For Christ’s love compels us…(2 Cor 5:14).
I have been compelled by many things in my life. Vanity is one of them. It’s definitely not something that I’m proud of, but it is certainly something that compels me more often than I care to admit.
For most of my life, from my teenage years on, I have been compelled, controlled and led by vanity. The lust for a perfect body and the approval of others has simply compelled me all the more towards it. In an attempt to gain other people’s approval, hoping they’ll see me as beautiful, I would once again become compelled by vanity.
Vanity is a trap for the soul. In fact, vanity is immensely harmful to our growth in Christ. Vanity traps us in isolation and attempts to create a throne for us to sit on where we are praised, adored and worshipped by others. Vanity has a way of stealing our hearts away and holding us hostage. Vanity is all about projecting an image that looks good to other people. Whether that’s with the clothes you wear, the body you have, your athletic/musical/academic abilities or the type of job title you hold. There are other ways we cling to vanity, but the list could get quite long.
Vanity keeps us safe on the surface because whenever we pursue it, we’re always hiding a deeper issue of the heart that lies underneath. Until we are truly compelled by the love of Christ, we will always be compelled by the love of self. The love of self is a hideous danger that I’m working on with God.
Truly, vanity doesn’t draw us into real, life-giving relationships with God, but only fake, surface-level relationships that become about what we hope to gain from that person and what we want from them, instead of the grace that lives inside of them. We need more people who want to offer grace instead of a show. Truly, that’s when our hearts become bonded to one another. When we are compelled by the love of Christ and not the love of self.
Lord, help me to get deep underneath the surface of my own issues with vanity. Forgive me when I am deeply compelled by its power that I have wrongfully given it over my life. Help me to walk, instead, in love. To be compelled by Christ’s love and not the love of myself, in Jesus name, Amen.