Vain Conceit

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10 January, 2023




Thoughts on seeing a man proudly driving a swank automobile: He rode grandly by with arms stretched lovingly across the wheel, his nose slightly elevated and upon his face a look of utter content. He had achieved fulfillment. He was demonstrating before all worlds his reason for living. Here was nothing less than the Chief End of man. One could not help but smile; yet the sight was not funny, for this man was representative of millions who, like him, have adopted a deeply erroneous and seriously damaging philosophy of life.

If there were only one such man I might easily have missed the signs when they but demonstrate the results of the steady, day-by-day, round-the-clock effort of the image-makers through every available medium of mass communication to make the man think what they want him to think.

Not the big car was bad, but the man’s attitude toward it.

What was intended to be a useful tool had been perverted into a symbol of superiority and a reason for existence.

The whole thing takes on a religious character. The man is caught in a fallacy that cannot be shrugged off.

It has its evil effects upon his present life and will shape his character for all time to come.


Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

— Philippians 2:3


How tragic when we identify ourselves by things, possessions, status. Vain conceit fed by things—the big, the costly, the symbolic—eats away at spiritual vitals. It is humility that is to characterize us even as it did our Lord.


Forgive me, Lord, I find myself more susceptible to vain conceit than to humility. It is only in You that I have worth.