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7 Scriptural Checks for Christians on Social Media
Pearls before swine.
That’s what comes to mind at times (all the time), when I survey my corner of the social media circus. Lions and Tigers and Christians, oh my!
Being misrepresented by others feels icky. I’m sure you’ve experienced it. It happens to everyone & try as we might, we can’t control it. But one thing that we CAN control, is how we represent OURSELVES.
And so the siren call of social media beckons; your red carpet of self representation unfurled before you in irresistible splendor. The sky’s the limit & you’re ready to “soar to high heights;” borne onward & upward by the social media machine. Successful self expression is just a click away. Or is it?
You probably have at least one online social interaction in mind at this point.
Turns out, without [SELF CONTROL], self expression can quickly turn into a crash & burn situation.
When our online alter ego takes over, common sense switches to auto pilot and the rule book gets tossed out the window without a parachute. Now would be a good time to shout mayday, but we’re blissfully enjoying the ride, buzzing on an endorphin high from those five likes and one share from Mom (Thanks, Mom). All the while, the world zips by in social feed form, as we spew & sputter out status updates in a blaze of pop culture- colored glory. “The captain always goes down with the ship” seems to exquisitely apply.
Social blunders aside, we think the wreckage is worth salvaging. With our aim at winning the world, social media provides a powerful vehicle to connect us to that world. The social fields are “white toward harvest,” if only we can fine tune our approach. If you share our sentiment, Check out these 7 scriptural checks for Christians on social media:
- HELLO MY NAME IS [X] & I APPROVE THIS POST: Does what I’m sharing reflect the Christ-like life I’m seeking to lead?
Not all posts are created equal. And as a Christian, not all content is worth sharing. What you post/like/share/follow, you’re endorsing. Who have you aligned yourself with online and does that put you OUT of alignment with scripture?
Filter your posts AND shares through this scriptural principle found in Philippians 4:8
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are JUST, whatsoever things are PURE, whatsoever things are LOVELY, whatsoever things of A GOOD REPORT; if there be any virtue, and there be any praise, think [POST] on these things.
Consider filtering those you follow through this criteria as well.
If it’s not good or lovely or pure don’t post it. If you’re not sure if its true, don’t share it. (FACT CHECKING IS A REAL THING.) If the content is vulgar or explicit, don’t engage and for heaven’s sake don’t share it on our feeds and force us to engage with it.
- INSPIRATION OVERBOARD: Is what I’m sharing in alignment with God’s word?
Stay humble. Be true to your self and your Lord.
The internet is a wellspring of inspiration, ranging from empowering, to humorous, to just plain BAD advice. It’s important to stay rooted in the Word. Choose to be inspired by things that align with scripture & remember not every preacher or quote creator is motivated by the same Spirit you are. Don’t cherry pick spiritual advice from random internet memes. God will more likely impart spiritual guidance and direction through your leaders and time of personal devotion than when you’re trolling memes on Facebook (So true-JK)
When in doubt, ask your pastor and remember this sciptural principle from Ephesians 4:14
“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning crafiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”
- OVERSHARING OF EPIDEMIC PROPORTIONS: Am I sharing too much personal information?
The internet drives “celebrity” culture. As a result, some social feeds resemble a personally crafted autobiographical tabloid. Even your post-sharing Momma wishes you’d spare us all some of those details.
When setting your personal guidelines for appropriate amount and nature of your content, first counsel with your leadership, then consider these scriptural principles:
Ecclesiastes 10:14 says a fool’s mouth is full of words & 10:12 says, “The lips of a fool will swallow up himself.” Proverbs 21:23 says “whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue kept his soul from troubles.”
Ultimately the decision of what to make public or keep private should be guided by wisdom. The book of Proverbs is a great place to start if you want more practical wisdom for Christian living. Sharing testimonies and life experiences (that glorify God) is a great use of your social platform! Proceed with wisdom and maximize the positive impact of your platform.
- THE ELUSIVE SEARCH FOR SELF WORTH: Does my time on social media cause me to be discontent with who I am and what I have?
Life was simpler when all you had to worry about was keeping up with the Jones’. Now your life, ministry, family, wardrobe, and even your coffee mug is cast in comparison against the entire world.
One teen interviewed on the subject described it like this. He said that likes and follows were real-time, MEASUREABLE statistics of how your life measures up to your peers. Or more accurately, doesn’t measure up. It’s no wonder culture hangs desperately on every like and comment as they arbitrarily raise our lower our imaginary social value and carefully calculated self worth.
