1. <<self-pride>>

Vanity is an arrogant, self-centred attitude of personal importance, emphasising the temporary and external issues; often it uses a hypocritical mask of deception and pretence, to give the impression of what is not

Vanity is primarily an attitude of mind

actually true – through a spectacular, extravagant, outward show – rather than the inner qualities of character (Prov 31:30; 1 Pet 3:4; 1 Jn 1:8-10). The human ego or self quickly becomes swollen with pride, numbing the realisation of sin (Est 3:5, 5:9; Ps 36:2; Isa 5:21; Dan 4:28-37; Act 12:22). A person consumed with vanity is self-absorbed and preoccupied with his or her own opinions, issues, and desires.

The Bible declares self-pride ends in destruction, as evidenced by Satan’s downfall – he said, “I will...” when he aspired to elevate himself for selfish ends (Prov 18:12; Isa 14:13-15). As success can lead to pride, and so to one’s ruin, remember it is God who gives the power to get wealth, not your own ability, for what do we have that we did not receive? (Deut 8:18; 2 Chr 26:16; Ezek 28:4-10; 1 Cor 4:7).

David prayed, “Search me, O God, see if there is any wicked way in me” (Ps 139:23,24). Besides being sensitive to the Holy Spirit, we should be in accountability relationships with other mature believers who will give honest feedback, not with a judgmental attitude but constructively, for our benefit, as we can be blinded by our own exaggerated opinion of our importance. Paul said, even though it is the truth, I will not share my encounters with God so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I say or do (2 Cor 10:12, 12:6).

Jesus told a parable about those who exalt themselves – they will be humbled, while those who humble themselves will be raised to higher level (Lk 14:7-11). We need a true estimate of ourselves, not considering

Live to honour God, not impress people

ourselves superior than others – it’s only what we are ‘in Christ’ that is of lasting worth. We should humbly consider others better than ourselves and give God the honour for what we achieve (Isa 40:13; Rom 12:3; 1 Cor 1:31, 10:12; 2 Cor 10:12,17; Phil 2:3). When vanity rules us, God does not. When God rules us, vanity has to go. We can have only one master at a time (Mt 6:24; Rom 6:16).

See also: accountability, ego, humility, pride, self, vain.

2. <<useless>>

Without God in the equation everything is meaningless and futile (Eccl 1:2,14). Seeking the meaning of life outside of God’s will and apart from His presence will end in vanity, or emptiness while the closer He is to the centre of our life the more our life has true perspective and balance. Even those things

Live life for His purpose

which within themselves that are good if they are only used to build our Kingdom is vanity rather than building the Kingdom of God. If they don't cause us to love God, and our neighbour they are pointless (Mk 12:30,31). The OT expressed the whole duty of man as "Fear [respect] God and keep His commandments" (Eccl 12:13).

It is only through a relationship with God in Jesus Christ we discover our true purpose and destiny which extends far beyond this finite world (Eph 1:5,9,11,12; 2 Tim 1:9). We are not be self-centred but live for Him who died to bring us into an eternal relationship with Himself. Those who are His children "should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again" (2 Cor 5:15; 1 Pet 2:9).

See also: call/calling, plans and purposes, worthless.