Why we should limit and guard our social media use
“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.”
1 Cor 10:23 (NKJV)
In this verse Paul is saying that just because something is not considered sin that does not mean we should not refrain from partaking in it, especially if it’s not edifying our spirits or giving God the glory. Constantly posting selfies and anxiously waiting for the world to affirm us, spending minutes, and sometimes even hours scrolling through our feeds and idolizing people and lusting after things, isn’t exactly working to edify our spirits nor glorify God. In this season of my life I am finding that I have a lot more free time, the majority of which was being foolishly dedicated to social media until God finally rebuked me for it. Social media in itself is harmless yet if not used with precaution it can be a harmful distraction from your call and relationship with God.
1. It can make us insecure.
Social media fosters a “keeping up” agenda. From hairstyles to shoes and everything else in between, on social media we are bombarded with images of what’s “in”, making us feel less than if we don’t have such things. It seems that everyone is perfect on social media; they all have perfectly highlighted and contoured faces, perfect hair, perfect bodies, perfect marriages, perfect jobs, and the perfect lifestyles. Life is hard enough without constantly being made to feel that everyone else is living better and in reality social media is all staged. It’s like a scripted reality TV show which we all know shows little “reality”. People only care to make sure what’s within the frame looks good but we are never shown the chaotic, disorderly life that exist outside those four borders. It’s crazy to measure our life, our beauty, our happiness, and our success against a fictitious stranger’s but yet this is exactly what social media forces us to do sometimes.
2. It can be distracting.
We are all guilty of it- opening one of our social media accounts and going in there with a Holy intention of only devoting a couple of minutes to it but of course one post always leads to another, and that post leads to another and before you know it you are fifteen pages deep scrolling through a stranger’s profile! Meanwhile, the clock has gone full circle twice and you’re still sitting in the same place you were two hours ago with nothing productive accomplished. Time is such a precious gift and it’s important to wisely capitalize on each moment given to us. We waste hours on social media then turn around and tell ourselves we don’t have time to do all the things that God has told us to do such as pressing into prayer and worship, evangelizing, writing that book, or starting that business. There is an appropriate time and place for social media but as we fight to reach our purpose in God it is important to cut out or at least extremely limit the things that distracts us from doing His Will.
3. We have to guard our spirit.
Even with the most innocent intentions, browsing through social media can ignite some impure emotions in us all. From violence to racism, drunken revelries to twerking videos, and sex jokes to cursing, it has become nearly impossible to enjoy social media without tainting our minds and our spirits. True there’s a lot of good to be seen and learned on there but it’s become even harder to duck and dodge the bad as sin becomes more and more accepted and celebrated in our culture. Social media has a way of making sin look fun and harmless and it’s tempting to think that the grass is somewhat greener on the other side as you sit in front of your computer desk watching the world have fun while you struggle to live holy. Holiness is right and social media can be another tool used by the enemy to tempt us with conformity if we are not careful with who and what we are following and watching via social media.
Social media has been a God-given tool that many Christians have rightfully used as a platform to promote faith and preach the good news of Jesus; this is great. The issue starts when we allow the enemy to pervert this good thing into something unholy or we begin to idolize it and give it a priority seat in our lives. Many of us will check Instagram before we read the bible or run and tell our Facebook friends our life’s stories before we tell God, this should not be. So yes, social media can be great but before we find ourselves indulging in its pleasures let’s ask:
- Is all the time that I’m spending on social media glorifying God in anyway?
- Have I allowed social media to come between me and God and our time together?
- Is this edifying my spirit or feeding my flesh?