Social media and Jesus sounds like an odd combo. Almost like ketchup and bananas?!?
What do the two even have to do with one another? Sometimes it can sound as if we are just trying to lump anything with Jesus these days. Does God or the Bible really have anything to say to us and how we use social media?
Well, yes. God has plenty to say that can help us think through how we approach social media.
The Gospel – the message that life with God is now available to us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and only given to us by grace and not our own works – should impact every aspect of our lives. It should especially affect the way we approach social media considering just how prominent a position it now holds in many of our lives.
So while the two may seem like a strange couple, it would greatly benefit us to consider how we approach social media with the life and work of Jesus in mind.
Why care about it in the first place?
But first, an important question: Why even care about social media? Here are four reasons, I believe that you should deeply care about it and the way we use it.
1. A Cultural Reason – Social media is everywhere and it is not going to go away.
Every commercial has a hashtag to use when you get on Twitter or Instagram. Every TV show, actor, athlete, sports team, candy, every business, every non-profit, every church has its own Facebook account.
Social media is everywhere you turn. And its not going to go away any time soon.
You cannot hide your kids from it forever. Therefore, we should care deeply about social media and learning how to use it in wisdom.
2. A Theological Reason – We were made in the image of God to live in relationships and to connect with one another.
Genesis 1:26-27 shows us that all of us have been made in the image of God. We were created to reflect God in the way we rule over creation and in the way we relate with one another.
This is because our relationships actually point the world back to God who has always been in a relationship in the Trinity – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
So every time you log on to Facebook to share a photo you really like, every time you post a video to Vine or Youtube, every time you send a private message to a friend on SnapChat, you are actually displaying the image of God.
3. A Personal Reason – How you use social media shapes how people see you.
This is one of the most overlooked truths about social media. We say things online that we would not say to someone’s face. We click like or retweet or share on posts that would embarrass us if they became public.
Kevin DeYoung offers this helpful reminder: “Whether you are a tween, a teen, a pastor, a politician, a grandma, or a grad student, whether you blog, tweet, post, or pin, here is the one indispensable social media rule you must follow if you want to be wise, edifying, and save yourself a lot of anguish: Assume that everyone, everywhere will read what you write and see what you post.”
The authors of A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Social Media give five serious warnings that all of us need to hear when we consider posting something online:
– Everything You Post Online Is Public
– Everywhere You Go Is Tracked
– You Can’t Delete Anything
– Employers Look at Social Media Profiles Before Hiring and While You’re Employed
– Colleges May Screen Social Medial Profiles During the Admittance Process
4. A Practical Reason – Parents need to be aware of what’s going on in their homes.
So like Solomon writing to his sons in the book of Proverbs, we need to regularly call our children to walk in the ways of the Lord and to live in wisdom. What would it look like if the following verses described how you and your students used social media?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones,” (Proverbs 3:5-8).
Social media and Jesus is more than an odd combination. It’s a recognition that if Jesus is supposed to be the Lord of every area in our lives, then He must reign supreme in the way we login, like, share, tweet, and post in our social media filled world.
If you are a follower of Jesus, you should deeply care about social media. In the next post in this series, we will take a look at some helpful resources that you can use as you seek to approach social media with wisdom and intentionality.
In the mean time, what are some of the biggest reasons you think we should care about social media? What obstacles do you face in being more intentional with social media? I’d love to hear from you.