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Jesus’ Warning to Not ‘Practice Your Righteousness in Front of Others’

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Likes, comments, followers—Our world is inundated with social media interaction and the need for acceptance by peers and strangers. This actually moves us away from seeking a quality relationship with the one that matters most, Jesus.


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Every morning, upon waking up, the first thing I do is pray. Before coffee and gently waking my daughter for school, I pray. I mean, hey, God gave me the gift of a new day. He deserves all the praise!

Anyway, back to my morning prayer ritual.

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Sometimes, I talk to God through prayer. Other times, I read a daily devotional and answer the respective questions at the end. Either way, He is my first focus at the start of each morning. Then, admittedly, after prayer, I hop on social media. I do a few minutes of scrolling, liking, commenting and engaging, and I check my notifications, too. Needless to say, I’m one of the millions of people who interact via social media, with loved ones and strangers-turned-online-pals alike, so much so that a few social apps are part of my morning routine.

The more likes they receive, the more their self-esteem rises; however, Jesus warns us not to crave being seen by others

Thankfully, this harmless scrolling is truly for entertainment and connection among loved ones and peers; however, social media does not always provide a means of healthy interaction. There is an unspoken truth about social media, and that’s the fact that a deep need to gain acceptance and validation exists in our culture. Likes, comments and followers commonly equate to purpose and approval. This level of interaction makes people feel as though they are favored, loved and worthy. The more likes they receive, the more their self-esteem rises; however, Jesus warns us not to crave being seen by others. So, the desire for validation may temporarily satisfy a fleshly desire, but this actually moves you away from seeking a quality relationship with the one whose judgment truly matters—Our Lord and Savior.

Jesus' Warning to Not 'Practice Your Righteousness in Front of Others'

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Before you delete your social media apps in fear of falling for this validation trap, keep this in mind—Jesus is not condemning your social interaction with others. Instead, He rebukes seeking approval from the wrong source (or sources).

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. —Matthew 6:1

Seeking the praise of others means you are actively taking two steps back from the One who heals, loves, forgives and fulfills. He is all we need to reach a place of permanent contentment. The desire for human approval is hardly uncommon, though. After all, receiving compliments feels good, but we must ask ourselves how we handle approval from others.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. —Philippians 4:11

Do not feel ashamed for interacting with others, showing love or receiving love. Instead, be at peace with who you in Christ so that social interaction, or lack thereof, does not sway your self-worth or become the basis of your self-esteem. Moving through life in pride, craving approval and fearing disapproval, is a dead-end journey whereas God is all we need to walk a life of purpose.

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Today, determine whose approval you crave. Only then can you abandon self-serving practices and, instead, praise Christ for giving you an unparalleled level of love that could never be outdone, no matter how many “likes” you receive and no amount of notifications could ever top that.