Free from the Stronghold of Vanity
by Christian Author, Pola Muzyka
Contrary to cuteness in advertising, the stronghold of vanity is not male or female. It is an attitude stronghold. Vanity says I’m better, more attractive, holier, more intelligent, more blessed, more deserving, and therefore worthy.
Cover of Vanity Fair magazine.
Vanity sees no color, culture, religion, sex, or political conviction. It just is. The stronghold of vanity extends over boundaries and reaches into our hearts in an attempt to steal our [own] salvation. Salvation that was given to us by grace alone. Not by our works–past, present, or future.
Grace is given to [what vanity considers] the lowliest, most undeserving. Grace is unmerited favor by divine providence. It is freedom from our sins released by God as a result of His sovereign love. It is not up to vanity to decide who gets into the Kingdom, who inherits the earth, who gets God’s favor, or who gets saved.
Only God knows our hearts [thoughts and motives] and only God has a right to choose. He knows the end from the beginning. He knows what every person has gone through to get to where they are in life, thought, and action. We don’t.
If we are allowing the stronghold of vanity in our lives, we are deciding for God. We should be about the business of doing His will [telling other about the good news]. Not the business of who goes where. This, too, is vanity.
Vanity–A painting by John William Waterhouse.
1. Don’t be God’s judge. This is vanity. This is not to say that if you are a judge [who enforces the ten commandments] you shouldn’t belong to God. Of course you should.
Matthew 7:3 Why do you stare from without at the very small particle that is in your brother’s eye but do not become aware of and consider the beam of timber that is in your own eye?
2. Love every person without fail. If you are in a dangerous relationship, love from a distance.
1 Corinthians 13:3-7 I may even give away all that I have and give up my body to be burned. But if I don’t have love, none of these things will help me. 4Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. 5It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. 6It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. 7Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.
3. Learn to be humble. Life is filled with opportunities.
Micah 6:8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?
Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty (snobbish, high-minded, exclusive), but readily adjust yourself to [people, things] and give yourselves to humble tasks. Never overestimate yourself or be wise in your own conceits.
4. Give credit to God alone. Not to salvation by your works or anyone else’s. Only God can save.
Psalm 72:18 Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, Who alone does wondrous things!
Isaiah 43:11 I, even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no Savior.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me.
Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in and through no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by and in which we must be saved.
5. Don’t envy. Don’t copy anyone. Refrain from judging yourself by the world’s standards. Thinking of the good in your life won’t give opportunity to vain glory [vanity].
Galatians 5:26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.