The Law of Vanity
Are you obeying Satan’s laws?

We know that God has a government structure and a law. That law is the law of love (Matthew 22:36-40; 2 John 1:6). But did you realize that Satan himself has a government that operates by his own law? That’s right—Satan has a law!

God never created a devil. Lucifer was fashioned as the supreme pinnacle of God’s creation. He was full of wisdom—and exquisitely beautiful. So what happened? Ezekiel 28:15 says, “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” How did iniquity creep into such an incredible being? “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee” (verse 17).

Lucifer began to think about his own beauty. It absorbed his thinking so much that he became obsessed with it! By allowing his mind to dwell on his outward beauty, he lost sight of the real inner beauty that God was creating in him; he turned inward, instead of focusing on his Creator’s purpose for him.

Lucifer became self-centered and full of vanity! This was a new kind of thinking in the universe that had never existed before. What was the result of this kind of thought process? In his 1983 Last Great Day sermon, Herbert Armstrong said:

So the government of God was no longer operated on the Earth, and it was replaced by Satan’s government. Now what is Satan’s government? It is just the opposite. That’s the thing that the world does not understand, and I think we did not understand it until recently. I’ve come to see it. So now listen, because perhaps you didn’t understand this before. Satan has a law that is the basis of his government, and he rules the Earth. He rules over the nations of this Earth, of this whole world; and his law is vanity.

God’s love travels outward, operating away from the self. That’s how God thinks, acts and lives—that’s His attitude and mindset. When we think, act and live according to that law of love, it exalts God.

The law of vanity, on the other hand, is directed inward, toward the self. It exalts the self, instead of God. It breaks the very first commandment! This self-love is what motivates Satan and the world that he governs (2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9). And you can see the consequences of that way of thinking everywhere. All the pain and suffering comes from Satan’s law of taking for the self, satisfying the self—the very basis of human nature. All summed up in one word: vanity.

We all have human nature we are trying to overcome. Thus, we all have vanity. But in order to overcome it, do you recognize it in yourself?

For example: Do you like being the center of attention? Or do you gravitate toward someone that enjoys being the center of attention so you can be part of the “in crowd”? That’s vanity—exalting the self. How about when you gossip about someone else? By exposing their faults, you make yourself look better—it exalts the self. And you are falling right in line with Satan’s government.

So many times our young men and women become prey to someone’s affection from the world. Why is that so appealing—to receive affection and attention from someone you shouldn’t even associate with? It is an appeal to your vanity! Why do girls sometimes dress in a provocative way or wear makeup at school when mom and dad are not around? To gain approval and attention from their peers, especially young men—to appeal to vanity! Why is it so hard to resist peer pressure? Why is the pull to belong to a group—to not feel left out—so strong? Why are so many teens addicted to social media? Vanity.

Why is it so hard to accept or seek correction? Because it bruises our ego—our vanity—and we’d rather not be persuaded to change or do something we don’t want to do. We protect our self-interests, and that caters to our vanity. It is the same reason we resist the authorities over us: our parents, teachers, ministers. We would rather not submit to authority because it is humbling, and humility hurts our pride and our vanity; we would rather exalt the self instead of humble ourselves before God and His government. That is Satan’s nature in us.

But there is a solution! God made us incomplete—not only physically, but also incomplete spiritually. Every man is created with an innate emptiness—with a spiritual void. Man has a built-in hunger and thirst for something that will satisfy and fill that emptiness. Satan knows that! So he deceives you into thinking you can fill that void apart from God and lures you away, blowing up your ego and filling you with what only appears to satisfy—vanity and self-exaltation.

Vanity, you see, is a satanic substitute for the Holy Spirit. The only way you will really be satisfied and filled is if you seek after God. That’s why He made us spiritually incomplete—so we would seek to fill that void with His Spirit! By that Spirit, the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts so that we can live according to His law of love (Romans 5:5). And if you are not baptized, God’s Spirit can still be with you, even if it is not in you.

Everything we do, everything we think, is either motivated by God’s law of love or Satan’s law of vanity. There is no middle ground! If you set your mind to embrace God’s law of love and reject Satan’s law of vanity, applying yourself diligently to change, then you will be truly filled.