Believest thou that there is no God? I say unto you, Nay, thou knowest that there is a God, but thou lovest that lucre more than him.
For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth.
And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit.
And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost.
Thou knowest that there is a God, but thou lovest that lucre more than him
For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God
A great and spacious building filled with people, and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine, and they were mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who were partaking of the fruit
In my last post I mentioned that when we are unwilling to embark on the epic life that God offers, that then we seek a counterfeit version, trying to replace a life of spiritual significance for one of worldly fame.
And as these verses suggest, there arises a competition between these different paths of life. I’ve seen it in my own life, even in my own self. I am as susceptible as everyone else to the temptation of vanity. I know what it is to desire the goods and recognition of my fellow man, to want to be seen as important and somehow better than others. And I can attest that when I am in such a state I truly do feel antagonistic to the things of God. When I am shallow and self-obsessed I become cynical; I assume that all people are just as shallow and self-obsessed as I am, and I believe that those who seem more spiritual are simply too hypocritical to show it. It’s an understandable mindset, I suppose, but also a deeply warped one.
Of course, it is possible to seek the truly epic life, the one that comes through a partnership with God, and while in that cause have public notoriety become attached to us as a side-effect. Think of Joseph sold into Egypt and becoming the second-in-command of that nation. Think of Daniel becoming an advisor to kings. Think of Jesus causing powerful stirs among the public. But each of these men sought God first and then the fame was a mere periphery to that.
That is what matters most: which ambition is it that sits first in our hearts? For as today’s verses show: when we seek the praise and riches of the world first and foremost, then we tend to ridicule those that still seek the original article.