By Angela Georgantas — May 25th, 2018
In May’s article of the month, Angela Georgantas has written a piece on vanity. Though it is a short, the message is powerful. We tend to think of vanity in relation to physical appearance alone many times. Yet, this article reveals the other side of vanity. One in which King Solomon talked about and that we as Believers must stay mindful of lest we fall into its snare.
There is no doubt that a spirit of pride is the root cause of all vanity. When we choose to try to depend on ourselves to live a satisfied and happy life, this is vanity. Only Jesus Christ can provide the joy we desperately desire – anything else is merely a false sense of happiness, which is short-term and will never last.
Living a life filled with joy will never come from any person or possession. We must humbly come before the Lord and ask Him to flood us with joy unspeakable…and when our joy is complete in Him, that joy will remain no matter the storms in life. The Bible tells us that strength comes from having joy in the Lord.
“…for the joy of the Lord is your strength” ~ Nehemiah 8:10
May the message encourage you and help you to be mindful when vanity tries to rear its ugly head.
I love cooking shows. My all-time favorite is called Top Chef. Each episode consists of a cooking contest where chefs are given certain challenges to complete in a certain period of time. When the timer goes off, winners are rewarded, losers are on the chopping block, and one contestant goes home. Last night I was watching an episode on Hulu. As the chefs were scrambling to get everything done in the last seconds of the challenge, within my spirit I heard the words “Vanity of Vanities.” These words stuck with me as I continued watching their dishes being judged by the expert panel. The losing contestant for that episode was a homosexual man whose words of never giving up and pursuing his dreams in the culinary industry sounded sad and hollow. What kind of future could this hard-working, talented man have apart from Jesus …Vanity!
When I went to my prayer closet a few minutes later, I ignored my usual Bible bookmark and went straight for Ecclesiastes 1.
“What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun?” ~ Ecclesiastes 1:2
That was the question for this program. Then I thought back to another program I had watched that day. It was a video from the YouTube channel Jason A called “LIES & TRUTH 2018.” ( https://youtu.be/chcUv_nE5YY). It was about people in the United States using prescription drugs to dull their pain. At approximately the 2:40 mark, the woman giving a TED Talk says, “Our human need of significance, love, and connection can never be met with chemicals.” And yet, prescription opioids have tripled in recent years, and thousands of people die each year from taking the prescription psychotropic drugs their doctors prescribe for them to erase the “pain, loneliness, and despair” and the “lack of purpose, faith, and love” in their lives. So many people today are hurting and looking to chemicals to erase the pain when the solution can be found in focusing instead on the person of Jesus Christ… Vanity!
An article I read the previous day popped into my mind. It about “Christian Ouija Boards.”( http://pulpitandpen.org/2017/12/20/charismatics-using-christian-ouija-board-to-communicate-with-angels/ ) It was not the ridiculousness of the practice itself that struck me at the time I read it, but the reactions of those who had used the product and loved it. One said, “After playing that game where we really connected with her angel, I had so much hope and confidence.” Another said, “I have never been so at peace with myself.” Still another said, “I met my higher guide, felt unconditional love, and knew I wasn’t alone and never had been.” The people using this board are trying to fill holes in their lives. They are trying to find hope, confidence, peace, love, and an answer to loneliness. Instead of turning to the living God to fill their holes, they are asking for help from demons… Vanity!
So, what is vanity? What does Solomon suggest as the solution to it? Vanity is “the futile emptiness of trying to be happy apart from God.” What striving for accolades, self-medication, and dabbling in the occult will never do for any length of time or real measure is fill that God-shaped hole each of us is born with. Only God can do that. Solomon, in the great wisdom God had given him, knew it too. From various passages stacked together, he suggests “Eat…drink…rejoice…do good…live joyfully…fear God…keep His commandments…” for “this is the gift of God.” Realizing and appreciating that each day is a gift from God is the real key to happiness. Focusing on God, as well as His purpose and plan is what fills the holes in our lives.
“For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart”~ Ecclesiastes 5:20
Each of our days is a gift. Living in obedience to Him and keeping our focus on His kingdom instead of the distress of our lives is the only way we can find fulfillment that lasts. It is the only way we will not be just “grasping for the wind.”