For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (Romans 12:3)
I can remember when I was 13 my uncle set me and my cousin up with an AOL account. If I can remember correctly, this was the start of the official Chat Room. I was fascinated with being able to converse with people who were in different parts of the country. I actually found myself becoming addicted to it. I can remember bouncing from one chat room to another. For me, it was the start of the no strings attached “friendships.” Many, including myself, entered chat rooms to be identified and to be heard. Some friendships were developed, but it wasn’t a consistent bond or buildup as it would have been if the friendship was built with time and sincerity.
Time passed, and in my early 20s I was introduced to Myspace. During this time I felt I had a correct view of who I was as a person, and I wanted people to know and accept me. Not only accept me, but I also wanted others to affirm me. I wanted fans. Like many of us, I laid my “identity” out for others to see and for others to affirm. It wasn’t just about being social, it was about being noticed. When I was 25 the Lord made me alive spiritually. God opened my heart in the hallway at my job to see His love for me through His Son Jesus, and it was there I became a believer. During that time I was 2 years in on Facebook. My motives were the same; get affirmation.
But when I became a Christian I wanted people to know truth; I wanted people to know grace and truth. I wanted people to know Jesus. But what I’ve noticed in my own heart, even now, I’ve noticed that sin in my heart (the flesh) still wants and craves attention. As I’ve been growing as a Christian, I’m seeing that the Christian life is not just about proclaiming truth but it’s also about living truth. It’s about walking this life as Jesus did. The Christian has died with Christ and the Christian has been raised with Christ into newness of life. When I say I have a love/hate relationship with social media, I’m saying that I struggle with wanting affirmation from social media, and I believe that the only reality that will kill this particular sin is for me to walk the Christian life out more than I talk it.
I’ve temporarily deleted my Facebook account many times, but I’ve come to see that Facebook isn’t the problem, it’s my own heart. In recent years I’ve had believers and unbelievers come to me in public to encourage me about some of the things they’ve seen on Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, it’s encouraging and refreshing to see and hear, but I've noticed that if I'm on social media too long it can make me anti-social instead of me consistently pursuing the needs of others. There are times when I find myself cheating on reality with social media. I would find myself not able to have in-depth and selfless relationships because I was satisfied with being affirmed as a “spiritual” influence on social media. The Christian life is more than that. Again, social media isn’t the issue, it’s my own heart.
What am I to do now? I’ve been struggling with this for some time now, and I’m so thankful that God has shown me much grace to allow me to examine my heart, and at the same time give me the faith to apply truth to this subtle killer. I’m confessing these things in order to hold myself accountable, and also for brothers and sisters in Christ to hold me accountable as well. Also, I’m hoping that this would encourage brothers and sisters who may struggle with the same thing. I will continue to post here and there by faith, but at the same time, I will be sure that my life outside of social media has more application. So Christian, let us examine our hearts when it comes to social media. It’s easy to post Christian truths, but it’s more biblical to apply those Christian truths. Amen.
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:18)