We don’t hear much about vainglory in our modern-day.
I remember the term in one of my favorite reads, The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan (1678).
What is vainglory, anyway?
Vainglory is a double word made up of vain and glory.
Vain refers to vanity, human pride or ego in boasting, acting or taking credit to get the glory from something. Doesn’t matter what it is. Vain also refers to the nothingness that vanity breeds (Prov. 16:18).
Glory, on the other hand, refers ultimately to the Shekinah glory presence of God. Glory refers, secondarily, to false glory of the praise of man.
The glory in vainglory is in vain because the glory received is not due. Not only is the glory not due, it is worthless originating from and purposed for man and not God.
Tempting it is for us to try to take credit for what God has done. Or for what He is doing. Especially when it’s done through us. How ironic.
Flesh never quits and profits nothing (John 6:63). But we always share Christ’s victory in the Spirit as we abide (John 15:5).
Surrendering our hearts to God allows Him to weed out these overlooked tares in purification for the true seeds to sprout and yield much fruit for His glory (Prov. 27:21).
For His glory is the only true glory. And we will be welcomed to share in it when it is revealed as we surrender and abide (John 15:5).
Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)?
It is the Spirit Who gives life [He is the Life-giver]; the flesh conveys no benefit whatever [there is no profit in it]. The words (truths) that I have been speaking to you are spirit and life.
I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
For they loved the approval and the praise and the glory that come from men [instead of and] more than the glory that comes from God. [They valued their credit with men more than their credit with God.]
As the refining pot for silver and the furnace for gold [bring forth all the impurities of the metal], so let a man be in his trial of praise [ridding himself of all that is base or insincere; for a man is judged by what he praises and of what he boasts].
As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
May you abound in and be filled with the fruits of righteousness (of right standing with God and right doing) which come through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One), to the honor and praise of God [ that His glory may be both manifested and recognized].
Then the cloud [the Shekinah, God’s visible presence] covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle!