We are told in 1 Timothy 4:4-5 that everything God created is good; nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. Technology, and subsequently social media can be used for good, but we need to be wary of the dangers that we might fall into when using them.
In the beginning one of the commands to Adam and Eve was to subdue the earth (Genesis 1:28). We humans have done a good job of this through the technological advancements that have been made. However, if we are not careful social media can end up subduing us. In the seminar at Aber 2017 Andrew Norbury showed us four ‘promises’ social media makes yet fails to keep;
- It promises us approval, yet often the approval is short lived and ever-dependent on your consistent efforts to promote the best parts of your life.
- It promises us control over our image and our friends, yet it usually controls us, conforming us into the image of the world (Romans 12:2).
- It promises us relationships with others. We can be with everyone at the same time all in one place whilst being with no-one at all.
- It promises us significance, yet it only takes a matter of hours before our posts are forgotten amongst the vast daily flood occupying our feeds.
When we use social media incorrectly it can become a source of our identity which will never be able to satisfy us. We as Christians should instead continually find our identity in Christ, for in him;
- We have the eternal and infinite approval of the Father who says of us ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’ (Matthew 3:17).
- We can trust in his sovereign control over our lives knowing that all things work together for our good (Rom 8:28).
- We are adopted into the family of God, with God as our Father, Christ our Elder Brother, the Spirit as our Comforter and one another as brothers and sisters.
- We are eternally significant and valuable to God, far more valuable than the sparrows under his care (Matthew 10:29-31).
Therefore, instead of using social media to be our own little gods, let us find our identity in the one true and living God. This still leaves the question as to how we as Christians can use social media to witness for Christ and express our identity in him. Andrew said that his seminar was just to be a starting point for us to think about how we use social media for God, so here are a few ways I have thought of to use social media to honour Christ;
- We must post more about Christ and less about ourselves, for ‘I must decrease, and he must increase’ (John 3:30).
- We should explicitly witness to Christ and point our friends to him as their Lord and Saviour.
- We can seek to encourage one another with our posts to help build up the church (Ephesians 4:29).
- We must be careful not to bring dishonour on Christ’s name through our words or our portrayal of ourselves (e.g. do not grumble, James 5:9).
- We can praise or pray to God in response to any posts we see.
- We can stay in touch with long distant friends/missionaries and keep praying for them.
- We can even use social media to help arrange meeting up and seeing people face to face (which is far better, 2 John 1:12)