Phil 2:3 Let nothing be done through stife or vainglory; but in the lowlieness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Vain glory is defined thusly
1. excessive elation or pride over one's own achievements, abilities, etc; boastful vanity
2. empty pomp and show.
Vanity of course goes along with this.
Ephesians 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind.
Vanity is defined thusly [dictionary.com]
1. excessive pride in one's appearance, qualities, abilities, achievements, etc; character or quality of being vain; conceit:
2. an instance or display of this quality or feeling.
3. something about which someone is vain
4. lack of real value; hallowness; worthlessness: the vanity of a selfish life
5. something worthless, trivial, or pointless
Doesn't the above describe this world? Empty pomp and show, endless bragging? Endless focus on winning the achievement contest?
We live in the world that has become the selfie kingdom and land of the self-loving narcissists. Everything is about showing off. Everyone wants to be a celebrity! Do you remember the time before when someone could just be an average person and be okay and they didn't have to be a star to prove worth? Today people fall all over each other to be "seen". Everything is about achievement and success, and showing off those achievements. Everything is about showing off conformity and the hoops one has jumped through. Yesterday I did an article on the Duggars and their vainglory for their love of fame, but this stuff isn't just affecting the big names but infusing through society like a poison.
I was raised in a very wicked family where just being there, wasn't enough. Your dignity as a human being had to be bought via success and money otherwise you were nobody and nothing. Honest labor didn't count if you didn't make enough. What you owned and what you could show counted for the most. They literally followed the "Those who Die with the Most Toys Win" ethos. They are not Christians and hated the fact I became one. As I have mentioned on this blog before, I departed from these family members. I am college degreed and had some semi-professional jobs including the ones I did with violent youth, but got sick. My husband had massive lay-offs in a dying industry. For being poor we became non-persons in this family network. There's far more details to the story but I was ostracized and hated by my upper middle class family for not achieving a certain class status. My mother actually once told me that I was a failure, this was after I was saved, and yes this was based on my material lacks. Being ill among Satan's sharks by the way brought forth no mercy. The wicked of this world live for vanity and vainglory.
Ecc 5:10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase; this is vanity.
However being a Christian took me to a far different place. Their lives were vain. They put material possessions as the top and foremost thing in their lives. One relative of mine even recently knowing I do not celebrate Christmas and am of humble means, sent me a photo online of 60-70 presents he had bought, he had a giant pile of presents around his Christmas tree. There had to be at least a few thousand dollars represented in this Christmas shopathon. To some this would be crass behavior, but to him this was normal. "Look what I could afford!"
I remember being in high school and crying because I was not a straight A student, I was an A-/B+ student. There was one time I brought home a report card with 6 As on it and one B+ in the 5th grade. My father actually said to me, "What's with the B+?". Nothing was ever good enough. We have a society now being run by abusive wicked parents otherwise known as the global elites, who do not promote good character but conformist serfdom that demands jumping through endless hoops. Here their chosen pets get a few more bennies and they form societies with giant underclasses and "throwaway" people. People are crushed as "losers", "worthless" unless they have a perfect body, and their thoughts conformed to the mainstream. They are told to "pull themselves" up by their bootstraps and that they are human refuse for failing to do so, as the global elite cleans out the tills. This is one trend in society seriously worrying me. Sadly many of the people tossed overboard aren't connecting with each other, they are still aspiring to the world they were cast out of.
Proverbs 30:8 Remove far from me vanity and lies: given me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me.
Love of riches and wealth is a major part of this vanity. Our society has grown worse in this regard. Have you noticed how everyone is all wealthy on TV and in our other media? No one in the lower classes is even shown anymore. Working class people have been erased from the airwaves. There is a reason for this. They need to have the poor ignore each other thinking they are the "only ones" and personally responsible for all of their own failures. The Disney land dreams stay more intact when being poor supposedly is from personal failure even with shows like Drugs Inc. and 48 Hours showing the direct rot of our cities. The New Age stuff helps run this engine with books like "The Secret" informing people they are suffering because they didn't think the right thoughts.
Everything becomes about status and running up the hill. Status seems to be the highest good now to many. In the world, I watch people back-stab each other to acquire status and to be "seen". They no longer make friends, they network. They aspire. They all want to make names for themselves. Even charities are full of people doing good works not for the implicit meaning of helping others, but to gain standing. They operate according to Satan's rules of trashing other people and trying to remove the people they see as the "weakest" link. This is some of the stuff that leads people right into Satan's arms as they close down conscience and lie to acquire power. The constant strife and squabbling can give you a headache. One reason I believe the USA economy is failing is because in the work place, people are more busy trying to play one-upmanship rather then innovate or work. Too many friends tell me how they are "investigating" so and so, and how the personality games never end at their work places.
