Godliness in a Godless Culture: Social Media and Christian Wisdom

Our culture over the last ten years has accelerated in the variety and accessibility of social media platforms. With these programs, we can communicate through text, pictures, and videos to over millions of people in our local community and around the world. This acceleration in communication has resulted not only in positive outcomes, but harmful consequences. Therefore, the question remains for us as Christians: Can social media be redeemed? Most Certainly! Nonetheless, we must utilize social media with godly wisdom, knowing the possible temptations that ensue. The objective of this blog is to prayerfully provide some reflections on Scripture that may guide us in our use of social media.

          Our life on this earth is brief and how we use our fleeting life for Christ is critical (Js 4:4). Therefore, Paul urges the Ephesians: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is (Eph 5:15-17 ESV).” Since we have this momentary life, we must ask if our social media aids in the redeeming of time. If not careful, social media can become a black hole that consumes our time. It is not uncommon to hear individuals expending time on social media for three to four hours a day. What else could you have done with that hour on Facebook or Twitter? Was it the best use of time that God has given you? This doesn’t imply that we must expel our social media accounts, but a challenge to evaluate how we use our time, the priorities in our lives, and how social media is affected by our priorities.

          Although time is an extremely important issue, what we watch is just as significant. Proverbs reminds us not to trust ourselves: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones (Prov 3:5-8). When it comes to social media, don’t trust yourself. Through social media, you are potentially exposed on a regular basis to sinful actions and you might convince yourself that you are strong enough to resist. Don’t play around with sin! Its pleasure will only last for a moment and will eventually lead to harm. Examine yourself: Do you ever watch, listen, or engage in social media that’s inappropriate and stay engaged thinking it won’t affect you? On social media, be wise and turn your eyes away from evil and fear the Lord.

          On the other hand, we may not realize we are engaging in sinful actions on social media, particularly in arguments and debates on social media. We are fully aware that we are surrounded in a politically charged environment on social media. Every day, you constantly see the online battles with words and videos, even among Christians. Is this helpful? Do these struggles build each other up? Remember what Paul directed the Corinthians: “’All things are lawful,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor (1 Cor 10:23-24).” We should stand for truth and what is right, but when we interact with others, do we seek their good or do we tear them down? Do our comments on posts reflect a heart that wants to discourage others or build them up? As Christians, how we use social media toward others matters! Do people see the difference that Christ makes in our interactions with them, even with those whom we disagree with? What way say and how we say it reflects upon our Christian witness and we must not forget this.

          Even though the previous points are significant, the main question that should guide our social media activities is the purpose of life. Whom do we exist for? Jesus Christ! Whom do we desire to glorify? Jesus Christ! Hence, “so whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved (1 Cor 10:31-33).” On social media, do we promote ourselves or do we promote Christ? As Christians, why should we have social media? Social media is not solely for the purpose of connecting with others, but is for the sake of seeing friends, neighbors, families, and peers come to salvation in Jesus Christ. Social media should be used as a means to decrease ourselves and increase Christ (Jn 3:30). This should be our guiding measure of how we use social media. Thus, let everything we post, tweet, or vlog be to the glory of God. Amen.