September 2

Psalm 119:37-40

“Turn my eyes from looking at vanities; give me life in your ways.” vs. 37

When the word “vanities” is Googled the search results are exclusively related to those furnishings most often found in our bedrooms and bathrooms. There is an endless variety to choose from, all including mirrors and extravagant lighting. The styles change frequently and the message is that vanities should be changed out frequently. The psalmist had nothing like this in mind when he pleaded with God to turn his eyes from such things, though if he’d known what they were he might have doubled down on his prayers. Vanities are excessive pride in one’s own appearance or accomplishments and they are a particular problem for people in our self-oriented times. The psalmist believed that there was nothing more important than living a life centered on the ways of the Lord–and such a life has nothing to do with externals. Of course it’s necessary and good for us to take care of our bodies–we all want to look good! But such concern can easily become an obsession. Americans spend over a trillion dollars each year on skin and hair products designed to enhance their appearance. In the meantime spiritual poverty is increasing–more and more people feel alienated from God. It doesn’t make any difference how beautiful our faces are when we’re afflicted with ugly souls. As scripture reminds us, “Mortals look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Thought for the Day: What makes me beautiful?

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