To Christians on social media,
“So whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” // 1 Corinthians 10:31
I am a woman with a Christian tattoo of two words from lyrics of my favorite Christian song. I own a pink Bible that includes highlight smudges, pen marks, underlines, doggy-eared pages, sticky notes on pages, my abundance of Christian reminders, my Bible study bookmarks, print-outs of different things I like, and inspirational sayings stuck throughout it. I am an avid journal writer during devotional time and my Sunday services at my home church and my college church. I am a religious Sunday church-goer. I am also a college-aged self-proclaimed Christian hipster type of girl. And through all of these things, I fall convicted to the issue of posting too much and acting too little. Scrolling through my own social media before beginning this post, I found a picture on my Instagram account that I took of my Bible next to an awesome, delicious latte from my favorite downtown Grand Rapids cafe, a post of my Christian calligraphy from my personal handwritten journal, some Bible verse captions on my pictures with my wonderful Christian friends, a perfectly edited and filtered photo of a verse that I probably found on Pinterest, tweets of the many Christian song lyrics that I enjoy all of the time, and Facebook posts of some of my most relied on phrases of faith, including the Serenity prayer. The cork board in my bedroom contains a sticky note that says, “Have you prayed about it yet?” and I have posted this reminder and sent it to my friends on Snapchat many times over again.
There is no getting around the fact that social media is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to get eyes on ideas and to think about concepts that are important and worthwhile. Social media is a wonderful way to spread thoughts and tell others how you feel, and an awesome way to proclaim your faith, but it definitely should not be the only sole way. We as Christians are obligated to act out our faith and use Christ to change the world. I try my hardest to use my social media to help bring faith to God by honoring Him with what I say and post, including the message of His Gospel. Posting on social media spreads the world, and it spreads it quick. Social media can be a way to preach the faith to people who have never stepped foot in a church, and have never been exposed to the Christian faith.
Social media is also a wonderful way to reach out to those who need that extra bit of motivation and encouragement from Christ in their timelines that seem to fill with toxic hate of the world much too quickly. Personally, when I scroll through my Twitter feed and see a cool tweet about being a Christian, it makes me happy that someone is brave and proud to post their beliefs for all to see and read, and I immediately repost it. Social media is a way for us as Christians to be an Internet proclamation of our beliefs, and to prove our faith to the world. And as Francis of Assisi said, “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”
BUT, what happens if we take the social media out of the situation. What would happen to our fast-paced, media-obsessed generation if we were forced to proclaim our beliefs without using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, or any other form of social media? What would happen if the Gospel was something that we literally had to talk about to people by using our words and cracking open that dusty Bible that sits on our bookshelves, waiting for Sunday to come back around? What if the only way we had to proclaim our faith was to preach about it to others who sit next to us in class, on the bus, stand next to us in line, walk past us in the store, or bump into us in the hallways? What if only our words and actions could show our faithfulness in God, by how we help others, how we communicate with those who we wouldn’t normally associate with, how we humbly serve with all that we have, how we give our time and money to our churches, how we help others who are struggling, how we devote our time to Christ, how we spend personal time in prayer, adoration, and devotional time, and how we use our eyes to learn about Christ and our hands to serve Him? What if how we look, dress, and portray ourselves to others was how non-followers of Christ could be brought to the Christian faith, and how would we change what we do now to make sure this was accurate, aligning to the Bible?
How many people would still know, with absolute certainty, that you are someone who follows Christ?
The message and idea that is important here is that our social media feeds are not a mirror or a reflection, and sometimes are not portraying our authentic selves. Social media users only post about what they want people to read and see. Social media is used to give people an opinion on who we are, and sometimes our social media does not show our hearts and does not document our internal and personal struggles. This is not about telling you not to post about your faith on social media, because I do it every day! But this is about posting AND living, and making sure the theories align to make the best impression of Jesus on earth that we can.
