Anyone who has dealt much with domesticated animals has probably observed the following: Dogs look up to people. Cats look down on people. Only pigs see us as equals. It’s rather humbling to think that pigs may be correct in their assessment of us. In many respects, people really are like pigs. Even our anatomies are similar! For instance, the heart valves in pigs are so like ours that surgeons use them as replacement parts for human heart valves. There are thousands of people walking around today with pig parts in their hearts!
Whatever similarities we humans may naturally share with pigs, there at least three ways we should strive to be different from them.
Pigs are Gluttons
I have been told that pigs only overeat if humans over-feed them. But they certainly do have a reputation for being gluttonous animals. If we say that somebody “eats like a pig,” or that they “pigged-out” at a restaurant, we mean that they have over indulged!
In our land of plenteous food and expanding waistlines gluttony is ever a temptation — and I mean “temptation” in the Biblical sense — an enticement to commit sin! Yes, gluttony is a sin. It is a failure to control a fleshly appetite. In Titus 1:12-13, the inspired apostle Paul says that “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons” and then he tells Titus to “rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.” Obviously one cannot be “sound in the faith” and be a glutton, any more than one can be “sound in the faith” and be a liar, lazy or an evil beast.
Like other temptations, we must guard against and strive to overcome the temptation to commit gluttony (Matthew 6:13; 1 Corinthians 10:13). If the places we eat or the people with whom we eat are leading us into temptation, we need to make changes. Proverbs 23:20 instructs, “Do not mix with wine-bibbers, or with gluttonous eaters of meat.”
Pigs don’t control their appetites. God’s children must!
Pigs Wash, then Wallow
People do not really sweat like pigs, because pigs don’t sweat. They cool themselves by wallowing in the mud. Describing Christians who fall back into sin, the apostle Peter stated that “it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and, ‘a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire'” (2 Peter 2:21-22). When we have been washed clean by the blood of Jesus, and then return to wallowing in the muck of the world, we are like pigs.
As God’s children, we are to be the sheep of His pasture, not the pigs of His pen. And, as a friend of mine often says, “sheep don’t wallow.”
Pigs don’t keep themselves clean. God’s children must!
Pigs have no Sense of Value
Pigs have no concept of the value of pearls. In Matthew 7:6 Jesus said, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” When people show no regard or respect for the Word of God, they are like pigs — they have no sense of what is truly valuable. Disrespect for God’s word can be shown by lack of interest in it (failing to study, prepare Bible class lesson, or attend worship). Disregarding and disobeying what the Word says can also show it. When we follow the ways of men and listen to the counsel of worldly friends instead of heeding God’s word, we are like pigs.
Pigs don’t value God’s word. God’s children must!
Let us lay aside our hoggish hunger, our swinish sins, and our porcine priorities!