Beholding Vanity

With our eyes wide open, paying attention, observing the world around us, we notice and interpret the people, events, objects and places from the perspective of our world view. We instinctively assign value to what we see based on our belief system, according to our understanding of our purpose, and our perception of what will serve this purpose. Those who pursue the temporal see a certain kind of value, and those who pursue eternity see another.

As the Psalmist views this world, he asks the Father to turn away his eyes from beholding vanity, and to quicken him in the divine way. (Ps 119:37) He doesn’t want to stop looking, to be blinded to the world, to not be aware of life; he knows vigilance is godly. (1Pe 5:8) He’s asking to be energized in his world view, to be realigned along God’s eternal perspective. He wants to see the emptiness of the temporal realm for what it is: vanity. (Ec 1:14)

Our belief system governs how we focus our vision, and actually influences what we perceive. If our focus is on the short term, we’ll only recognize the natural, assigning value to what serves our own broken, temporary convenience and pleasure. Sowing to the flesh, we’ll be blinded by the corruption of lust and indulgence. (Ep 4:17-19) God isn’t mocked (Ga 6:7); our only reward will be short-lived, shallow, carnal pleasure. (Mt 6:5) It never satisfies (Ec 1:8), because it isn’t designed to.

In how many ways do we behold vanity? Distracted by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life? Loving the trappings of this evil world? Attaching ourselves to incidentals, taken up with things of no eternal import? (Php 3:18) How often are we, like the disciples of old, out of focus, expecting Christ to enjoy trinkets with us? (Mk 13:1-2)  This is not of the Father, but is of the world. The world passes away, and all its lust, but he who does God’s will abides forever. (1Jn 2:16-17)

As Christ bare His cross, brutally beaten and scourged, He saw across eternity; those weeping for Him, should rather have been weeping for themselves and for their children. (Lk 23:28) Seeing from God’s perspective changes everything.

As we assign value to what we see, as we let our hearts focus, let’s think eternal: what will it be worth in a million years? That’s its true value now. Everything’s either priceless or worthless (Php 3:8); there’s nothing in between. (Mt 6:19-20)

Let’s ask God to quicken our spirits so that we can see things as they really are, either planted of God (Mt 15:13), or doomed to eternal fire. (Jud 1:7) Godly conversation, holy focus and engagement, is in Heaven (Php 3:20); believers are already seated there in Christ. (Ep 2:6) Let’s live like it.

writings     blog

2 thoughts on “Beholding Vanity”

  1. Tim,

    Excellent point. I like that I can mouse over and see the scripture reference.

    Your paragraph:

    As we assign value to what we see, as we let our hearts focus, let’s think eternal: what will it be worth in a million years? That’s its true value now. Everything’s either priceless or worthless (Php 3:8); there’s nothing in between. (Mt 6:19-20)

    What will it be worth in a million years? That’s its true value now.

    Good sobering thought.

    stephen

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