Written by Megan Andrews: Born and raised in Ohio, Megan has been a member of Inspiring Hope Church since Summer of 2020, alongside her husband, son and daughter (making her appearance in 2022).

“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. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:1-4

A few years ago, my Husband and I decided to delete all our social media. I found myself living vicariously through all the people I was following on social media and my desire to have a life like theirs sent me into a deep depression. Why couldn’t I own a brand-new Sprinter Van and wake up every morning to a sunset overlooking a new National Park? Why couldn’t I travel the world with no job and no bills? Life felt like a never-ending day of chores on repeat: go to work, come home and make dinner, wash the dishes, wash the laundry, fold the laundry, do nothing fun in-between and repeat. I tried filling this void of sadness by seeking validation from people on the internet by over-embellishing events in my life that made me seem more interesting or showcased my selflessness; how humble was I. I was so blinded by all the things I wanted in life that I completely neglected to see all the blessings God had laid out before me. Despite knowing the love of Christ in those moments, it was easier to seek earthly approval from my peers, than it was to seek God’s own plan for my life, which would undeniably bring more joy.

It’s incredibly easy to get swept up into social media! You fantasize about a life outside of your own or even make your life appear more glamorous than it is to receive validation from strangers. As humans, we are wired to want approval from one another. It’s why we use social media to advertise all the great things we’ve done! We want others to compliment us on the good we are putting out into the world. It’s not enough to do a good deed anymore, we need everyone in our life to confirm our actions and tell us how wonderful we are.

Yet, we are reminded by Jesus and his teaching in Matthew 6, that we should not announce or boast in the good works that we do for those around us.  Jesus explains that God sees our actions and understands the goodness of our hearts and that our reward will be found in him. There is no need to post on Facebook that we gave the homeless man our coat or that we paid for the groceries of a stranger who forgot their wallet. God sees all our works and he knows if our actions and intentions are pure. When we run to show others the good deeds we have done, we are only boasting about our own goodness and seeking human affirmation, instead of praising God for the opportunity to have served those around us.

Does this mean we should never share these encounters in our lives? No! It’s through these encounters we experience the joy of Christ, which helps shape our own understanding of his love for us. By confiding in one another and sharing the good news of the gospel and how God is helping you to live it out in the community, you are encouraging others to do the same. Jesus’ teaching demonstrates that our intent and purpose for sharing these good works should not be to gain praise for ourselves, but to direct all glory back to God.

As we start off a new year, may we all be reminded of Christ’s love for us. May we humbly look at our own lives and be thankful for what God has given us and not look to social media for validation and approval. The only approval you need to seek is that of our Heavenly Father and when you come to Him with arms wide open, He will show you more love than you knew was possible. No amount of likes can compare to the love God has for you!

Written by Megan Andrews: Born and raised in Ohio, Megan has been a member of Inspiring Hope Church since Summer of 2020, alongside her husband, son and daughter (making her appearance in 2022).