Scripture: Ecclesiastes 2:4–11
Key Verse: “And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 2:10–11)
While growing up I compared myself to others—the games or clothes I had, gifts I received during holidays, even the friends that I spent time with. I determined my identity solely on what I had. When I compared myself to others, I often felt inadequate. When my friends moved away, or my games became outdated, I felt as if my life wasn’t as great as that of others. As a result, the way I saw myself changed constantly, and I was never satisfied.
In the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon describes deep dissatisfaction with his life. He was the wisest and richest man in the world, at the time of his reign. He had everything he could ever want, yet he wrote with a deep frustration realizing that everything he owned temporarily brought him satisfaction. His happiness was due to his wives, riches, and his accomplishments, but he realized that in the end they have no eternal value or meaning. Having these things was like “string after wind.”
Solomon eventually realized that his only lasting possession was his relationship with God. He writes, “Fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). This king who had everything realized that knowing God brought the joy and purpose. He was always seeking. Solomon’s wise words helped me realize that the things on which I based my identity could not bring lasting happiness. Today my identity is rooted in my relationship with God, the only thing that will truly last.
What are some things in your life on which you base your identity? How do these things compare to your relationship with God?
At the top of the write: “I AM …” Then write twenty-five things that answer that statement. Now circle the ones that are of lasting value, like Solomon discovered.
Lord, I am aware of how easy it is to look for satisfaction in all the wrong places and loose my true identity in the many distractions in my world today. I often don’t feel satisfied. Help me strengthen my relationship with you and develop a passion to keep my identity grounded in you. Amen.