God wants to have an intimate relationship with all of us. This is why he sent his son to die on the cross on our behalf – so that we might place our faith in Jesus and thereby receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. As a follower of Jesus, we are directly connected to God through the Holy Spirit. It’s important for believers to tell others about their relationship with God so that they too, can share this experience; however, bragging about your Christian faith or making a spectacle of yourself in the name of Christianity is contrary to the teachings of Jesus.
Jesus taught that giving to others in an effort to please God is something that should be done in private. If we make a big show out of our giving, we are only giving for recognition from our peers. God is not pleased by boastful giving; in fact, you will receive no reward from God for this kind of self-serving contribution. Giving for public recognition is nothing more than buying the praise of man and has little or nothing to do with God.
We can run into trouble when we pray in an ostentatious manner as well. This often becomes a problem when we pray out loud in a group. Sometimes public prayers become more of a statement to those listening rather than a conversation with God. Again, Jesus teaches that seeking recognition from those around us is contrary to seeking favor from God. Keep in mind, God already knows what we need; therefore, our prayers should be an expression of our faith in God’s love and his ability to provide for us, rather than a laundry list of our desires; or worse, an attempt to impress those listening.
Jesus made it very clear that pretending to serve God while actually seeking the approval of those watching, is an empty and meaningless endeavor. When we give, when we pray, when we serve others, we should be willing to do it all behind closed doors. All the glory for our effort should be attributed to God. When we follow the teachings of Jesus, our mission is clearly defined as a humble servant seeking no personal reward. True righteousness seeks the will of God and His blessing without recognition from others.