by Chris Shook and Megan Shook Alpha

I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 (NIV)

Solomon just described the insanity of vanity and the tension we all struggle with between our flesh and our spirit.  If having more would make you more happy then the people who had the most would be the most happy – but are they?  Not really.  Every day we hear of beautiful, wealthy people who overdose on drugs or take their lives from depression and feelings of emptiness.  Having more doesn’t make you more happy.  Yet most of us struggle with this same tension if we’re honest.  There will always be tension between your flesh and your spirit.  For most decisions in your life, your flesh will tell you to do one thing, and your spirit will tell you to do the opposite.  It is easy to give into the flesh, but only the Spirit will reward you in the end.

You will never be satisfied if you keep running after earthly things. You can have everything you need, but if you can’t be thankful or see God through it all and notice Him in everything, then you will never be content.  And you’ll never feel truly beautiful until you find your sacred reflection in Christ’s eyes.  Solomon, King of Jerusalem, wrote Ecclesiastes 2 about all the things he accomplished on this earth and how he gave in to his fleshly desires.  In the middle of the chapter, he said,

I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 (NIV) 

Solomon concluded that everything is meaningless unless we focus on the things that matter most – that are eternal. The question is, are you going to spend most of your time on things that won’t last, like being popular, partying, and changing your body? Or will you spend most of your time on things that will last forever?  The only things that matter and are eternal are loving God and loving others. True beauty is eternal, but pretty is only temporary. The most beautiful people I’ve met understand what matters most:  loving God and loving others.  In fact, Jesus summed up the entire Old Testament with these two statements:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV)

Love God and love others.  This is our purpose and calling on this earth. How simple! We’re to look in the mirror of Christ to see our sacred reflections, and then we’re to reflect Christ’s love to others.  Don’t get caught up in the meaningless things of this world.  Remember the big picture.  Don’t spend years wasting your time and then look back and ask yourself, What did I do to make a difference? If you know what matters most is loving God and loving others, don’t let yourself get distracted and waste time on earthly things that bring only temporary satisfaction.  We all forget sometimes, and we let ourselves get caught up in pointless things, but don’t let the past ruin the way you live your future.  Let it drive you that much more toward what is eternal.  Do you want your life to have meaning?  Then start doing something meaningful!

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  1. I impress people when I talk of my strengths, influence them when I admit my struggles…. I desire to influence others, Lord help me to be vulnerable before You and others…

    Thank you for such a God send reminder to remember what true beauty really is…. The Lord bless you Chris and Megan….. all the way from Nairobi, Kenya….

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