Do you like me now?

prettyThe conversation with the young woman was fascinating. Her life was shaped around being ‘pretty.’  Her evaluation of others was about their style of clothing, haircut, make up, and overall attractiveness.  She appears to be thoroughly immersed in that part of our culture defined by the Kardashians, celebrities who are famous for their superficiality. Life for people like them is defined by the ‘likes’ on Facebook, the followers on Instagram, and the attention that they can attract. I find it such a sad, empty way to live.

It is a question worthy of reflection as we being a new year:  who or what do we think gives value to our existence?

Is it being liked? Is it being able to buy brand name products? Is it having others take note of our face or figure? Is it our title, the popularity of our kids, the college we attend . . .
Or, will we go to another level, to the quality of character, to our work to improve the world in which we live . . .

Or will we go yet deeper to the things of spirit, the pursuit of the Holy?

Superficiality is not an invention of 21st century America! Jesus told a story about it, asking us to think about what we love in life. “The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself: ‘What can I do? My barn isn’t big enough for this harvest.’ Then he said, ‘Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll gather in all my grain and goods, and I’ll say to myself, Self, you’ve done well! You’ve got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!’ “Just then God showed up and said, ‘Fool! Tonight you die. And your barnful of goods—who gets it?’ “That’s what happens when you fill your barn with Self and not with God.” (Luke 12:16-21, The Message)

That story is not about success or wealth, by the way! There is nothing sacred or holy about poverty, ignorance, or failure. God is the Creator of beauty, the giver of good gifts, and He desires that we make the most of what He has invested in us for His glory.  Jesus’ story is about that rich man’s response to his success.  He thought only of himself. He considered his life done, full, successful because his 401 (k) overflowed and gave him the freedom to live just as he pleased with no regard for God.

The great danger of health, wealth, and prosperity is the illusion of self-sufficiency that it can create. Thousands of years ago, Moses spoke to a nation of refugees who were totally dependent on the Lord even for their daily manna!  He told them that a day was coming when they would settle, when their hard work would be rewarded, when life would be ‘good.’  In this word from the Word there is wisdom for us in our time.

“When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. “But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today.

For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good.

He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.” (Deuteronomy 8:10-18, NLT)

God, give us ears to hear what the Spirit is saying so that we will be preserved from a life spent pursuing things of little value.  Amen

_________

Lord I Need You

Lord I come I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
And without You I fall apart
You’re the one that guides my heart

Lord I need You oh I need You
Ev’ry hour I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
Where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

So teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus You’re my hope and stay
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus You’re my hope and stay

Lord I need You oh I need You
Ev’ry hour I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You

Christy Nockels | Daniel Carson | Jesse Reeves | Kristian Stanfill | Matt Maher
© 2011 sixsteps Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)Sweater Weather Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055pretty

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