Shutting Down Your Spiritual PR Department

Photo by  Kristina Flour  on  Unsplash
One of the greatest fallacies of Christian faith, and actually one of the greatest acts of unbelief, is the thought that spiritual acts and virtues need to be advertised to be known . . . Secrecy, rightly practiced, enables one to place the public relations department entirely in the hands of God . . . We allow God to decide when deeds will be known and when light will be noticed.
— Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines

As we look for new ways to connect with God, most of us don't think about secrecy as a spiritual discipline. Because of Jesus' words in Matthew 6:6, we tend to reduce secrecy to being about a specific approach to prayer. Some may even consider it an odd command that frees us from having to pray out loud in group.

But there's more to secrecy than that.

In fact, secrecy may be one of the most relevant disciplines for modern Christians to practice. That's because secrecy isn't just about how you pray. It's about making an intentional choice not to seek the attention, admiration, or approval of others as we express gratitude for the way our heavenly Father has blessed us.

Like no generation before us, we have access to easy tools for self-promotion. Social media makes it possible not just to share details about our lives, but to selectively edit those details in order to create the impression we have it all together professionally, financially, relationally, and even spiritually.

So, a great way to practice secrecy in our context is to take regular breaks from social media—whether that means logging off for a few days, a week, a month, or even 90 days. These breaks can reset the way you interact on social media platforms. They can also act as a great reminder that your relationship with God is your relationship with God.

It's true that growing faith doesn't happen in isolation. You have to be connected relationally in order to grow spiritually. But that doesn't mean all aspects of your personal relationship with your heavenly Father should be available for public consumption. Examine your own heart. If your motive for sharing is to praise God, share away. If your motive is to appear spiritual or #humblebrag about the good things in your life (we're all tempted to go those directions at times), it's good practice to keep it between you and God.