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New-fashioned old

"... puffed up with idle notions..." Colossians 2.18

Vainglory is an old-fashioned word with current relevance. It finds expression between either of two extremes: overweening pride and false modesty, leading either to arrogance or low self esteem. How can such contradictory outcomes be the result of one condition? The answer lies in the underlying root of which outward behaviour is the visible symbol and that is our addiction to approval by our peers.

Why should this be a problem? Because it plays into the hands of those who pander to the whims and fancies of a sinful society which is obsessed by self-gratification, on the one hand, and political correctness, on the other. It has no time or place for God, especially as revealed in Christ and shared through his Church. Those who play the game successfully are lauded as celebrities and, increasingly, influencers. Those who fail are prone to low self-esteem, not because they lack anything essential but because they have fallen short of the standard they have chosen to measure themselves by.

The solution? Change the goal-posts! The Bible teaches and Jesus demonstrates that, ultimately, how we appear in the eyes of God is all that matters. Our eternal future will not depend on how we have performed to the crowd but whether our name is written in God's Book of Life. That record depends on either of two things: one is how we measure up to God's standards according to our own achievements; the alternative is to commit our lives to Christ in which case we are judged according to his righteousness and not ours.

Taking the latter course frees us from becoming people pleasers. Those whose trust is in Jesus, rather then the approval of fellow human beings/ sinners, are so overwhelmed with gratitude to God for his grace and mercy that they care not for what others think about them yet, at the same time, they care deeply for the needs of others - particularly for that grace and mercy which are gained only through faith in the Lord Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit.



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