Before social media, life seemed simpler, uncluttered. You knew what you alone were having for dinner, not twenty others. Hours in a day were more productive. Focused. No scroll-and-click distractions. No blog hopping. You hunkered down and worked — or played with your kids or read a good book — without thought as to what you might be missing. And you knew people, warts and all, not just their happy highlight reels, the ones that move you to discontentment with your own life. Social media has attracted masses of us because we benefit from the connection, the information, and the inspiration. But for Christians, as many of us can attest, there are potential pitfalls as well. Though we desire to glorify the Lord and represent him well, the world of social media can upset those intentions, if we’re not careful. Wisdom would have us check our hearts regularly by keeping key questions in mind.
Am I Walking by the Spirit?
Social media is robust with real-time engagement. Timelines are filled with reaction and raw emotion. Opinions are wielded like swords. Political and popular figures are skewered with aplomb. It's easy to step into this fast-moving current and get carried by the flesh.
Social media enlivens our carnal nature. We enjoy quick satisfaction. Emotion wants an outlet. Complaints must be heard. Anger needs to be expressed. And contrary views must be vigorously opposed, because that's what the flesh enjoys as well — superiority. It will mow down another's views — succinctly if on Twitter — while elevating its own, earning a satisfying flurry of shares and retweets. We all know how much the flesh loves validation.
Walking by the flesh may be an accepted norm on social media, but it’s not possible to please God in the flesh (Romans 8:8). As believers, we're called to die to those carnal impulses and walk by the Spirit, perhaps especially on social media, given its reach and impact. We should ask ourselves if our posts are gracious and edifying. Am I slow to speak? Are love and kindness reflected? Am I blessing or cursing those I deem enemies?