Carly Simon had a song out years ago that stated in part, "You’re so vain…" In Mac-millan’s Dictionary vain is described as, "overly or excessively preoccupied with or proud of one’s appearance, abilities, or accomplishments; conceited." This definition tells us what it means to be vain.
I believe this as we look at people today. There are some who are very concerned about the way they look. Some people have had plastic surgery performed because they do not like the way they look or, to give them a youthful appearance. They are willing to spend thousands of dollars in order to have the right appearance (right in their estimation). We are a culture that desires to remain forever young, for the most part, and yet we continue to age.
There are people who are overly proud of their abilities. Some people have a great deal of knowledge and can do many things well. Others are not quite as capable but they get accomplished what needs to be done. Sometimes those who have great abilities want to make sure everyone recognizes this. It’s like the Pharisees in the first century. They yearned to be noticed by the people (Matthew 6).
Others are proud of their accomplishments. You can hear them talk about the things they have done, the people they know, the places they’ve been. All of these things are okay and good but when one begins to boast of these things then vanity lies at the door.
The wise man Solomon said, "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher; vanity of vanities! All is vanity." As he begins the book of Ecclesiastes he speaks of the vanity in striving for wisdom, pleasure and great accomplishments. Many things we desire today.
Solomon lets us know that with all the vain things around us there is only one that is important. In Eccl. 12:13 he wrote, "The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep his commandments, because this applies to every person" (NASB). We are called upon to fear (respect) God and do the things He has said. When we do these things we will be blessed beyond measure and will be able to be with Him one day.
Let’s all make sure we empty ourselves of any vanity and humbly seek God.