Shahem Tofan (Eagle Storm).

When Jesus called Peter from the safety of the boat to walk to Him upon the water, was He calling him to do his best? No. Peter’s best might be simply swimming, or worse, drowning. But only by Christ’s power could Peter step out upon the surface of the water, walk, and keep from sinking (Matthew 14:23-33).

No, we cannot rise above the world in our own strength. But through god, we can overcome anything. God commands us to be filled with both His Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), and with His sacred word (Colossians 3:16). Paul stated that as we put our faith in Jesus, the Spirit renews us day by day and puts within us both the desire and the power to obey and draw near to Him (2 Corinthians 4:16-17; Philippians 2:13).

Storms will still come. Battles will still be waged. But by depending more and more on God, you’ll be plugged into an inexhaustible power supply. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31, NLT).



Dear Father in heaven, draw me into a closer walk, and a deeper relationship, with You. Bring me to the place, Father, where my every breath will be a prayer of thanksgiving and praise to You. Make me hungry, dear God, for Your word and thirsty for Your Holy Spirit. Feed me, fill me, and lift me above life’s temptations into Your divine embrace. Teach me, O God, to remain in that blessed place of security and peace. Through Jesus Christ, amen.


(Information from:
The content of this article comes from “The Warrior’s Bible” (2014) and is copyrighted by Life Publishers International. Used with permission.

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