Updated: Sep 19, 2022
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” (Philippians 2:3, 4)
I need to survive!" That's what many people say when things aren't going well in their lives, or their relationships. But must "my" survival be at the expense of others? In the ‘normal’ sense, what many tend to think is this: in order for one to survive, the other must be destroyed. It’s about me and mine. Well, you and yours must die or suffer lack in order that I--and mine--survive. Seriously?
No, but I am saddened to remember that at one point in my life, I functioned as if that were the way I believed things should be.
I recall that as a young single parent, I found myself so focused on making sure me and mine just "made it" from day to day and week to week that I couldn't see there were others struggling just as hard as I was all around me.
One day I invited several women and their families to have dinner with me and my family. It was through our after-dinner conversation that I realized there were other single parents in our church community whose needs were very similar to my own. As a result, my house became a hub for nearly weekly dinners. I endeavored to make sure that all of the children who came had at least that one meal each week. Eventually, I was able to talk with our pastor about the many pressing challenges his single-parent families faced, and he was able to change the way our church handled many of their situations.
In the process of doing for others, I discovered that in the realm of God self first is wrong. As His child, I must learn to trust that He is the Provider, the Sustainer of all. It is His job to take care of me and mine—as well as you and yours.
Thinking back, that is what my parents patterned for me by their lives of giving; I just missed something and failed to apply their example to my life.
So often self doesn’t even function out of wanting its own good. Self will actually destroy itself! We call it “self-destructive”. So, we say “I have to survive!” God did not create me to survive, though. He created me to thrive!
There is a huge difference. For me to thrive, I must change my posture, my outlook, and my understanding of my own need. Survival is exclusive, thriving is inclusive. In survival mode, I rarely see beyond myself. Thriving helps me see myself and others. It helps me seek ways in which how we can come through life together.
God tells me “I am Jehovah." I read the words without understanding. I (solo/alone/without the need of any other ‘thing’) AM (existence independent of any other thing) JEHOVAH (the God who provides). PROVIDES (gives freely/liberally).
This understanding demands that I get out of SELF mode. I must get to submission, humility, and trust. I can do everything through Christ. I realize that I was created for Him. Created to need HIM. He never intended for me to take care of myself or provide for myself!
Self-reliance is one of the enemy’s favorite tricks. Life knocks at the door, and if I open it, I get smacked with all kinds of things I am not prepared to handle. I stagger and stumble as if under attack. If, however, I learned to send Jesus to the door—and let Him handle whatever is there, I would learn that He will only allow entrance to what he wants me to deal with. My job? Let go. Let God do His work so I can thrive!
PRAYER: Lord, remind me that self has to die so You can handle all of the things you allow to come my way. Help me allow You to be Jehovah.