Lying Vanities

Lying Vanity

I love it.

I was lying in bed wanting to go back to sleep—didn’t have to set the alarm today!—but I couldn’t. I had to get up and write the thoughts racing around in my head, tempered by wisdom Holy Spirit was interspersing amongst them.

Today I have my second appointment with my wonderful Christian counselor. She gave me 2 homework assignments the first time we met 2 weeks ago. The first was a letter to my Dad, the second a list of positive things about myself. I procrastinated long enough that I found myself writing both just last night.

I may address the first in a later post, but it was so hard to write I’m not ready to go there yet.

The 2nd was difficult for a different reason. I did manage to come up with a list of 21 positive things, although many of them were qualified.

One curious fact: none of the 21 things had anything to do with my appearance. I remembered this fact when I woke this morning. Then I remembered “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own chesed.” (OJB)

The online Bible study I participate in teaches us to appreciate our bodies based upon Psalm 139:14, and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us our bodies are the temple of Holy Spirit and should be treated with respect. But our appearance on the whole is not who we are. Nor does a number on a scale indicate our true worth.

I am not one who takes great pains with her appearance. Being a perfectionist, and never able to achieve that with regard to appearance, I don’t really even try anymore except on special occasions, or to appease my mother, with whom I live and who, being a true Southern Belle, doesn’t understand this part of me at all.

But. . . because my body is the temple of Holy Spirit, I recognize I have not cared for it the way I should have. I would like to say every extra pound I carry on it is one instance of a time I have not run to my Savior for comfort instead of food. However, if that were a fact I’d probably weigh 5000 pounds, or more likely no longer be alive. I think a better analogy would probably be every extra ounce represents a time I did not run to my Savior for what I needed.

However, my vanity mirror, which is about 3-1/2 feet in front of me even as I type this, and only shows me from the neck up, actually is a lying vanity as to the me described in Psalm 139:14. It does not necessarily look the way I wish it would (perfectionist, remember?), but if it could see inside me, see the steps I’m taking to forsake the lies and embrace my chesed, its value would be so much greater.

The online Bible study also has participants on the other end of the spectrum, who restrict their food &/or exercise to excess to control their appearance. All participants in the study are dealing with lying vanities (false gods).

I hope if you recognize yourself in anything I’ve written you will consider praying this prayer and seeing what God will do.

pray

Father, I thank You that Your might knows no bounds. You can take this stubborn heart and transform it into something truly beautiful. This is not just Your promise to me; it is Your promise to all Your children.

I know the work will not be completed this side of Heaven, but I’m learning to see it as an adventure instead of a curse. That also is evidence of your reshaping of my heart.

I pray that You would reveal Your truth (the only Truth) to me as I seek your face and ultimately am able to embrace the person you created me to be long before I ever drew a breath, that I can see a glimpse of the me that You see.

With utmost gratitude to the Lover of my soul.

Amen.

bible skinny

Jonah 2:8
Psalm 139:13-15
1 Corinthians 6:19-29
Ezekiel 11:19 & 36:26
Galatians 2:20
Ephesians 2:4-9

https://binged.it/2vorF4g

Chesed/Hesed

chesed

I am fascinated by this word!

Jonah 2:8 in the Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB) reads “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own chesed.”

Definition of chesed/hesed—There were actually several different definitions for this Hebrew word, the most common of which was loving-kindness.

This explanation, a bit more than a definition was found at https://discovertheword.org/2010/09/08/the-old-testament-word-hesed-and-the-profound-meaning-it-has-for-us-today/

Hesed is difficult to translate because it stands for a cluster of ideas—love, mercy, grace, kindness. It wraps up in itself all the positive attributes of God.  Hesed is one of the Lord’s most treasured characteristics.

Hesed is a quality that moves someone to act for the benefit of someone else without considering “what’s in it for me?”

It may be translated as “loyal love.” Sometimes the emphasis is on “loyal” and other times the emphasis is on “love.”

