A life in full view by Stewart Perry

It’s been an interesting week in the world of news and entertainment, largely dominated by 2 very different stories… the release of the ‘long awaited’ autobiography from Prince Harry and Channel 10’s latest season, filmed right here on the Gold Coast, of The Bachelor.

To be honest I had very little interest in either… I have no desire to buy the book (the news stories have been more than enough information for me to digest) and I am proud to say that I have never watched a single episode of The Bachelor. Despite my lack of interest it seemed impossible to escape news, information and scandal from these 2 stories.

While these 2 stories might not seem to have much in common apart from occupying the same news cycle, they both reflect a part of our culture that celebrates a life lived in full view. The desire to be noticed, to celebrate celebrity and to monetise your experiences in life seems to be increasing at an alarming rate.

A study in Australia last year found that more than half of all girls between the age of 15-25 would quit school or their job to become an influencer if they could. You know this is a serious situation when the Australian Tax Office has announced it is cracking down on products received by influencers to insure the proper amount of tax is paid.

Over the years I’ve heard a number of times, in a number of different Christian settings, that a Christian should be public with their faith, noticeably different, obviously identifiable, leaving those who meet us in no doubt of what our faith in Jesus means in our lives. While there is certainly some truth in that, there’s also a danger of over-exposure and a Christian version of living a life in full view which can become sensationalised in the same way as the latest autobiography or trashy reality show.

As we move into a year of trying to pay attention, can I encourage you to pay attention, not just to the times where we saw Jesus in public preaching, teaching and healing. But also pay attention to the times where Jesus went off to pray by himself, the times he was with just the disciples or a small group of them.

On Wednesday, at our 8am service, I preached on Mark 1:29-39 in which you see the disciples “hunting” for Jesus while all along he’s been off by himself in private and when they find him the disciples are given no explanation, reason or excuse for Jesus not being where they thought he should be.

Don’t be fooled by the times we live in, thinking that the only way to cut through in our day and age is to put everything on full view for the whole world to see. Pay attention to the way that Jesus seems to be focused, refreshed and energised by his times of quiet, solitude and intimacy. Pay attention to the fact that the gospel writers don’t know what was going on, most likely because Jesus didn’t tell the disciples everything all the time.

There’s nothing wrong with having a “public faith” but when it is public with the purpose of drawing attention to yourself then we become no better than a contestant on a reality show. What our world really craves when you strip back all the superficial nonsense is something genuine and authentic.

A life in full view is really just us being our most authentic selves fully loved by God. Some of that people will see when we are out in public view, but some of that only God will see or only a few people who are really close to us might see.

In a world that seems to pay too much attention to the public, maybe Christians should take the opportunity to pay more attention to the personal, quiet and the private. I think it’s when we do this we will be able to be more authentic out in public and that will draw the attention of others… in a healthy way.

Have a great week