This might sting a bit. So before I begin, #sorrynotsorry. Confession, I am an Instagram junkie. I love photography, travel and beautiful places, I love my friends and their precious children, I love fellow Jesus followers whose words and pictures inspire me in my faith. Social media is one way I communicate with my sister who lives in Africa and somehow we don’t feel as far away. For all the good intentions and benefits, there lie within pitfalls and snares using Instagram, Twitter, and/or Facebook. Proceed with caution in this technological age, lest ye fall prey to your own desires (James 1:14). Envy and perfectionism run rampant (See the #BeautifulDesign series at the Village Church), not to mention a false sense of community that is felt from no “in person” interaction. Much like the way we use money as a tool, social media is also morally neutral. Thus, it is our hearts that must be examined carefully.
Let’s begin at the beginning. Adam and Eve. They saw, they desired, they took. This is the progressive pattern that sin follows. Our minds absorb what is seen, which sinks into our hearts and bleeds into our actions. Does the way you use social media lead you to a holy place or forbidden fruit? Does it stir your affections for God? Is it leading you more into His character and goodness? Or is it provoking jealousy, envy, strife, anger? Perhaps the way you use social media is setting you up for failure. Your own desires tempt you toward comparison. You wish you looked a certain way, owned particular things, or were invited to that birthday party (especially for those of you that have #FOMO). There are times when the things that are a “delight to the eyes” bring destruction.
Social media is an interesting tool because we control the narrative. We are the Editor-in-Chief. If I want you to think I am the perfect friend, student, mom, wife, fashionista, interior designer, scholar, spontaneous, insert your own superlative… I can do my most convincing job. I can present the “perfect life” or maybe “the perfectly imperfect life” in which things are just barely out of place. The artsy picture with the filter that tells you “Life is great!” and “No regrets here!” Please like my picture and leave a comment so others know I am important too. #Yikes! Let us remember that there is only One who is perfect and all attention should be directed to Him.
And then there is the beloved selfie (and now a selfie stick to ensure you get the best #selfie). I have posted some from time to time with my man or my kids. It’s a fun way to capture a moment. I just can’t get around the name, which speaks for itself. More often than not it is self-promotion at it’s finest. I get it, sometimes no one is there to take your picture so you must do it and make sure you look fabulous. Go ahead, count up how many selfies you have shared. What does that indicate? Much like the way the overflow of our mouth comes from our heart (Luke 6:45), what we post on social media comes from our heart as well. What do our hearts reveal? I pray it is an elevation of the one true God and His generosity, rather than directing others to “our greatness.” The approval of men is the cup that is never filled, a desire that is never satisfied. In short, it is idolatry.
As women, our beauty is to come from the “hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:4). Beauty is not found externally, but by our faith in a great God. External beauty fades. Believe me. Cultivate your faith and your mind. Be a student of God’s Word, watch the news, read anything Laura Hillenbrand writes and lastly, serve the needs in your community for the sake of the Gospel. These avenues are far lasting, reaching, and will provide far more abundantly in life than any exercise regime, skinny jeans, or lip gloss ever could (for the record, I enjoy all of those things).
If we are in Christ we are to live our lives for Him only. Every moment, every day. We were bought at a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). The way we hinder conforming to the world is to renew our minds in the truth of God through His Word (Roman 12:1-2). This is how we guard ourselves living in a pluralistic society. God wants every part of our lives. Our hearts, minds, soul, and time (including our screen time). We will give an account to how we managed all of it and I want to be found faithful. I want you to be found faithful. Listen, I am not saying only follow Christians who post pictures with their Bible and a cup of coffee (I do post these occasionally because this is my #happyplace). I am saying, consider these things and walk in wisdom. It matters deeply. If this touched a nerve #sorrynotsorry.