Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. - John 3:36

Spiritual Appearance vs. Spiritual Substance

Partially due to the rise of the internet, our 3rd millennial lifestyles often lead us towards selfish, self-image spirituality. The emphasis isn’t on who we are on the inside, but who we present ourselves to be on the outside. We are judged by the content of blogs, MySpace and Facebook pages, personal websites, podcasts, and YouTube videos.

Unfortunately, all of these can be edited. I say “unfortunately” because in the midst of editing photos, blogs, videos, and the like, we are leaving part of ourselves behind. The more we edit, the easier it is to overlook the ugly parts of our lives. Whether it’s a stranger or a best friend that visits our website, they only see the best of us — not the worst. Whether we realize it or not, we are slowly becoming like spiritual Pharisees.

2 Timothy 3:5 has been deeply stirring for me. Speaking of the end times, Paul writes, “They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes, they are animals.” Yikes. In many ways, many of us can relate.

We can have an appearance of godliness, yet deny its power. We can appear put together online, yet behave in a contrary way offline. A good show, whether at church or online, does not equal spiritual success.

It is somewhat unrealistic to suppose that we won’t put our “best foot forward” in a public arena. I dare say that we should still brush our teeth, check our spelling, and mind our manners. It definitely matter how others perceive us.

However, as we get better at marketing ourselves, it would be a death sentence to forget what is behind the scenes. One our greatest challenges is to confront the unseen parts of our life. Behind the scenes — when the camera is no longer rolling, when there is no more blogging to be done — what is left?

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