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Vanity of Vanities

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.  For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?  Matthew 16:24-26

Some people are risking their everlasting souls in order to profit in the world's goods. Although there is nothing wrong with profiting in the goods of the world, it is a different matter for us to give our souls away to have the things of this world. Paul instructed Timothy on the wisdom of a life characterized by godliness versus the vanity of pursuing worldliness.

But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.  But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.  1 Timothy 6:6-11

Quite a scripture passage on which to meditate.  Godliness with contentment a great gain. is this really true?  Do I believe this?  Would I be content with only provision for food and clothing?   Would I be content if I were homeless?   Do I follow after righteousness?  How about faith, love, patience and meekness?  Is money to important?  How can the love of money be the root of all evil?  Do I strive for both godliness and worldliness?  Brought nothing into the world.taking nothing out.who gets my stuff?

With Jesus, worldly material goods are fairly meaningless.

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.  Matthew 16:27

Someone can be the richest person in the world. But if he has not considered GOD, his riches cannot save him.  The account of the rich man and Lazarus is a perfect example.

There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.  And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.  But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.  And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.  Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.  Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.  And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.  And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.  Luke 16:19-31

The rich man found out to late that he really wasn't as rich as Lazarus, when it came to real riches.  This story is not presented as a parable, but as a factual account.with real people.  Did the rich man ever consider godliness to be a great gain?  Did he seek things like righteousness and faith or did he love money more than anything?  If he didn't think about it during his life, he has most certainly thought about it in the two thousand years since he was ushered into hell.

Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived knew about the vanity of life.

Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. Ecclesiastes 1:2

Life in this world seems to be all there is to many today.  Grab all you can while you can.  Solomon who had everything the world had to offer understood that the "stuff" of this world doesn't really mean to much.   There are things much more important.

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.  For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.  Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Men either love the world or love GOD. Those who love the world, end up loosing their soul to satisfy fleshly desires.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1 John 2:15-16

Lust is a strong desire. According to scripture, those who love the world, desire to be satisfied by the things in the world and thus give themselves over to sin.

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.  James 1:14-15

Men give up their souls to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. These desires are for the things, which make the flesh feel good. These lusts might result in participation in fornication, licentious behavior, gluttony, drunkenness, drug abuse, and the squandering of money to shower the flesh with fulfilled desires.  Are most people around you vainly fulfilling the lusts of the flesh or are they gaining greatly in godliness?

Men give up their souls to fulfill the lusts of the eyes. The lusts of the eyes denote the desires of the senses.  These lusts might include involvement in watching vulgar movies, vulgar music or music videos, and pornography.  Do evidences of this vanity have place in our culture today or are most people generally seeking righteousness?

Men give up their souls for the pride of life.  The pride of life is the norm in this country.  Americans are encouraged to strive for power, prestige, wealth, and social status.  Pride is a problem.  GOD does not mind people being exalted, but He resists the proud.  It's a matter of attitude.  GOD first, others second, self last.not the order that most are encouraged to pursue.

Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 1 Peter 5:5-6

Actually, you can "live it up" now on worldly lusts and the vanities of this temporary existence or you can "live it up" now and forever more by abiding in GOD and His will.

And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 John 2:17

Meditation on scripture is not always easy.  Do any changes need to be made?  Is repentance in order?  A couple of thousand years from now do you want to remember your life and your choices the same way the rich man  Or do you choose godliness, righteousness, faith, meekness, patience and love.  If you choose the latter, a couple of thousand years plus or minus will make no difference at all. 

You get to live it up either way.

"Vanity of vanities . vanity of vanities; all is vanity"

Be blessed and meditate or meditate and be blessed.. The choice is yours!!
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