One only needs to look to social media or listen to some forms of music to see how immersed our culture is and showing off and boasting, behaviors that God has a lot to say about in the Bible.
Critics of social media say such sites are rampant with self-indulgence, vanity, pride, narcissism, egotism, showing off and bragging. Perusing through Instagram, it’s hard to deny that these practices aren’t in abundance. We live in a world of selfies where people purchase products such as “selfie sticks” to help them show off. There is a sad factor to this practice as it has caused some people to accidentally be killed while trying to get “the perfect shot.”
The message that comes through on social media is self absorption and emphasis on appearances and materialism. And amid all this, from the viewing audience, comes judgment, envy and jealousy.
The Bible teaches the opposite.
“Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying one another.”
– Galatians 5:26
“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.”
Hip-hop/rap has surpassed rock music as the dominant genre on the planet. But the bragging that goes on in hip-hop and rap is the number one thing people who do not listen to this genre they dislike it, according to genius.com.
It’s undeniable that this genre focuses on materialism and being better than someone else. Worse than the narcissism involved, the materialism puts an emphasis on external things for self-worth.
The Bible teaches us to focus on others and how we can help and serve them first, rather than ourselves.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,”
– Philippians 2:3
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with hearts of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”
The Bible teaches us not to focus on ourselves, but to focus on putting others first and looking for ways we can help and serve them. It starts with being able to love someone else more than yourself – the very opposite of egotism.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
– Galatians 5:22-23
Jesus had a lot to say about humility, bragging and earthly materialism. He was referring not only about people who have a lot of earthly wealth, but also to those who boast of their good deeds and righteousness to receive praise from others and/or to garner attention. Jesus rightly called it out for the phoniness it represents. God knows what is in the mind and sees right through the charade.
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”
– Matthew 6:1
Jesus essentially said that earthly treasures are worthless. You certainly can’t take them with you when you die. Don’t focus on material things. You need to “build your treasures in heaven” by living righteously, following God’s commandments and worshiping Him.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
– Matthew 6:19-21