Here you see people treating life like it is a fill up your resume' contest. Who's better then who? Who got more done? Who's on more committees? Who's been the most places? I have to admit being a person of more humble means when I am around careerists who see life as nothing but for resume building. I want to throw up. When I moved from a rural area to a more affluent area, I have to admit this was something very difficult to contend with.
What happens in a society where everything is a competition? Some right wingers may slap their chests and tell me, "Competition is healthy, you commie!", but I am not talking about business innovation but competition that cuts and trashes, where other human beings are simply seen as being in the way to be thrown away and weeded out. Social Darwinism that cancels out altruism and the modern Hunger Games contests determines who is considered worthy. Even our work world is based on the weeding out process. America is going to a very sick place where a thin sliver of elites are the only ones who are employable in jobs that can actually pay the bills.
When did life become a vain game of musical chairs where the "in crowd" gained so much control? When did we get to the point where human beings were denied worth in God and had to constantly prove themselves according to a long list of false rules?
When did we get to the point where only the "stars" count? Where being ordinary individuals with love and connection with others no longer counts? Our society has grown more wicked and far more narcissistic via the love of vanity. The long lists of broken people who have been given crazy dreams that only a very few achieve are immense. For every "winner" there's a hundred "losers" sitting broken hearted, despairing and dejected. For every "beautiful woman", there are hundred plainer ones who feel ignored and despondent if they do not have the love of God. You ever wonder why the suicide and depression rates are skyrocketing? This is part of the reason. Being a person just being themselves isn't enough anymore to this wicked world. They are handed false aspirations and the vanity of seeking after material possessions and worldly enjoyments instead of God's Will. "All is vanity". It's true.
I think when someone becomes a Christian and you get seasoned along the way, your view of this world tilts. What others consider the highest ideals become emptiness to you. It means nothing in the face of eternity and yes it does become hollow. Perhaps you relate to me in that feeling you get watching the world go by, thinking "It's so empty!". We don't want to give in to despair or say everything is meaningless, but a lot of this world is empty. It's dead inside. It means nothing in the long term. Sometimes you wake up look out and think, "I simply can't stand this place!" This is one thing that actually will create a chasm between you and the non-believing world.
I feel the pressure of vanity in my own life. I am not perfect. Having the family I had, sometimes I have had the thought, "When am I going to be somebody?" It is a thought that filters in. I had the pressure for years thinking if only I could have some great success or achievement maybe my family would love and accept me, today I care most about my relationship with God. To survive this world, often I have to go to God's Word and ask "What is important to God?" A lot of the wicked buried in vanity will seek to judge you and destroy you. If you are humble means, they will call you a "loser". You will feel lost and lonely among people who no longer can love, nor connect. You will see doors slammed in your face by the vain, who don't want any realness or authentic people around them. Avoid vain persons if you can as much as possible. Psalm 26:4. They bring a person pain.
I see this mentality with the Duggars. If one child "fails", woe to that poor kid unless they obtain a relationship with God to help them out! Their children and grown adult children are beautiful, they are seen as the perfect people to aspire by naïve Christians, but those naïve Christians miss biblical training and what God thinks as they elevate this family where appearances count for so much. My fear for the Duggar children as individuals rests in the harm that can come in a narcissitic family where vanity is held up as the highest goods, where success, achievement, fame and looks is everything. All the Duggar daughters are beautiful, and one knows the pressure is on to be thin and "look a certain way". In false churches and cults, physical beauty, appearances, wealth and success become the greatest good. People fall down before the vanity of this world growing more distant from God. Their religion becomes one of self elevation.
We see this in our society, looks count the most. But it's all through out society. Look at the false pride based on looks, wealth, fame. God is no longer honored but the self. When one sees vain people who have embraced the shallowness of the world, something odd seems to happen to them. They act like everything here will last forever. Eternity seems to fade for them and life here in this world becomes everything. They never think of the good times ending. They ignore the fact they may be getting their reward here instead of later. They are also cruel to those who have stepped off the treadmill. Vanity leads to destruction and we live in a society that is far more vain then ever.