In the realm of being a Christian on social media: Are you only posting the Christian verse because you want people to favorite your tweets? Are you going to re-gram a follower’s picture of their Bible because you want people to think you are something that you aren’t fully living out? Or, are you posting because you fully live out the faith, you want to bring others close to God even if it means posting the most unpopular opinion of all of your followers, because you want to help others grow in faith, because you want to be a light in the world, and because God is a friend in your life that you cannot help but shout from the rooftops? Is the Gospel a manual that you live by, or is it something that you only post to gain attention from others? Is Jesus your role model or your social media spotlight, working to put the attention and glory on yourself?
Here is how we can change this:
Honor God with how you live. Our job as followers of Christ is to live a life that reflects the same values we post on social media about. When you have exciting news that you want to share with someone, turn to Jesus in a prayer of adoration and thank Him for what He does in your life. When you are going through a rough time in your life, try to remember to read, reflect, and respond to the verse that you post about on Facebook as well as just clicking “Post.” Turn to the Bible and think about how you should respond to a life event in the way Christ would respond. Use the manual of God as a manual of your life as well. Think about why God might be doing something in your life, and have faith that He has a plan for your life that you don’t even know about yet! Then, after this time of “God and me time,” post about your good life event on Facebook, and give God the glory for what He does in your life behind the scenes, even when you do not realize He is working. Honor God with how you live first, and then take it to social media and express His glory to your friends.
Honor God with your words. Before words come out of your mouth, before you say something to others that could be harmful, and before you use words to write, type, or talk, consider if what you say is going to enrich the kingdom of Christ. Hand in hand, before acting on the words of others, consider if the action that comes with the words said to you by others is worth it to your faith and to your relationship with Jesus. Be a follower of Christ by using your voice to proclaim His righteousness, to spread the Word of the Gospel, and to continue the Jesus Generation that modern-day Christians work so hard to create. Use your voice to pray, use your words to sing, use your writing to love on others with what God has promised us, and use your expression to shout about God from the mountaintops. When it comes to social media, honor Jesus by not using Him as your social media prop. Honor God with your words, then take to social media to prove His glory in your life to all of your followers.
Honor God with your body. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit that resides in you (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). You, yes you, were bought with a price when Jesus died on the cross, and we as Christians need to use our bodies to reflect that commitment that Jesus so graciously provided to us. By allowing us to cast our sins on Him and letting our lives continue on, Jesus offers us the ultimate care and concern on a daily basis for the rest of our lives. As Christians, we should be committed to serve God with our bodies. We can help others and do things that some are not able to do, such as volunteering at a soup kitchen, helping the homeless, and going on mission trips. We can honor God by using our bodies modestly and having mutual respect for the beauty of others. When you post a picture on Instagram, make sure your Christian verse matches up with the modest photograph that you include with it, and not a suggestive photo that does not bring glory to His kingdom. When you post on Twitter with hard drinking and inappropriate bodily conduct, make sure you aren’t steering others the wrong way in their faith. As a Christian role model to others, using social media in our faith will bring people to our profiles to see what we are doing, and make us into Christian examples. Use your body to show the goodness of God, and not to create the wrong impressions of Him. Honor God with your body, and use your life alongside of your social media to show everyone you come in contact with.
The important point to remember is that God does not need us to go viral because He already is, and we as Christians are already won over by Him and saved in His love. I think Paul puts it best in 1 Corinthians 2:2 when he says: “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Jesus did not come down from Heaven to die for our sins to have us use Him as our pawn to get more social media attention; Jesus died so that we might have life and give HIM the full attention of our lives. Do not just follow the trends of the world around us and post for personal glory, for more likes, for excessive selfishness, and for more response and traffic on your posts. Post on social media in the name of Christ, and work hard to use your social media posts to lead people TO Christ, to introduce them to His eternal love, and to push the Jesus Generation forward.
It is just not enough to merely honor Jesus outwardly by using only social media. God desires honor that comes from our hearts, and Christians have the responsibility to do this in the glory and in the light of Christ. Please, by all means, use social media to help change the world, and not to contribute to the hurt and the hate of earthly things. From one Christian to another, I offer this to you! Live in the image of Christ AND post in the image of Christ.
Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some person ever reads. Make sure you live it right.
With all of my love,