Like many things, social media has such incredible power for good, but also an incredible power for evil. One way that this evil is manifested is through the temptation of presenting ourselves only at our best in order to get LIFE from social media approval. What is the Kingdom response to this temptation?
Social media is megaphone, an amplifier. Based on the principle of proportionality which Greg explained two weeks ago, the upside of social media is equal to its downside. The degree to which God can use it for good is the degree to which Satan can use it for evil. Therefore, we must not be ignorant of Satan’s schemes, as we must be aware of how he can subtly influence us to use good things to bad ends.
One of the ways social media has been used for bad ends is the social pressure to present ourselves well. Everyone is playing the social media hierarchy game, one where social worth depends upon the number of followers, likes, and friends. This is the social currency of the day. As a result, we feel the pressure to present only our best selves to everyone. Therefore, we agonize on how to present the best pictures and the best posts possible in order to increase our social currency.
Everyone is putting up their best pics, and even if all the pics are true, the fact that they present everyone is at their best creates a falsehood, an illusion. No one’s life and family is consistently as cute, happy, or beautiful as the pics we post. The fact that everyone is putting up their best, and only their best, puts pressure on YOU to put up your best and only your best.
The Kingdom calls us to present ourselves in ways that are in the opposite direction than the better-than-you pressure of social media. Three questions can help us address this:
- Are you getting your life from Christ? We are looking for LIFE, the fullness of life that can only be found in Christ. But we end up pursuing a false life by chasing the number of likes, views, swipes, and happy emojis. Multitudes today are addicted to this false way of getting life.
Only when we get our LIFE, our worth, from Christ, can we put off our old way of life where we get out false life. Paul tells us that we are to put off the patterns of the old life. We are not automatically free from the old-self just because we are in Christ. We must make choices to embrace our new identity as children of God, and this includes how we interact on social media.
- Are you the same wherever you are? We must assess if we are the same person online and in real life. Since there is a pressure to present our best selves in order to get social worth, how are we being pulled into the trap of being less than truthful about who we are?
- Is you online-self rightly related? Is the way that you are presenting yourself online a representation of the Kingdom call upon your life? This also means that you are also rightly related to people in the real life. We cannot actually find social satisfaction and interpersonal connection without interacting with people in face-to-face encounters. The kingdom of God is built through face-to-face relationships where love is expressed. Therefore, it is crucial to carve out social-media free zones in our families and with our friends, when we are present with one another.
We are called to live out the Kingdom in the midst of the abuse of social media, and when we do so, we offer an alternative to the world that is entrapped by Satan’s schemes.
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