In verse 1 of Matthew 6, we read, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in Heaven.” If we read on, we find that God goes on to tell us about sounding the alarm when giving to the needy, about praying just to be seen of and admired by men, and about intentionally fasting in a way that is noticeable to others.
In spite of what the Scriptures tell us, however, very often, I see people – professing Christians – put things onto the web that they’ve done, or are doing, “for God” and for others, in order to gain attention, likes, retweets, etc.
» They go to conferences and come back to post how many people showed up or were saved (or “slayed”) by their preaching or teaching.
» They go on mission trips and post every instance of their “good deeds.”
» If they’ve bought groceries (or done some other good deed) for a needy person/family, they “felt led” to share their “selflessness” as a witness to what others in the body should be doing.
» Many post their prayers and quiet time with God.
» Others post their current or upcoming fasts, etc. …
I’ve seen it all, as well as all kinds of justifications as to why something that should remain private (or at least not deliberately put out there for praise and admiration) is being shared. However, none of those justifications, in my opinion, are sufficient to override God’s Word (in truth, nothing justifies overriding God’s Word).
In Matthew 6:1-18, God is warning us about practicing the behavior of hypocrites. The hypocrites (the Pharisees) were those who sounded the trumpet when they gave to the needy, and when they fasted, and who also loved to pray in front of others to receive praise. Those who did (and do) these things to be lauded by men, “surely,” God says, “they have received their reward,” meaning they’ve received the praise they were aiming for, the approval of men, and can expect to receive none from God.
Sisters, when we give, when we fast, or when we do anything and claim we’re doing it for the glory of God, we shouldn’t make it a point to be seen and praised for our acts, because the question then becomes, “Was it really done for God’s glory, or our own?”
Self examination regarding these things is imperative, as only what we do for Christ will last and be rewarded (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
Therefore, if you’ve found yourself ‘doing and posting’ things for likes, comments, retweets, or, simply put, for validation (or even to seem more holy than others), I urge you to confess it to God and change course. I would also urge you to do a self-check immediately (asking God for revelation), to get to the root of the “why?” Why do you feel the need to be approved by men? Why isn’t God’s approval enough?
During this process of evaluation, it may be best for you to pull away from social media for a while, spending the extra time you have in God’s presence, allowing Him to renew your mind, through the reading and studying of His Word. The change (being social media-less) may seem difficult at first, as old habits aren’t easy to pull away from, but the freedom you will gain in your time away will be well worth it, and you’ll be thankful for the change in the end.