By Jesse Jost
Please humour me with a thought experiment: If you replaced all your time on social media, with time meditating on God’s Word, what effect would that have on you?
Would you have more peace or less? More joy or less?
Would a deeper awareness of God’s majesty and power, replace a sense of frustration with human corruption?
Would there be a greater sense of personal conviction of where you need to repent instead of outrage for the stupidity of others?
What would the drawbacks be to this switch? Would you feel less informed about what is really going on in the world?
Do you think a person spending more time in the word and prayer and less on social media is more likely to be duped by propaganda or less?
I love Facebook and Twitter, I love engaging in the conversation of ideas, and seeing the pictures, adventures, and life updates from other people.
The problem is not that we use social media; the problem is in the balance. The poison is in the dose.
I did not ask the previous questions to get you to get off social media completely, but to consider the effects it is having on your mind.
We are commanded to set our minds on things above, where Jesus is, and not on things below. (Col 3:1-4) We are to keep our mind stayed on God. We need to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. (Rom 12:1-2)
We are changed by what is currently in our view. There is a psychological weakness we have because of our limited brain power: What you see in moment feels like that is all there is. Another way to state it is “Out of sight, out of mind.”
How we experience reality and how accurately we assess reality is greatly dependent on what we choose to look at. If you become obsessed with one aspect of life, say disease or government corruption, you may be looking at something “true” but you may also be seeing a very inaccurate view of reality, because of what is not currently in your mind’s eye.
Paul says that much of what we see is temporary, but what is invisible (what we often lose sight of), the spiritual realities of God and His Kingdom, are what will last forever. (2 Cor 4)
There is much in the world to deal with that needs our attention. There are causes worth raising awareness about. Social media can be a tremendously powerful platform for good.
But like all areas, as believers we need to submit the use of this media to the obedience of Christ.
This means being wise and discerning in what we consume and always making sure we are not letting it distract us from the things God has commanded us to keep our mind on.
But it also means we need to be responsible for what we post. The bible gives us several guidelines for life and conversation. We need to make sure that what we share helps other believers fulfill these commands rather than hinder their walk with God.
Here are some questions to ask before you share:
1. Does this promote fear? God has not given us a spirit of fear but of love and a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7)
2. Will this likely cause someone to worry about the unknowns of tomorrow? Jesus commands us to deal with today and leave tomorrow in His hands. (Matt 6) So many dire predictions never happen and rob us of the strength and energy we need for real current problems.
3. Does my post “speak evil of dignitaries?” Both Peter and Jude had strong warnings about those who speak evil of things they don’t understand. They said that even angels are careful to not bring accusations against the devil, but leave it to God to do the accusing. In a democracy, there is a need for informed discussion about policy, and politicians need to be called to account. But I think we need to be so cautious not to mock or make unfounded accusations.
4. Does this post “speak the truth in love”? (Eph 4) Do I know for sure that this verified? Is this spoken in a careful and sensitive way to those who disagree?
5. Does this post make it easier or harder for my readers to “rejoice in the Lord always?”
To “Pray without ceasing?”
To “in everything give thanks?” (1 Thess 15-17)
6. Does this post promote fear of God or fear of man? There is a place for sounding the alarm. Paul warned people night and day with tears. But Paul was always focused on warning of God’s coming justice, not the wrath of man.
I just want to end by saying how grateful I am for the people in my news feed who do all that I mentioned above so well. I have been so encouraged by the verses and reminders of truths, for songs and videos with messages of hope.
The world often looks so dark through the lens of social media, but we can use it as another platform to glorify Jesus and shine His light into the darkness. We can share His unshakable Hope and overwhelming love.