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Self-absorption seems to be a growing element of our popular culture.  “Selfie” was a new word added to the dictionary in 2013.  You might post a “selfie” on “Myspace.”  The first known selfie was produced by Robert Cornelius in 1839.  Vanity is nothing new.  Social networking has produced a greater motivation to get noticed.
Americans spent $38.698 billion on cosmetics in 2007.  Men spent $11.059 billion.  Women spent $27.638 billion.  American ranks #1 in the world on cosmetic spending, but #23 in the world on “satisfaction with life.”  Jennifer Aniston spends $8,000.00 a  month on exercise and beauty.  Vanity is alive and well in America today.
Vainglory Defined
Vainglory is a compound word made up of vain (kenos) and glory (doxia).  Kenos refers to that which is empty (Acts 4:25-vain things–among which would be idolatry).  Doxia refers to glory.  Vainglory is empty glory.  Vainglory is the desire to be noticed and praised by men.  Vainglory means to seek attention in disordered ways cultivated inwardly by pride or fear and externally by other’s high expectations. (see We’re So Vain, Christianity Today, Nov., 2014, p. 67).
Vainglory Developed
Vainglory may begin innocently after rightfully earning honor for some praiseworthy quality or accomplishment.  The thirst for applause grows.  A thirst for recognition grows and becomes overpowering.  Vainglory is the pursuit of praise rather than the good at its root.  The prideful desire superiority.  The vainglorious desire a show of superiority.  In Matt. 6:1-2, Jesus warned against religion that was merely an outward show.  If religion is practiced to be seen of men and for the praise of men, then it is vain.  The reward obtained is the applause of men, but God’s approval is withheld.  Vain religion is a sham and a shame.
Vainglory Its Associations
Vainglory is associated with strife in Phil. 2:3, “Let nothing be done through strife and vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”  Vainglory produces rivalry that often leads to confrontation and strife.  In I John 2:16, John mentions “the pride of life” as an avenue of temptation used by Satan to bring us to condemnation before God.  Eve succombed to this temptation whenever she saw that the forbidden fruit would make her wise like a god (Gen. 2:17, 3:5-6).  Pride fuels vainglory.  James associates boastings with evil in James 4:13-16.  “But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.”  Paul associates vainglory with envy in Gal. 5:26, “Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”  Envy drove the rivalry between the Jewish leaders and Jesus.  They envied Him and they destroyed Him by having Him crucified (Matt. 27:18; Mark 15:10). Finally, vainglory is at the root of hyprocrisy (Matt. 6:1-2; 23:1-ff).  Alms, fasting and prayer should not be done to attract the attention of men or for the applause of men.  Jesus reveals the hypocrisy of those who put on a show of religion but inwardly  are corrupt.  Often you can learn much about a word by the company it keeps!
Vainglory Its Opposites
Returning to Phil. 2:3, Paul states two things that stand in opposition to vainglory.  The first is lowliness of mind.  The second is esteeming others better than self.  Humility and self-abnegation stand in opposition to vainglory.  In I Cor. 13:4, Paul states that love “vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.”  Vainglory is slain by love.  Finally, goodness stands in opposition to vainglory.  We might refer to it as magnanimity or greatness of soul.  It is goodness for goodness sake.  It is living to please God and imitate Him (Eph. 5:1).  It is seeking only to please God (Gal. 1:10).
Vainglory Its Correction
When we really know and believe that we are loved by God, then we do not covet the accolades of men.  We are beloved of God (Rom. 1:7).  Vainglory is an attempt to fill up a void of acceptance and being loved.  God does both.  He accepts us and loves us.  Christians should pursue the good in order to be approved by God (II Tim. 2:15).  In order to correct vainglory, we must repent and be converted (Acts 3:19).  We must turn away from sin and turn whoeheartedly to God.  Then, we will follow Paul’s directive to esteem others better than self (Phil. 2:3).