Social Media

Isaiah 30:15 (ESV)
For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel,
      “In returning and rest you shall be saved;
      in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

Social media is a brew of emotionally stimulating drugs we mix for ourselves. - Tony Reinke

It’s hard to imagine our lives without our devices (phones, tablets, laptops). Technology and online life have become an integral part of our daily lives. There is nothing inherently damaging or wrong with staying connected; it can be helpful. But, sometimes, the lines between necessity and desire can be blurred without us even realizing it. We can easily exchange the value of meaningful relationships for affirmative “clicks” from a crowd of faceless friends on Instagram or Facebook or avoid being vulnerable, transparent, and genuine for the comfort of scrolling through the day’s posts. 
If we’re sincere, we love the control offered to us through social media–it’s plagued us since the fall (Gen 3:5). Social media platforms can present us with counterfeit omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence. Still, these belong to God alone (Is 45:22-24). In an online world that offers hollow affirmations, there is good news. In Christ, God desires to meet with us, befriend us and truly satisfy our souls (Col 2:3; Rev 3:20). He has also given us relationships with one another as a gift of his grace (1 Jn 1:7; Heb 10:24-25; Gal 6:2). And, God also gives us wisdom from His Word for how to honor him and love one another in all things–including our participation in social media.
Whether you are looking for wisdom on how to use social media, help with using it less, or abstaining from it completely; this is a quick guide to help you seek to honor Christ as you engage with social media.

Scripture Passages for Encouragement

Walk in God’s way, his path. Don’t get caught up in trends, time wasters, or questionable content.
Jeremiah 6:16 (ESV)
Thus says the Lord: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

Philippians 4:8–9 (ESV)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Ephesians 4:1; 22–24 (ESV)
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called [...] to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

1 Timothy 4:7 (ESV)
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;

1 John 2:15–16 (ESV)
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.

Make good use of the time God has given. Set limits for yourself and keep them.
Psalm 90:12 (ESV)
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Ephesians 5:15–17 (ESV)
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Remember the power of images and protect the eyes of your heart.
Matthew 6:22–23 (ESV)
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

Psalm 101:3–4 (ESV)
I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil.

Psalm 119:37 (ESV)
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.
Run from gossip and remember that our boast in God alone.

Proverbs 20:19 (ESV)
Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.

1 Timothy 5:13 (ESV)
Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.

Ephesians 4:31 (ESV)
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Jeremiah 9:23–24 (ESV)
Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

Psalm 20:7 (ESV)
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

Galatians 6:14 (ESV)
But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Quick Tips

With the Word
  • Do a word study on the words silence, stillness, and time. Write down what you notice about their connection to walking by faith and devotion to God. Turn your observations into prayers of confession and petition.
  • Memorize Psalm 37:7 and Isaiah 30:15. Write them on a sticky note and post it in your car, on a mirror, or as the background on your phone.

With You and Others
  • For one week:
    • Write down daily how much time your spend on social media platforms. At the end of the week, total up the hours and consider what you accomplished (for your soul, others, and for good in the world) during that time.
    • Sometimes, we engage with social media to avoid doing something else. Keep track of what you might be avoiding when you feel the impulse to open a social media platform. Turn this into a prayer for God’s help.
    • With a friend, choose to deactivate your social media accounts. Hold each other accountable and meet to pray and discuss how the change has impacted your life spiritually, emotionally, and relationally. 
  • How much time are you spending communicating with people you are not doing life with weekly (at home, church, neighborhood, work, or school)? How might social media keep you from meaningful contact with those closest to you?

Some Encouraging Reads and Listens