I don’t post much on social media, but when I do, it’s usually because I have something fun or exciting to share. My friends and I did something fun so I post about it. I went on an exciting trip. Post about it. I wrote this cool thing that was published. Post about it. It doesn’t seem wrong because that’s what everyone else is doing on social media, isn’t it?
But there are a few girls I follow on social media who are different from the crowd. These girls were college interns in my youth group. They were all (and still are) zealous for Jesus. They simply radiate Christ’s love. And practically every post they make edifies someone else or praises the Lord.
It’s so different from our normal use of social media, and because of it, their posts stand out to me. While the rest of social media can occasionally leave me feeling just a tad jealous of others, these girls’ posts reveal just a small sliver of Jesus’ love. They leave me uplifted and encouraged.
I know I’m not alone in feeling like social media can sometimes bring out the worst in our tumultuous emotions. I’ve heard about the harmful effects on the radio, in sermons, and in books. Even still, many of us keep going back to social media despite it sometimes doing more harm than good.
And what’s more, most of us, at least occasionally, perpetuate that harm, despite what the Bible tells us.
The Bible tells us not to boast in ourselves.
This is what the Lord says: “Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches.”
–Jeremiah 9:23 (NLT)
The Bible also tells us to encourage one another.
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
-1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT)
One way we can (quite easily) do that is through changing our posts on social media. Instead of posting that picture that makes my life look a little bit sweeter than it really is, I can post something that glorifies God. Instead of posting the highlights of my life and my accomplishments, I can lift someone else up with my words.
I can tell the world how awesome they are and what Jesus is doing in my life through them. Then I’m encouraging my fellow brother or sister in Christ, and I’m lifting up God’s name. It’s “two birds with one stone”, as the saying goes.
It might not seem like our posts are going to make much of a difference. After all, how can they when social media is still flooded with all those other posts?
But Jesus has called us to be cities on a hilltop. Light that cannot be hidden.
You are the light of the world – like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.
-Matthew 5:14 (NLT)
We are called to be stewards of His light in the middle of the dark. Yes, darkness will surround us, but just as even the smallest beam of light makes a huge difference in a dark room, so too will our single post of light make a difference in the darkness of social media.
The key to all of this is to be genuine. The girls I mentioned earlier radiate Christ’s love even on social media because they’re being real. They aren’t putting on a front to appear godly and encouraging. No, it’s all real, all the time. Sometimes that means being vulnerable and telling their followers about their struggles and how God is bringing them through the rough times. Other times it’s about rejoicing in the Lord’s work. Either way, it is genuine.
Aren’t we less likely to be impacted by someone whose words don’t seem genuine? I know I’m more likely to roll my eyes and leave their post feeling more bitterness than joy.
Disingenuous posts like that remind me a lot of the Pharisees. They boasted about their religious knowledge and how well they followed all the religious rules, but their heart wasn’t in their actions. Did Jesus ever praise them for their actions, though?
In fact, he continually reprimanded them for being disingenuous. Jesus doesn’t want empty actions. He wants our heart.
If we are genuine, it will make a difference. After all, can we not pray about it and trust Jesus to use our words to bring glory to his name? He wants to use us, and if he wants to use something or someone for his purposes, he will. A little darkness won’t stop him. He is unstoppable.
Kayla Johansen – Column: Road Less Traveled