How many times in the last few weeks have you taken a picture of yourself, your life, or your stuff?
How many of those pictures have you posted online to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or other social media?
If you’re like most other Americans, probably quite a few. So what’s wrong with that? you ask. Why is it bad to take pictures of my life to put on social media pages? The short answer is that nothing is wrong with the pictures themselves. The problem is what these pictures often say about our hearts and what they cause us to think about and focus on.
Let’s look at three ways that social media can be poisonous to our Christian life:
1. It feeds our own egoism and selfishness.
When you take pictures of yourself and your stuff and post it to a social media site, you’re basically saying, “Look at me! Aren’t I so great? I know there are a million other things you could be looking at right now, but I’m still going to post my pictures because that’s obviously the most important thing for you to see.” Not exactly a Biblical attitude.
Philippians 2:3 says,
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
That is the exact opposite of the mindset we have when we post selfies and other things on social media. We are essentially saying that we are the most important thing for people to see, we are the best, we are the most significant.
2. They keep us from focusing on God.
When you’re so focused on making yourself look good on Instagram, that leaves no room in your life for focusing on God and your spiritual life.
See what Colossians 3:2 says?
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
When we’re focused on making ourselves look better than other people in selfies and making other people jealous by what we post on Twitter, those are things of earth. And when we focus on things of earth, there is no time to focus on things that are above.
And speaking of making people jealous…
3. They keep other believers from focusing on God.
Just as we are called to set our minds on things that are above, so are other people around us. And when they are spending all of their time being jealous of the things we post, that leaves no time for them to focus on God either.
Often, social media is used to build up a “dream life”. People can make themselves look as perfect and happy as they want, and that isn’t really the truth. That then becomes a stumbling block for others, who look at these “perfect” lives with jealousy and become discontented with what God has given them.
Using Social Media for Good
All of this is not to say that social media can’t be used for good; it can! And it isn’t bad to want to update family and friends about your life. The problem comes when we obsessively post things to make ourselves look better than others and make our lives look perfect. And that is something it’s easy to fall into.
If social media is necessary to your life right now, be careful how you use it. Here are some ways you can use it for good:
- Post encouraging Bible verses, helpful tips, or inspiring quotes.
- Use your accounts to minister to other people. Encourage them or post a prayer for them on Facebook or Twitter.
- Don’t hide behind your social media and worry about making your life look perfect. Use it to show how God is working in your life and how His grace is taking your imperfection and using it for His glory.
I have a challenge for you today: Go through all of your social media accounts. Delete anything that you think is ego-feeding or self-centered. Delete full accounts if you have to, and only keep accounts that are necessary in your life for some reason. Then commit to only posting things that honor God and serve others above yourself.
Let’s stop buying into the self-centered worldview of our culture today and start using the social media of this world to promote the things of God!