It’s the secret motives that matter, between us and God alone. That is the goal. Even great works, when motivated by pride, recognition, or selfishness, are sin–and bad fruit in God’s eyes. Those works don’t glorify Him – they feed our ego and need for recognition.
Today our society is obsessed with “self.” It goes against what Yeshua taught. The world encourages us to show ourselves to everyone in a positive light: “don’t be the outsider, be cool, be accepted.” We put on a “show” for others to see, and many times we don’t actually realize we do it (at least us young people) because it’s become so normal.
Valuing the Inner Life
Our need to constantly think of how we are perceived by others, how we look, how we sound, and to be accepted by society is wrong. You can compare it to the parable of the ten virgins: five foolish virgins were ready to go to the wedding. They had the dress, the makeup, the shoes, and even the lamp – just not the oil. From the outside, they looked ready. But once all those things were stripped away, and reality kicked in, they had nothing. The oil was everything, and the hidden things were much more valuable than those seen to others.
Today, whole companies base their products and advertising on these principles – starting with social media, to even the selfie stick! It’s all about “me,” and how others see me, being recognized and seen in public. Today’s technology has created for us a compartmentalized “virtual reality,” in which we put on display only a small fraction of our real life experience. People present what they want to present, what we want others to see. It makes us feel good, as if we are doing well, when many times our lives may actually be pretty empty. Satisfaction based on other people’s acceptance is false, and very limited – it’s never enough. Satisfaction based on intimacy with the Lord is His desire for us.