Vain Cures

We love self-help books and do-it-yourself repairs. Much of this stems from our American individualistic tendencies, so it’s really nothing new. Actually, it far predates American history, because, though we may not have the books to show for it, man has been trying to self-medicate his troubles since the beginning of time.

Thank you, Adam and Eve.

But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

James 1:14-15 (NIV)

Though I may be able to fix a toilet by myself (with help from a YouTube video, of course), what can fix my pride, my lusts, and my compulsions? Some things we cannot overcome in our own power.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the world hasn’t tried. Think about Buddhism, yoga, or even Islam. I work hard to do good, but then something catches my eye, and I find myself prone to wander.

As far back as the seventeenth century, Blaise Pascal saw it:

It is in vain that you seek within yourselves the cure for your miseries…Your chief maladies are the pride that withdraws you from God, and the lust that binds you to earth.

Blaise Pascal, Pensées.

No self-help remedies provide the remedy for the soul. It is their deceptive aim to make you think they do. Instead, it’s a feel-good pickup for the day or moment, but what does it offer when we’re in the bed, facing the end of this life? Nada—literally.

I don’t want nothingness to be my destination. Nothingness provides nothing to live for. When we place our pride and lust at the feet of Jesus, he takes them and casts them as far as the east is from the west, then he takes our hand, fills us with his Spirit, and allows us to look at each day with purpose and hope because we now have someone to live for.

Are you relying on vain cures for the underlying vanity found within? Confess it to Jesus and let him provide the cure that brings complete healing for eternity.

Grace and Peace

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