If you are logged in to ANY platform the temptation of comparison is ever present, and if we’re not vigilant, a disastrously dangerous device in the enemy’s arsenal. Paul sets a precedent with this principle to combat a mindset of comparison:
Hewbrews 13:5 says, “Let Your conversation [not just speech, but all social interactions] be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee or forsake thee.”
According to Romans 3:23 every human on the planet falls short of the only true standard of perfection, God. Don’t buy the lies. No matter how flawless their feed, they are fallible and fragile and fighting to feel worthy just like you.
It’s a fallacy to think you can ever be “enough” on Your own. God has called you to be a part of something bigger than yourself. Fitly framed with the body of believers. It’s time to kill comparison and measuring self-worth by anything on the net, particularly FB likes. Your worth is solely based on your sovereign election and Christ’s death for you. Get connected to the body of Christ.
- FOR THE GRAM OR FOR HIS GLORY: Is what I’m posting promoting me or glorifying God?
The desire to go viral is intoxicating & will pollute any acts of devotion we don’t guard.
Ephesians 6:6-8 says our actions should not be “with eye service, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service as to the Lord, and not to men.”
PERSONAL prayer, praise, ministry, devotion & sacrifice was never meant to be publicly celebrated; but simply lived out. If you didn’t post about it did it even happen? YES! It’s the unposted and unpublished acts of devotion that God desires. The ones that are just for Him. A few likes are a cheap substitute for God’s approval and anointing.
Do your public professions of faith match your private acts devotion? When the live feed ends are you still living what you preach? Are you still witnessing when your phone is dead and your paparazzi peers have the day off? Motivation matters.
We desperately need discernment when it comes to distinguishing between posting to GET praise & posting to GIVE the praise to God.
Resist the urge to market your ministry. Online platforms are easy doors for us to open for ourselves. We can waste a lot of energy fine-tuning ourselves for public platforms, and neglect the private devotion necessary for God to trust us with doors he’s prepared for us.
“Before posting ask yourself: am I building the kingdom or my ministry? I believe if we take care of His kingdom, He will take care of our ministry.”
Above all, GET WISDOM. And while you’re at it, get you a pastor/spouse/friend that loves you enough to call you out when you cross the Gram/Glory line. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the approval of “followers” can be fatally deceitful.
- Trending Talk is Cheap…Is what I’m posting culture centered or Christ centered?
Romans 12:22 says “be ye not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Don’t cave to the pressure to post pop-culture content. It’s ok to break the mold. It’s still right to exercise holiness and separation in our online habits. Who cares what the world is doing? The church is called to create it’s own transformed, counter-culture through Christ. If you MUST jump on a bandwagon, let it be the church’s. That one is headed somewhere worth while.
- The Pitfall of Political Posts & Endless Debates: Is what I’m posting best said from this platform?
1 Peter 3:15 Tells us to “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”
Beating people down in debates is not conversation that becomes the gospel of Christ. The people you’re beating down are the very ones God called us to seek out with hope and love. Approach people in such a way that they ask YOU what you’re all about. Then answer them with empathy and respect.
“Posting so much political opinion that you almost ruin your witness. I’ve felt strongly about certain issues pushed by liberals, but I have to remember that I am living in a very multicultural town. Politics run deep in the South, and I can destroy influence with people I’ve been trying to win for months. I’m not saying to constantly be silent, but I would rather get them through the doors of the church and let them be in an environment of the power of the Holy Ghost where they hear our heartbeat for God before certain subjects get too intense. All of these are guided by our pastor, who uses much wisdom in these areas. There’s a time to speak, and a time to refrain”
It’s not our job to change people’s minds. It’s our job to GO OUT & compel them to COME into His house. Get them to church and allow God to transform their heart & their mind through the power of the Holy Ghost. Preaching, not politics, is still God’s preferred message to turn the hearts of man.
We can’t remain silent on the moral and social issues of our day, to be sure. But if the Sword of the Spirit had two edges, the sword of political opinion almost certainly has only one. One brings a wound unto life. The other a wound unto death. Choose your weapon wisely.
We don’t put on armor to fight people [2 Corinthians 4:12], but to push back the powers of darkness FOR PEOPLE. That’s an image of the church, putting on the armor of light and shining the truth IN LOVE by means of a radically transformed life. This is true social reform. The stuff politicians can only dream of.
Adapted from Truth Cloud