A friend of mine posted a picture yesterday that bothered me to my very core. I know his heart was right in one way, in another way it concerned me deeply. My pastor friend posted a picture of his worship team in a little back room of their Church praying together.
Several things bother me about this photo.
First, if everyone was praying why was your phone out? Why were you not focused on the prayer?
Second, why show me the picture? I think he wanted his Church to know how serious their worship team takes their responsibility. The leaders of his Church are not just performing on stage; they are trying to connect with God. And yet, this picture made even their prayer seem like a performance.
Social media provides us with an opportunity to share every aspect of our lives with the world. It seems like everyone is always performing for the camera and now it has invaded our spiritual life. Every week I see well-intentioned people posting pictures of their Church, a worship moment and even a prayer time. It appears that everyone wants me to know about their spiritual connection. I can only assume they want to inspire me to a greater level of holy living by showing me these pictures.
Honestly, this is not something new. In Jesus day, there was a group called the Pharisees. They loved to put their religion on display. They would offer long public prayers, makes sure everyone saw their giving and made themselves look sad, so others would know they were fasting.
I am convinced that if you were to have a one on one conversation with a Pharisees, they would be able to explain how their actions were meant to inspire others. They were showing off their faith to an unbelieving world. They wanted to be a light for others to follow to the truth about God. They could explain to you that they had pure motives in all their showy religion.
Jesus stands in contrast to this thinking in the Sermon on the Mount. He tells his followers to be careful about doing their acts of righteousness before men. He challenges them to give, to pray and to fast in secret (Matthew 6:1-18). Jesus says that God sees what is done in secret and that is where righteous acts should be performed.
I am so thankful that you want a living and vibrant faith. I am glad you want a deep connection with your Creator and Savior. I am thrilled that you are serving, praying, giving, reading, journaling, having a quiet time and growing deep roots in the faith. All I ask of you is that you put your camera away. You don’t need to post those pictures. Let your heart be open to God in secret, and he will reward what is done there.