“Vain Pomp and Glory”

The waves toss in and pull out with vigor. The breeze blows down air from the mountains. But the cold is worth the wonder of creation, I enjoy it through the shivers and cuddle up on the beach with The Word and a pen in hand.

I’m cross referencing a scripture I quoted earlier in the day and I find myself in Ecclesiastes.

Chapter 11, verse 9; “Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.”

Ouch…

Sometimes the word just hits a sore spot right in the middle of your struggling soul. And I gotta be honest with you, this scripture caused a little convictional pain.

The last couple of weeks I have been undergoing an internal struggle against the lust of the flesh.

In one of my favorite childhood books, there is a scene when the main character decides to become baptized into the Episcopal Church. Betsy Ray is only fifteen so when the Reverend asks her “Dost thou renounce the devil and all his works, the vain pomp and glory of the world . . . ?” the words cause her to falter a moment. She isn’t sure that she truly renounces them; “she hasn’t even seen them yet.”

I must admit, I sometimes have moments like this. I sometimes can relate to Miss Betsy. I get a little curious about the world and wonder about the “vain pomp and glory” of it. Sometimes I’d even say I lust over it.

Sin is appealing. It always has been. From the garden in that single piece of ghastly fruit, to the day Christ returns to destroy it, sin is captivating and tempting.

Sure, I would love to say that I hate sin, but I can’t fully say that. My flesh loves to indulge in it. That is why I keep going back to it, and not only going back to it but making excuses for it.

Like Eve in Eden, “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate…” (Genesis 3:6)

I can see it in bullet points. A list of excuses ready for the accusation moment;

   – good
   – delightful
   – desirable

Are these not the definition of lust?  

Yes, sin is all these things. Lust worthy… utterly tempting.

And sadly, I do go back to it and even crave it as Eve craved the fruit from the tree.

But in an honest heart wrenching sense, I do hate sin. I hate the very real effects of sin and what it does to us. Sin destroys us and it destroys our relationship with God.

And here is the end result of sin…

“But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.”

Simply put, God’s judgment.

Yes, Jesus paid the penalty for us and graciously took God’s full wrath upon Himself.

But, we still have to deal with the consequences of our sin. And the worst of these lies in utter separation from God.

So yeah, go ahead and walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes, but realize it’s ultimate destination. There is consequence and there is judgment.

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves 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 boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:15)

A heartcheck is in place for me. I want that promise of eternity with God, so I strive to exercise more self-control within my heart and thoughts. I need to keep a tight reign on my rambling curiosity and imagination. Keep them in check. Keep them in right standing before God.

Because even though the world can be appealing… It is void of love. It is lacking in everything good and holy. Though for a while, in your youth, you may enjoy it in the end it leads to a pit of destruction and death. There is restlessness instead of peace. Despair in place of hope. And fear in the absence of love. Basically… Hell within yourself. And I’ve seen people eaten alive because of sin and the lust of flesh. I’ve seen souls die because they chose the world.

I guess that’s why Paul used the illustration of a war. Because, honestly… Every day is a battle. Sometimes, every thought is a battle. And we can’t be lax about this one, folks. It’s “up in arms” with this one, brothers! It’s “charge” against this thing. This enemy needs to die. This sin needs to be murdered within us.

Piece by piece.

Thought by thought.

Act by act.

And tomorrow maybe we’ll be a little closer to holiness. A tiny step closer to Christ-likeness.

By the grace of God, we can be transformed. We can pick up our weapons and fight this and defeat this. We are conquerors in Christ, and conquerors win their battles.

But it takes effort, and it takes time.

Piece by piece

Thought by thought

Act by act.

 

 

In Christ Alone~EleyanaFaith

 

“Come, everyone who thirsts,

come to the waters;

and he who has no money,

come, buy and eat!

Come, buy wine and milk

without money and without price.

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,

and your labor for that which does not satisfy?

Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,

and delight yourselves in rich food.

Incline your ear, and come to me;

hear, that your soul may live;

and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,

my steadfast, sure love for David.

– Isaiah 55:1-3

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