Over the last couple of decades or so, social media has gone from being an obscure group of communities to being mainstream and all-consuming. These days, people are more likely to ask for your social media handles than your phone number to keep in touch.
While social media has had phenomenal growth, it has also come with its share of negatives. It can be quite a toxic space, influencing everything from body image issues to morality.
So what does this mean for us as Christians? Are we to avoid social media like a plague? Or is there a way to leverage these platforms to further the cause of God’s work?
How social media can hurt you on your Christian journey: what the Bible says
First, let’s look at exactly how social media platforms can negatively impact us as Christians on our path to self-discovery and service.
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An attack on your time
“So, then, be careful how you live. Do not be unwise but wise, making the best use of your time because the times are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”Ephesians 5:15-17
One of the worst things about social media is how time-consuming it can be. You check a status in the morning on one platform, and the next thing you know, it’s afternoon, and you are on a total stranger’s profile.
If Paul’s words to the Ephesians are anything to go by, good time management is crucial to living a Godly life.
An attack on your thoughts and peace of mind
“Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others. Assume your own responsibility.”Galatians 6:4-5
Social media has been linked with the surge in negative body image we are seeing. These spaces have a way of really putting negative and unhealthy thoughts and feelings into our minds and hearts. The images and videos we consume shape our thoughts about beauty, success, and happiness.
An attack on your priorities
“Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the LORD your God.”Leviticus 26:1
This is tied closely to the time aspect of social media and Christianity; however, the priority shift goes way beyond missing bible study or prayer time for that extra hour of videos. Slowly, the shift in your perception of things like beauty and happiness will start to show up in your priorities.
The worst-case scenario is when you find yourself more interested in the approval of others than in your relationship with God and His approval.
How social media can help the cause
Clearly, there are a lot of social media traps that Christians can get caught in. However, it’s not all negativity and toxicity. In these changing times, it could also be used as a tool to help spread the gospel.
“He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”Mark 16:15
Today, social media is one of the best ways to actually “go into all the world.” Here are just a few of the ways you can leverage social media for your calling as a Christian.
1. Use your platform and your voice to share your Christian story. It just might inspire someone in your audience.
2. Spread the word of God on your platform. A verse or two a day should do the trick.
3. Create a safe space for open and healthy discussions that offer a Christian perspective. People have opinions to share and learning to do, and you could be the medium for that.
4. Consume uplifting and educational content from other Christians on their platforms to help you grow on your own faith journey.
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Have your social media cake and eat it too (without choking)
There is a lot of good and bad when it comes to social media. The trick as a Christian is to be very careful what you expose yourself to.
When used well, social media has a lot to offer Christians. You just have to be constantly aware of the pitfalls and stay vigilant for any traps that could lead you astray.