This past week at FCA, Matt Williams from Grace Church shared with us an interesting perspective on public life versus private life.
As a culture, our public life has exploded. The technology and social media at our fingertips have allowed the majority of our lives to be seen by everyone. Although we have heard negative feedback towards excessive technology exposure and millennial habits, we often just write it off. However, Matt argued that this has caused a shrinking of our private lives, and ultimately our relationship with God, which should matter to us.
Matthew 6:1 says “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.”
This scripture shows the downfalls of a public life. This culture in Matthew would use religious activity to gain status, connection, prominence, and fame. Similarly in today’s society, our public life is full of striving, validation, and wanting attention. It causes us to have more anxiety, insecurity, and need for approval than any other generation. This can’t be the “life to the fullest” which Jesus has promised us (John 10:10).
Our private life is where we strengthen the roots of our soul. It is where we meet with God and have intimate time with our creator. Matt encouraged us to have vibrant private lives and shrink our need to be seen, as we should only crave to be seen by our Father in heaven.
How can we do this? He challenged us to recall what worldly things give us our validation and to fast from these sources until our souls no longer desire it. We also need to make time for the Lord, and not expect Him to answer us on our own time schedule.
Our phones have caused us to grow accustomed to instant gratification, whereas the fruits of private time with the Lord are not always immediate. They take time and persistence. Matt gave us the example of watering a tree over many years. In one day you can’t see a difference, but over time you can see what tree was watered daily and which was left to wither.
We need to allow our relationship with the Lord to take precedence over everything and pour our devotion into it. This is how God can reach our souls and we can bring His power to this earth.