Survival Instincts versus Complete Trust


Philippians 2:3-4 NIV “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” 

It is fun to watch and observe our dogs interact, especially my son’s Australian shepherd, Luna, and our Dachshund, Mayer. And the best time to do this is breakfast or dinner time. Mayer is Luna’s eating-motivator and Luna takes it to the extremes. When they eat together, Mayer takes one piece of kibble while Luna grabs seven to ten pieces at a time. With the morsels secured in her mouth, she moves to a different part of the room then drops her loot on the floor and starts chewing them one at a time. Then she would go back to the bowl, and do the same thing over and over again, emptying the bowl before Mayer has had his fill. I have never seen any other dog act this way and this does not typically happen when she eats alone.
Though the scenario I described might seem cute, it brings me back to the fundamental reminder in our key verse, “to value others above myself, not looking to my own interest but to the interests of the others.” Like Luna, I need to remember that I do not need to hoard things or look only after myself. God will take care of everything I need at the right time and the right amount. This was what He did with the Israelites as they wandered through the desert. They were instructed to collect enough manna for the day, except on the sixth day when they were asked to double the portion so that they can rest from their labor the next day (Exodus 16:4). And God provided for them faithfully.
Whether Luna’s behavior is solely a survival instinct or a sign of her competitive nature, what she does not anticipate is that I would be providing for both her and Mayer’s needs–that she can share and will be provided with more, if necessary. As Luna learns to trust that her human family will provide adequately for her and Mayer, maybe then she will not be hoarding food in her mouth. Similarly, when we embrace the assurance that God can and will provide adequately for our needs it will be easier for us to practice Philippians 2:3-4.

Father, may I always remember that You are my gracious Provider. Help me to trust and have the confidence in You as You completely supply for all my needs. As You said in Your Word, “I shall not want.” I will lack nothing because You provide me with “everything I need for every good work.” Let me not look only to my own interest but to the interests of others.

In Jesus’ Precious Name,