Proverbs 13:7 ESV
One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
As soon as a man got hold of one pretty rock, he immediately showed it off and told all his brothers that he actually had two shiny rocks, the second was just a bit too large to carry (‘and so shiny too’). Or so the story runs; personally, I have some doubts as to its historicity. Regardless, the moral remains: people like to pretend they have more than they do. This path is not the path of wisdom, is not the path of the man wise with the treasure which does not rot.
People like being rich. Why? Undoubtedly, a good part of the reason is that being rich means you can have nicer stuff, eat better food, etc. Just as appealing to our baser natures, however, is the social aspect of being rich, the power and prestige it grants. This part of the experience, of course, doesn’t really rely on the riches being real. It relies upon everybody thinking the riches are real. Therefore, pretending to a wealth one does not possess is a very tempting possibility.
Don’t make the mistake of limiting this behavior to just economic wealth, either. Anything with perceived value can fill the role of money- whether it’s the modern privilege of assigned victimhood, the respectability of veterancy, or the intellectual authority enjoyed by professors, teachers, pastors, or other leaders. We all feel the lure of the prestige these things could grant; we can feel the temptation of getting other people to acknowledge our amazingness, even if its on false pretenses. Even though we know that this prestige is likely temporary, liable to break the instant the deception breaks, the temptation still persists. We want to make ourselves great in the eyes of men (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
The man of humility realizes the ultimate futility of all these things. In the eternal scheme, clout and prestige will fade away. Man’s approbation, even when gained through legitimate things, dies with the death of man (Matthew 6:19). God’s approbation, meanwhile, can be gained only through perfect virtue, but it is a treasure which does not end, an everlasting treasure, a treasure which outshines all the world in value (Matthew 6:20).
The problem, of course, is that perfect virtue isn’t in the cards for any of us. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We can’t achieve perfect virtue. What, then, is the point? If we can’t get this superlative treasure of God’s approbation, surely we can at least settle for man’s, no matter how deceptively gained?
The point is this: by His grace, God has imputed to His people, through faith in Christ, the righteousness of His Son (Jeremiah 23:6; Romans 5:17-19). The imputation of Christ’s righteousness to God’s people means that Christians can rest easy in the assurance of His eternal approbation. We do not rely on our own righteousness, which is as filthy rags (Micah 6:8; 1 Corinthians 1:31); we rely upon the righteousness of Christ, who took upon Himself our sin in His death and granted to us His righteousness in His resurrection, to which we are bound (Romans 6:5-11).
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.