Look at some other translations of Jonah 2:8

21st Century King James Version (KJ21) “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy,”

American Standard Version (ASV) “They that regard lying vanities
Forsake their own mercy.”

The only difference between these two translations is observe versus regard.

What does vanity mean in this context? vanityThis is the image that first comes to my mind when I hear the word vanity.  Insert picture.

 

 

Next is the quality of being vain or taking too much pride in oneself.

Then I was surprised that it can mean what at first glance appears almost the opposite—the quality of being worthless or futile.

All 3 of these, on overthinking, can mean the same thing. Look at that huge mirror on the vanity I chose for this blog. And are not the drawers used to store makeup and jewelry, things designed to make one take more price in her appearance? And is it not true that often the outer appearance does not reflect the true nature of one’s heart/soul?

Setting aside the above overthinking paragraph, it seems like the 3rd definition is the one which most accurately reflects what is being described in Jonah 2:8.  Not just a worthlessly futile thing but a lying worthlessly futile thing.

Going on to a couple other translations:

Christian Standard Bible (CSB) “Those who cherish worthless idols abandon their faithful love,”

Amplified (AMP) “Those who regard and follow worthless idols turn away from their [living source of] mercy and lovingkindness.”

So this worthlessly futile thing is an idol!

We follow the vanities/idols of our unfaithful hearts, be they any of the mind-numbing activities we use to . . . wow! . . . numb our minds! These could be addictive behaviors, unrighteous anger, self, maybe even things that aren’t necessarily bad but become bad when used the wrong way.  In so doing we are actually repenting—or turning away from—the chesed/hesed (It wraps up in itself all the positive attributes of God.  Hesed is one of the Lord’s most treasured characteristics) Abba so freely gives.

Please join me as, with the help of my Father, I learn to repent of the lying vanities and embrace the chesed.

praying

My Father in Heaven, I come before you having followed the lying vanities a large part of this day.

Tomorrow is a new day, and according to Lamentations 3:22-23 because of your great love (hesed/chesed) your compassions and mercies are new every day. I receive your perfect compassions and mercies working in my soul tomorrow, knowing that your love is making me complete.

Now, because of you, Lord, I will like down in peace and sleep comes at once, for no matter what happens, I will live unafraid!

Perfect Isn’t a Thing

In my quest to memorize the chapter of Romans 8, I last memorized verse 5:  For those who are dominated by their sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.

romansTime for verse 6:  So letting your sinful nature control your thoughts leads to death, but letting the Spirit control your thoughts leads to life and peace.

The meaning behind this verse permeates the online Bible study I’m currently doing.  Every participant in the study is trying to reach the place where the Spirit is in control (perfection).
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Today in the online webinar I learned perfect isn’t possible.  It isn’t even a thing.  Uggh!  Even for this overthinker, because my overthinking is overlaid with a tendancy to put everything in black and white, this is very hard to procsess, but . . . I will attempt to do so.

I would assume the teaching refers to our bodies (sinful natures) and souls; i.e., our humanness.  Because our spirit, the main part of us, was already complete (perfect) when it came to life at our salvation.  If our spirits were in control, we would not have to achieve perfection; it would already be present.

Unfortunately most of us live with our humanness in control, rather than our spirit.  We are not predominately led by the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, it’s not possible to be perfect in this life, it is not possible to be 100% Spirit led 100% of the time.  The goal is to each day give up a larger percentage of our self (body & soul) to the control of the spirit alive within us who are born again.

There is a song currently popular in CCM called “Hard Love” by the group Need to Breathe.  One of the lines goes like this:  “It’s not enough to just feel the flame.  You’ve gotta burn your old self away”.  This is so radical.  I don’t even like feeling the flame!  Burning my old self away?  But consider:  When we let God “burn away” our old self (humanness/sinful nature) we will be free to experience life, real life, and peace of the supernatural variety rather than sin and death through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:24 & 25), the only human being who ever was or will be perfect.

Note to me:  Quit trying to be perfect, let the Perfect One lead you.