I always wonder how simple life was back when my mom and dad were teenagers. What on earth did they do with their free time? If it wasn’t Facebook and Instagram, what were they doing to pass the time? It saddens me how much time I spend scrolling through my newsfeed, all in the attempts to fill some kind of void deep down in my heart. After two hours have passed, suddenly my fingers start to feel numb as they’ve continuously been swiping, scrolling and clicking through stuff online that really doesn’t benefit my spiritual walk. Some of the things I see are encouraging, but for the most part, social media has become a self-gratification tool for me and for you.
Social media played, and still does play a huge part in the way I see myself. Can you relate? It does something to our brains, where we constantly are comparing our lives with others’. When life seems to be going great for us, all of the sudden someone else’s life looks just a tad better, and all of the sudden our self-esteem starts to go down. We are constantly being fed this lie: “If my life doesn’t look perfect on the outside, I’m failing at life.” The Truth is, God doesn’t look at any of us from the outside. He is far more concerned with where our heart is and could give two hoots about how many likes or comments we receive on a photo. In fact, the more we crave the attention and approval from people, the more we hinder the Lord helping us. When we constantly seek man’s approval, we are basically saying “Lord, I don’t need Your love. I just need people to love me, and I’ll be satisfied.” Take a look at Mathew 6:24, when Jesus says “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” This principle applies to our lives and the way we represent ourselves on social media. Are we truly representing Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, or do we use His glory in order to glorify ourselves? This is a question I ask myself on a regular basis and can be very detrimental to our souls.
A few years ago, when I gave my heart to the Lord, I knew there was still somethings that I needed to take care of in my life in order to experience the fullness of God’s joy and blessing. I knew that I was spending too much time on social media, comparing myself with other’s and wanting to have a “perfect body” like the rest of the world. I never knew how much a single picture of someone else, could warp my idea of beautiful. God’s idea of beautiful isn’t about our looks or our body. It’s about what’s inside our hearts, and whether or not our sin is being dealt with. His love for us is deeper than the ocean, but He can’t do what He desires for us if our heart set on something else. My heart at the time was set on having a perfect body type. Early in my teenage years, I was convinced that having a perfect body would attract the opposite sex, and therefore I would become noticed and accepted by guys. I didn’t know there was a love that runs so deep and wide, that not even a boy could fill that void in my heart. I wasn’t aware of the fact that I had a Heavenly Father, who cares so much about my heart and wanted to protect it from being polluted by sin. When the Lord created you and me, He did it because He wanted to, not because He had too.
Aside from how we view ourselves, social media takes a huge toll on our emotions. We love quick satisfaction. Just take a look around at all the fast food restaurants, the “tap to pay” options, everything is becoming more easy and quick to do and social media allows us to access whatever we want when we want it. Need some attention? No problem, just upload a selfie and see how many likes you receive. Craving some affection? Sure, just create a “Tinder” account and see who your best love-match is. It really isn’t hard to find what we are looking for at the moment, but does it truly satisfy like the Lord does when we accept Him as our true Master? Will we ever experience the type of love from Heaven as we do in cyberspace? Some think they will, but I am convinced that nothing could ever compare to the kind of love Jesus has for the ones who choose to follow Him and make Him the Lord of their lives.
As believers, we need to stand on guard when using social media. It can be so tempting to give in to our impulses and post something that may not honor the Lord. We can ask ourselves whether or not the meaning behind our posts are to glorify God or ourselves.
Sometimes, even though our intention for sharing something might seem to be grounded in truth, our motive behind sharing something could dishearten the Lord. For example, we might think we “know everything”, and therefore we share what we feel is right, however, if the motive behind sharing our beliefs is only to trample on someone else, we really should consider before posting something. I share scripture verses with others because I want them to see God’s Word and how it brings hope and light, not because I want to throw scripture passages in their face in order to get some kind of reaction out of them. Kim Cash Tate says “We can point people to Jesus with the light of our lives, with eternal truth, and with grace-filled interactions. People are watching. Only as we walk by the Spirit in the social media sphere can we make an impact there for Christ.”
While social media is a great place for sharing certain things with friends and family, it really should not be used in order to gain praise or approval from people. Jesus said ” Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you have no reward from your Father who is in Heaven” Mathew 6:1. We can be so quick to share the “good deed” we’ve done so that others may see it and praise us for our hard work, but God doesn’t approve of that kind of behavior as it takes away from the whole idea of being His servant. To serve Him is to delight in the Lord and to sit at His feet. It’s not so that we can gain something out of it, or be rewarded for our good conduct, God promises He will bless us for our good deeds if we do it from a sincere and genuine heart.
Lastly, I want to share with you something I think is very important when it comes to social media and our faith in Jesus Christ. If we believe that Jesus knows our days from beginning to end if we believe that He knows how many hairs are on our head if we believe that He has fearfully and wonderfully made us, then why do we doubt His ability to bless us? Why do we think that we need to jump the gun and find something that is instantly gratifying, rather than anticipating His promises and faithfulness which is laid out in front of us when we read His Word. My pastor once said to me, “There’s always an “if” with God. God with bless you, “if” you obey His Word.” This is true, God will bless us if we choose to trust His will for our lives. Rather than trying to manipulate our circumstances, or searching for empty praise, we need to remember that God is constantly at work in our lives and wants to give us the best of the best, only if we choose to obey Him.
If you are struggling in your daily walk with the Lord in relation to social media, may I encourage you to take this to the Lord and ask Him for His help and guidance? He wants what is best for you, and for me, and sometimes we need to do a self-evaluation of what hinders us from receiving His blessings.