Escaping Vanity

“All that we call human history–money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery–[is] the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” C.S. Lewis

To find meaning in life, to look for your “passion in life”, or to attempt to discover ultimate meaning, apart from God, is vanity.  Hey, but that's just the deep stuff.  There are innumerable others paths to the shallows of vanity that each have their own appeal.  I can see the effect of deep and shallow vanity all around me.  I bet you can too.  It is deeply disheartening.

Vanity is a plague in our times, as it ever has been, and yet it's deadliness has not been exhausted.

It was true in John's times….

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.  For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.  

And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

Can any conclusion about drawing the meaning of life beyond doing what brings pleasure to God be trusted, be real, be rewarding?

I imagine, Vanity calling out, with her sisters, Waste, and Wantonness.  She lifts up her voice to the young, and to the anyone whose course remains unclear.  She cries out to them, and beckons their engagement in selfish and useless living.  “Come to me and enjoy my rewards,” she says.  Sounds a lot like a voice from Proverbs, and from the book of Revelation to me.  The harlot, while abundant with natural examples, also appeals to us in a figurative, or more subtle, sense.  This influence wants to lure us away from what is central and true, and she wears a lot of costumes to disguise her real identity.  Personal enjoyment and/or personal fulfillment, accomplishment, achievement, purpose, etc., etc., etc..  and the undiscerning listened to, headed, and followed her call, until a dart pierced his liver.  – OUCH –

making a good start but then descending into vanity

How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?  (or by the flesh, as the older version states…)

How is it that you made a good start, motivated by the Holy Spirit, but now you have descended into vanity?

Even the things that were begun in the pursuit of the Spirit and God's will can be derailed by a subtle change of focus, a slight adjustment in perspective and mindset, purpose and meaning being replaced with vain self expression.

Maybe i am misunderstanding, maybe i am being critical, using misguided evaluation?  In any case, I want to urge you by the grace of God, to make a clean break with self centered, pleasure driven life.

Can we escape from meaningless living?

Purpose, where is your Voice, where is your Pleading, your Guiding Hand?  Help us to make a solid start down Your path, oh Purpose.

The path of purpose is long, and the ultimate fulfillment of this path lies beyond this life.  A solid vision and a well-maintained motivation will be required to persist on this journey until it's end.  Many who made a good (or what appeared to a promising) start became casualties along the way.  May that never be your fate.

What looks like purposeful living, from a human or worldly point of view, can be most vain.  If we are living for the moment, living for this life, living for ourselves, it may appear purposeful, but it will turn to sand in our hands.  False purpose is any purpose that isn't the one that God has for you.  And keep in mind, God's purpose for you is the one that you are best suited for, b/c your Creator had this in mind when making you.

We must seek God's purpose.  We must need it like our necessary bread.  It must be of central importance to, not only what is going on in our lives at this moment, but going beyond that.  It must give purpose beyond this life.  The scriptures are clear, if we don't have hope that goes beyond this life, our misery will be ultimate.  Good news is, God's purpose does reach beyond this life, and our cooperation in this life will have impact beyond this moment, into eternity itself!  God has given us promises that this world system cannot match, cannot compare to.

In the same way, keeping in mind that the way of the Lord is the way of humility, following God's purpose can appear in human terms to be meaningless.  The spirit man cannot be judged and evaluated in human terms, he cannot be reconciled in this way.  I am not saying that every thing that people claim to be “led to do” somehow contains transcendent wisdom.  Much of it does, but a lot of the time we are feeling our way, getting it wrong, and yet justifying ourselves by saying that the Lord led me this way.  Honesty and humility is important.  Let's don't seek to justify ourselves and shirk responsibility by hiding behind “the Lord told me to do it.”  Let everything be judged by it's fruit, or what it produces.  This means that we wait to evaluate such things until we see what they produce, not before, and really not during.

Yet the mind of the Spirit speaks the things of the Spirit to the spirit, and to the natural mind, these things are foolishness….  Nevertheless, let us seek to be led by Him!

The idea in this blog may appear to be descending into vanity, but lets don't take it that way.  For you, it will be ascending from vanity!  We have all had rounds with vanity, lost time and opportunity, and have ourselves been devalued.  That is no reason to stay there, to live there, to abide there.  We are being called by the outstretched hand of the Lord to come up from that place to a place of purpose.  (Receive this grace in this moment, because it is being offered to you.)  The purpose of God is not minimized or destroyed by our waywardness.  God factored in our weakness into His plan, insomuch that He sent His son to share in such weakness, and to overcome it.  This is our invitation to join Him!

Today, now.  Let's go.

3 Replies to “Escaping Vanity”

  1. This was right on with what I felt the Lord speaking to my heart today…stay focused on the eternal. Thank you!

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