James 4:4 "You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."
How many of you have social media?
Twitter? Instagram? Facebook? Snapchat?
Our hearts and minds are blasted with information constantly. We live in a world that speaks the language of social media, which can be really loud and distracting, making it hard to hear, experience, or understand God.
Maybe you're a social butterfly, constantly tweeting or snapping and sharing your latest happenings or thoughts. But, on the other hand, perhaps you're the opposite, and you like to sit back and watch everyone else's life from the other side of the screen. Maybe you have a terrible case of fear of missing out every time you see what everyone else is up to. Or maybe, just maybe, you've done what I've done before and deleted all of your social media accounts to escape the frustration, chaos, and damage social media can cause.
We're going to talk through the three things we can do on social media. Any guesses as to what those are? (LIKE, FOLLOW, COMMENT) We're also going to talk about the King of Social Media. I mean the universe. ;) However, you're probably thinking, "Kait, how in the WORLD do you connect social media to Jesus?" Well, let's talk about that.
The first thing we said we could do on social media is LIKE.
A recent study done by psychologists at the University of Albany found that the experience of watching a social media post rocket in popularity stimulates the same area of the brain that smoking crack cocaine does.
That may seem super dramatic, but study after study has shown how the desire for social media mirrors a deep desire for validation. We crave lies because we crave love. Likes are a tangible currency by which we can measure our worth, value, and overall validity. And we DO. But just because we CAN doesn't mean we HAVE to. We CAN turn to social media in search of likes, or we can turn to God in search of love.
I know you're probably thinking;
This is so cliché
Okay, Kait, but I still like getting likes on my post.
I know. So do I. I put my value and validation in my social media sometimes. The truth is that we ALL are looking for validation; everything humans do is in search of validation.
Unfortunately, 99% of the time, we're looking for that validation in all the wrong places, even when, deep down, we know the best assurance comes from God.
So, it's not about whether or not we are looking, but rather where we are looking.
Maybe you're looking for likes on social media. Or perhaps your peer group, organization, classroom, or maybe even in your Christian small group. #wut? It's a real thing. We look for it everywhere.
Genesis 1:27 "So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."
Romans 12:6 "Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them."
God made us in HIS image, and he delights in us just as we are. He has given us validation by giving us gifts, talents, and strengths.
John 3:16 is a profound reminder of His love for us even when we are unlovable. Even when our lives don't look likable, even when we don't have the greatest presentation or cutest of captions, He loves us. He loves us when we are unfiltered and unlovable – to the point of death. A thumbs up on Facebook could never do that.
Next, we said that we follow. Who do you follow on social media?
Have you ever seen a little duck family? I could tear my face off because they're the cutest things ever. The little yellow ducklings follow their Momma Duck around, trusting her guidance completely. They follow her into dangerous places without hesitating. If mom was going to cross a busy street, you'd better believe little ducklings would be right there with her. They trust she'll lead them safely to a bigger and better pond.
This reminds me of the reality of following. Following is so much deeper than what we've turned it into in the world of social media.
I think a more appropriate term for following someone on social media is "stalking" or perhaps even "admiring." Because what is it really? It's looking into their life, checking out what they're doing and wearing, and what cute trendy places they're going. Perhaps even ogling over them or envying their every move. Maybe because it's interesting, but regardless of the reason, following someone on social media really isn't following at all, at least not the way Jesus intended it to be for our hearts.
When He calls you to follow Him, He isn't interested in our admiration. He is interested in our abandonment – our abandonment of trust in all earthly things. He never intended to keep us at an arms distance, allowing us to watch from afar and peer into His inspirational life. He invited us in. He cleared the way to a better place.
When we follow Him, really follow Him, we allow ourselves to leave our comfort zone, step into the unknown, and into dangerous journeys, trusting all along in His protection and purpose, just like the little ducklings.
Matthew 16:24 "Then Jesus told His disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."
Matthew says that following Jesus requires denial of our comfort. It's comfortable to stay on the safe side, to watch from afar and maybe even admire. But Jesus challenges us to go all in, head first, and take the plunge into the deepest waters for Him. Jesus is deserving of our following. He gave up everything for us. Faithful following challenges us to do the same.
The third thing we said we do; Comment.
Let me tell you something about myself. Sometimes I'm a little awkward. Sometimes I say things, and then I stop and think about it late at night and say to myself, "Wow, why did I even say that?!"
Does anyone ever do that? If not, you're really lucky. But if you're like most of us, you've probably worried about saying or doing the wrong thing at some point in your life.
Commenting on social media is a revolutionary form of communication that allows us to hide behind a screen and voice our thoughts, encouragement, criticism, opinions, and more.
You may have been on the side of a post that's getting some excellent feedback and attention, and as a result of that, you're feeling great.
Maybe you've been on the other side of that. Perhaps you've been caught up in the thread full of comments full of arguments, hate, strong opinions, nasty words, and very little grace.
The world is loud. The internet very well may be louder. If you've been overwhelmed by the noise, let's quiet down the noise and redirect our communication. If the world of social media has been as distracting for you as it has been for me, I invite you to quit commenting in cyberspace for a little while. It's a tiny little kingdom that can't love you back, and it's going to fade away one day. Start connecting – with your Creator and His creation – for the sake of the Kingdom that always was and always will be.
Have a conversation with Him. Pay attention to the little comments He gives you through His creation. Reach out. Make connections. Love big because you've been loved. He hasn't hesitated to communicate that love to you in His Word. You've just got to create an account – you've got to say yes. Close the apps and open His Word. I promise you'll find the comments and captions to be much more life-giving than those on any social media thread.
Romans 10:17 "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ."
Faith comes from hearing the Word of Christ. We cannot produce our own faith. It's a gift that we're given, and we can only experience and take hold of it when we listen and hear His Word in our hearts. When the world around us is loud, it's incredibly difficult to experience a living, breathing walk with Jesus in faith.
Jesus wants to walk with us. He wants to hang out in our hearts, have a conversation with us, to be a part of our every moment. He's knocking on the door of your heart – have you looked up from your phone, let Him in, and sat down to talk to Him recently?