Social networking has gotten really popular. Most young people have a Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr, Google(+), account. Social media platform is getting new applications and new sites very often. Now we have Instagram, which I, have become really addicted to. I had a camera bug when I was younger but developing film (I had my dad’s old SLR) was a bit pricey for me. Also, I couldn’t afford a Polaroid camera which was something I really wanted. So now, especially with the smart phone, it has become easier to “sync” our life and our memories to our social networking accounts.
But just how important is it to have our Facebook milestones and our “thumbs up” from people who “follow” us? How do we actually use such influence to glorify God? Of course, I’m not asking this to increase our ‘virtual’ check ins to church, but how many times are we actually there on Sundays or the other days in the week, ready to worship God with our hearts, souls, minds and bodies? When we have lunch or do roadtrips with friends, do we actually have meaningful talks with them or are we waiting for a moment that we can hype up or complain about on our blogs or twitter statuses? How many times have you taken a picture of a majestic sunrise and have just said, “God, You are amazing for creating this, and this is on sunrise repeat everyday!” When we add or remove friends, how many times do we really stop and pray about that person on our list or maybe even check up on them and see how they are really doing, aside from occupying ‘important’ Facebook space.
This is a post to spur thinking, to myself and to readers about how even our “Facebook walk” really represents our walk as Christians.
1. Discipline our offering of our time - There was a time when I was ALWAYS on Facebook, and I really had no idea why. I wasn’t playing any online games nor do I chat with people. It seemed like I was just watching the feed and commenting on anything and everything I can. I was just stuck in an addiction. However, it becomes a realization, when you are at school or at work, should you really be on Facebook that much? Colossians 3:23 teaches us to do everything we do, in word and deed, for the glory of God. If you are working and on Facebook, you are not being a good employee. In my opinion, no matter what psychology says about our minds being capable of multi-tasking, it poses a problem if we are on Facebook 24/7. If you are distracted as an employee or student, simply put in economic terms, you are not efficient nor are you productive. So, if you are hyper-facebooked, get off Facebook and work/study! If you are hypo-facebook, maybe you can check in on your friends sometimes especially those you have not seen in awhile. This point is not to say that every time spent on facebook is ‘evil’, ‘sinful’ or ‘shameful’ but it is important to have discipline in all aspects of our lives as Christians and this includes our virtual lives.
2. Watch your profile picture updates - We live in the party age and the physical beauty age. Vanity is a character trait that people promote and self-esteem is a value that people embrace. Our society has become addicted to the concept of ‘what are we wearing today’ or ‘bathing suit day’ or better yet, ‘happy hour and club pictures’. Our profile pictures reflect who we are, and better yet, we choose our own profile pictures so they reflect our ability to make choices as well. So before, you upload that picture of you looking all amazing and sexy for a dinner date, think about it… does the world really need to see it? Will it change someone’s life and lead them to think about Christ? Or is it just to maximize server capacities in a distant location? Again, changing profile pictures is not wrong, but we should watch our motives and be mindful, always.
3. Aim to decrease our abilities to be passive-agressive - This is something I’m hugely guilty of, because it is just really easier to vent online than approach people and communicate with them. It is easy to bash on the passive-agressives and complain about them on your status or twitter feed also, but really, you become the king or queen of the Passive-Aggressive society when you do that. It doesn’t add to anyone’s meaningful social network experience, nor does it subtract from it. The Bible has a wisdom-filled concept about this, talk to the person one on one, then bring a friend and then a church leader. Aim to resolve the conflict and keep praying for reconciliation. Our friends need Jesus too, and they are experiencing life at almost the same pace as we are doing so remember that and be understanding. God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in our relationship with Him, and this relationship leads us to have fruitful relationships with others.
4. Be mindful of your communications online - I’m not much of a chatter nor a visual chat person, but it is something that distance has given me an opportunity to lift to the Lord and ask on how to further be like Him in this opportunity. Most of my close friends are far away, in different countries. Some do not have access to frequent technological devices so this season is really a time to explore snail mail, video chats, phone cards and shipping rates just to keep in touch. However, Ace taught me that any conversation that does not lead to changed hearts in Christ is probably not a fruitful conversation. That is a lesson that really strikes me everyday, because I still do struggle with anger issues, selfish heart issues and meaningless chatter/gossip issues. Especially with friends, it is easy to just gossip, be mean or be resentful instead of remembering that I have a faith to live out and represent. It is a reminder that, I, as do all of us, need Christ everyday because individually, we cannot do it. In him, with him and through him, all things are possible. This is a post that is meant to challenge each of us. This is a post that is not meant to make us think of the people in our Facebook friends list who are guilty of some of the points listed above. If your mind is already wandering to them and their misdeeds, stop and look at your own account, maybe even look through your timeline or twitter feed. This is a post that is meant to challenge each of us to stop, think and repent to Christ alone. Martin Luther has said that Christianity is daily repentance to Christ. Practicing that can be challenging and wherever you feel weakest in, in Christ you are strong.
An encouragement I must write because it was impressed upon me is that every social networking account you have, no matter how dormant it seems, is an open door, an opportunity you have to witness to people about Christ and His work in your life and the lives of those around you. Do not worry about the harvest, it is the Holy Spirit’s job to keep working on each person’s heart, including yours but run the race with endurance and with a gentle and teachable heart. God bless, you guys! What area in social networking do you struggle with the most? How do you surrender this to Christ daily? Write me a note and tell me about it. I’d love to hear from you. :)
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. - 1 John 3:2