Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Vanity Christianity

Another shopping story for you:

(disclaimer:  For those of you who don’t know me well, I am not a big shopper—in fact, I don’t even really like to go shopping because I’m not very good at fashion.  But, seeing as I had Goodwilled so many of my clothes lately and all I had left in my closet was a Felix the Cat t-shirt that I picked up in the men’s clearance section at Target, a few hoodies, and a pair of jeans I got for free at a clothing swap, I decided it was time to restock.  That is why I went shopping TWICE last week. Just had to set the record straight.)

The other day I was trying on jeans and I noticed that the size I had been wearing for the last 20+ years was actually a little big on me.  Normally this would have been a cause for rejoicing, but having just celebrated a week of birthdays complete with cupcakes and multilayer cakes, I knew that I had not lost weight.  In fact, if anything, I was a little heavier than I like to be. Even so, the fact that the size of jeans I was wearing was smaller than my past purchases made me feel good about myself. 

That, my friends, is called “Vanity Sizing”.  Companies employ this strategy to gain customers.  Since their clothes are sized smaller than expected, women wear “smaller” jeans, “smaller” shirts and enjoy increased self-esteem.  It’s a win-win situation.  But it’s not the truth.

Sometimes in America, I see what I call “Vanity Christianity”.  People caught up in Vanity Christianity love what Christianity stands for, what it looks like, what it represents…until it gets hard.  Then they go searching for something that “fits” them better.  They are gung ho about serving God until He asks them to do something uncomfortable—even embarrassing.  When truth hits them between the eyes, they turn the other way and look for something more appealing—something that makes them feel better about themselves. 

When Christ asked us to follow Him, He did not promise comfort, or self-esteem, or worldly success. 

He did, however, promise us trouble, tribulation, and circumstances that feel like they don’t quite fit. 

And with these He gives us security—security that He will never leave us; security that He will always love us; and security that He is always in control—no matter how big our problem gets. As Christ-followers, we are eternally secure in Him—and that’s worth more than all the feel-good theology this world can offer.

Don’t let vanity get the best of you.  God deserves that.


 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

2 Timothy 4:3

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