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How Facebook Reveals Your Heart

Social Networking has become a modern phenomena.  First it was America Online and its instant messenger then Geocities and Tripod.  It allowed people to connect on a more impersonal level.   Then came Friendster and Myspace.  These allowed people to create an image of a persona they want the world to see.  An image of their desired self.  Over timed it turned from a page set up to a focus on content shared.  Here we are, we can see into the heart and mind of people by the things they desire to share and say for everyone of their friends to see. 

Because of the natural condition of the human heart; our heart uses facebook to satisfy its natural desire for acceptance, identity, notoriety, and glory.  It can be made into a tool for self idolatry or to support and encourage other idolatries in the world.  But the truth about facebook is that we can see the fruit of the someone by their comments and things they share.  This article is convicting, not condemning.  Here is why:

"It's not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man." Matt 15:11
Where does "what comes out of the mouth" come from then?
 “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (Mark 7:20-23)
It is from the heart that comes words out of the mouth and deeds. 

Please read: Born This Way and Follow Your Heart?

What comes out of the mouth bears good or bad fruit:

Jesus tells us that we can see a false teacher by their fruit.  As a teacher, it is their words and actions that bring about "fruit".  And it is these fruit that are visible for us to see and rightly judge if they are right or wrong, God glorifying or not (Matt 7:15-20).

Jesus' hardy warning for Christians on facebook:
"Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them." (Matthew 6:1).
The reason and purpose of facebook is to share information about you FOR OTEHRS TO SEE.  That is the point of "social networking".  So to share all YOUR 'good' deeds is doing exactly what Jesus is warning against especially when it is specifically "to be seen" by someone other than God.
"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. (Matthew 6:2) . 
The example Jesus uses here is giving to needy but he principle is applicable in other areas of life as well.  The point is announcing what YOU did so that people see YOU as a good person or for peoples praise or approval.  If Christians do that, the only reward they will get is the praise of man and no reward from God.   Your good works in serving the Lord is not meant to be publically announced for everyone to see.  It is a service done unto the Lord and thus it is a matter only between you and the Lord.

"in the synagogues and on the streets" Is in and outside of the church.  At religious events and not.  Where ever, the issue is who's attention your seeking.
"when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full." (Matt 6:5).
Prayer is extremely personal.  There is corporate prayer and personal prayer.  Posting and sharing your personal prayers on facebook is being a hypocrite.  Corporate prayer involves everyone who is praying with you.  Unless in a group chat and everyone is a willing participant of the prayer, it is not corporate.  Posts and shares are not corporate prayers because they are public to unwilling non-participants.  Thus: posting and sharing private prayers on facebook is hypocrisy.

"pray standing" is interesting.  When they prayed, they were seated and the only one standing was the one doing the teaching in the synagogues.  So these hypocrites would stand so that the fact that they are praying is made obvious and they stood out for others to notice them.  In many ways like "alter calls" which are not found in scripture in they way they are practiced and are a relatively new addition to the church, but that's a different topic all together. 
"when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." (Matt 6:7-8). 
When Christians pray publically on social networks sites and continuously comment "thank you Jesus", and "amen" over and over and over; that is babbling.  Some Christians even think that by getting more and more comments and likes that the prayer will be heard because of the high number of likes and comments.  This is exactly what Jesus is talking about.  The only reward is the praise of man.
"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full." (Matt 6:16).
Announcing that you are fasting on facebook is exactly what Jesus is talking about here.  "to show others they are fasting".  That is hypocrisy.   Much like prayer, there is corporate fasting and personal fasting.  Showing you are fasting to people who are non-participants is not corporate fasting.  Thus: it is hypocrisy. 

Through Jesus' warning we can see the fruit that people produce on facebook.  The fruit of hypocrisy is clear.  At the core of the matter is not the target audience but the purpose of targeting the audience.  Is it to been see for your self?  To make you look a certain way?

Also read: Have you been deceived by The World? and Christian Sinners or Christian Hypocrites

Commenting and Sharing Jesus

Just because someone claims something in Jesus' name, posts bible verses, shares compelling bible pictures, or comments prayers and says things "spiritual" doesn't mean that they are using facebook for the benefit of the church.
"Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’" (Matthew 7:21-23).
Also read: The Other Side of The Real Jesus

Blatant Hypocrisy:

Other Hypocrite fruits are more obvious. 
  • Posting and Sharing things that support, encourage, or taking part in sin; followed by a bible verse or mention about God.
  • Posting and sharing all kinds of sinful offensive things then sharing that you are at church on sunday.
These few things are common in the American Christian Religion and can easily be seen just by scrolling through someone's facebook feed.

Also read: The American Christian Religion

Why do some Christians do this?

There are a number of reasons why Christians are blatant or ignorantly being hypocrites before God and the rest of the world.
  1. They do not know or study scripture - the verses above are or were unknown to them.
  2. They do not know their own heart - they base their own 'Christian' faith on what they think and feel and not what scripture says.  Their understanding of God is based on cherry picking the bible and only choosing to believe in things they agree with.
    1. typically this is based on the lie that life should only be filled with positive things and to avoid negative things (The majority of Jesus' teachings were about sin).  The lie that the heart is a good compass to follow and judge what to accept and reject. 
  3. They are blind to their hypocrisy and reject the truth when people lovingly tell them.
  4. They are overly religious to make themselves try and justify their sinful life style and avoid their convictions.
If any of these 4 possibilities describe you, please understand you are not condemned.  The "negative feeling" you get from reading this is the conviction of truth SO THAT it leads you to repent and grow closer to the Lord.

What do you do about the desire to show the public how religious I am?

First you need to recognize that there are spiritual matters that are only between you and God.  The Gospel is the message that shines light on the world and is meant to be heard by the public.  When pressed by the world, Christians give their testimony and account of how God has changed their heart, renewed their mind, and changed their life.  Then as a unified body in Christ, the church comes together for corporate worship, prayer, and fasting.  Outside of this; the relationship God has with each one of his children is personal.  The desire to make that know, is actually our natural sinful desire to being glory to ourselves and or gain the acceptance of the world.  It is that desire that we must fight, even on facebook.

Churches, teachers, pastors, evangelists, and missionaries all use social networks now as it has become a staple in modern societies.  Simply posting and sharing information about the Christian faith is not inheritably the problem.  The problem is our heart.  And we must all ask ourselves, why am I posting and sharing this about my faith?  If it is anything other than for God; even 0.01% for others to look at you a certain way or receive anything thing like praise, glory, acceptance, and notoriety, than whatever is posted and shared is corrupted and we become nothing more than a hypocrite before God. 

We want the benefit and the return goodness of all that we do, say, and share physically and on facebook to go to and glorify God alone; not us.

I challenge you to scroll through your facebook page and see who it talks most about.  Does it reflect the selflessness and humility of a servant of God or does it talk all about you, your religiousness and your feelings and your achievements?  Does the world see Christ through your facebook or does it see you?

Also read: If Your Not Fighting Sin, Your Living It. and Christians that are 'too christian'

Most importantly: God's Glory Alone

 

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