Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.
The Lord knows those who are His.
2 Timothy 2:19
God will bring us to the brink of despair in ourselves, to attain His fullness in us. To achieve this a sentence of death must be planted at the core of our old life. It is despair of MY life and no hope in MY-self that God is waiting to discern in me, When we discover we can do nothing of ourselves, His Life starts to be formed in us.
God wants to achieve His full purpose in the life of every believer – but some refuse. God wants to bring out His supreme purpose in His own – but few hear His voice. God wants His life wrought in us – executed through Christ’s cross and resurrection.. and the Lord knows those who are His. He knows those who will respond to His call.
But God will not share His glory with another. He will wait until all opponents are gone. He knows we’ll never be effective in His work, while the natural life seeks supremacy. All our inborn assets, however fine and splendid, are alien to the New Life in Christ. All our natural resources and inbuilt indemnities are strongholds resisting His will.
Yesterday I walked along the canal bank and reflected on the ‘wisdom’ of Solomon. No-one has been more amazingly equipped with wisdom than this young king… yet his life which started so wonderfully became a bitter example of self-indulgence.
Wisdom poured out of His mouth and He astonished kingdoms with his sagacity, Yet he demonstrated much folly until recognising his foolishness and his vanity. Vanity of vanities, all is vanity – all in this self-life is vain, foolish, stupid folly, except to love God and to serve Him forever.
It is vanity to seek after riches and money – for the wealth of this world is perishing. It is vanity to hunt out worldly honour and acclaim – for this worlds’ wisdom is folly. It is vanity to seek fleshly fulfilment – for it lasts a fleeting moment and then flees. It is vanity to seek long life – for this life is a transient breath in eternity’s fullness. It is vanity to set your heart and hope on things that pass in the twinkling of an eye. It is vanity to lust and long for the things of this world and its sordid, satanic system.
This world and the things within it are built on a foundation that will fail and fall. Nothing in this world, and the self-life that seek supremacy in your life, is of value. Vanity of vanities, all is vanity. All in this self-life is vain, foolish, stupid folly - except to love God and serve to Him. But it must be done His way in order to achieve His purpose.
Hosea tells us, that the world holds in its hand.. a deceitful balance If you seek after wisdom you will gain wisdom but be careful that you use it wisely, for there is only one, truly wise choice in this life, and that is death to the self-life – and living for Christ.
What an oxymoron! What a contradiction to the vanity of this world! Yet this biblical mystery is a truth that defies all human logic. This biblical truth is a mystery that defines the measure of spiritual effectiveness. It is only as His life comes to us by means of the sentence of death in ourselves, that we begin to be effective and fruitful in this world.
Paul sees great advantage in all things from which we shy away and try to avoid. He sees opposition, adversity, trials, and afflictions as an advantage for those in Christ; for this eliminates self to its only advantageous position - crucified and dead – and we discover we can do nothing of ourselves and start to rely on Him alone.
So often this self-life we nurture and tend is the wrecker of our fruitfulness; yet this sentence of death to self is not the end of the story in your life or in mine. This sentence of death is the start of a New Life In Him.
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