Honoring God Through Social Media Use

Do you think we can honor God through our social media use?

The obvious answer is yes, but I want to just consider this a little carefully today.  Because I’m not sure it is such an easy yes as it first seems.

I certainly think it’s possible to use social media in a way that glorifies God, and I used to follow people on Instagram especially that from what I can see do this very well.  I’ve been personally encouraged in the past by several Instagram accounts, and challenged in my faith.  I think lots of people put out content that is glorifying to God and encouraging to fellow believers, and that’s a good thing.

Where I think this gets a little stickier is on a personal level, when we ask “Am I glorifying God with how I’m using social media?”  That question is not just a question of content.  It’s a question of the heart and how we go about getting that good content up.

If I’m shushing my kids so I can record a video for Instagram, is that glorifying to the Lord?

If I spend five minutes in God’s word and an hour on Instagram each day, is that a godly use of my time?

If I check my phone when I should be focusing my attention on the story my husband is telling me, is that glorifying to God?

If I feel a little spark of pride when I tell people about my social media successes, numbers, sponsorships - even if I tack on the verbal equivalent of a #blessed hashtag - is that glorifying God, or is it glorifying me?

These are trickier questions.  I’m not answering them for anyone else.  It certainly is possible that a girl who has gained tens of thousands of followers has a pure heart in doing it for the Lord.  Even if she doesn’t, the Lord can be using and working through her posts and following, despite rough areas that He’s still smoothing out.  

For me though, I am starting to be convicted that my time is so much better spent looking into the eyes of my children, looking at the pages of God’s word, looking at the inside of my eyelids while I pray.  And if social media is taking time away from those more lasting pursuits, I need to reevaluate.

All the verses that are coming to mind as I think about how I need to be spending my time are things that are done quietly, in the hidden places of my heart, and especially within the walls of my home.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 

Colossians 3: 15-17

All of Matthew 6 gives examples of doing our good deeds in private, with a heart to glorify God only.

Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men.  Assuredly I say to you, they have their reward.  But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret, and your Father who sees in secret, will reward you openly. 

Matthew 6:3-4

And Colossians 3:2 says this:

Set your mind on things above, not on things of the earth.

Paul reminds the Thessalonians to continue to grow in love to one another, and:

...that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your hands, as we commanded you.

1 Thessalonians 4:11

I will be honest with you right now and tell you that the particular weaknesses that Instagram, and social media in general, brings out in me personally, are not compatible with what God calls us to in these verses.  Social media in general is all about doing your “good deeds” in front of men.  It brings my mind right down to earthly things, to the most insignificant of earthly things, like how many people care to follow me on Instagram, or how my shirt will look in a photo.  It’s not minding my own business well, and often it takes my focus away from letting the message of Christ dwell in me richly and letting His peace rule in my heart.

Someone will bring up this verse to me:

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven. 

Matthew 5:16

And we are called to “let your light shine before men”, but it seems to me that should be an unconscious thing - because in the very next chapter Jesus warns not to pray, fast, or give to the needy on the street corners where everyone can see.  What we shouldn’t hide is the fact that we are believers, and any good that Christ is working in us should be an offering of worship to God alone.  There is a difference in doing our good works out of love and obedience to God, and doing them to look righteous to other people.  Our good works are not to be done to be seen by men, but to be seen by God.  If men happen to see you glorifying God through your obedience and service to Him, knowing that you are a Christian, that can bring more glory to God because of the work they see God doing in you.

I think people, generically speaking, can honor God through social media, and God can take even the broken and sinful ways we sometimes participate in social media, and still use it for His own purposes and glory. But when a person realizes that the ways they have typically used social media have been more self-glorifying than God-glorifying - well, it’s time to make some adjustments.  

To close out these thoughts on how to navigate the modern-day street-corner that is social media, let me just say this.

No one will know when you put down your phone so you can love your family better - but God will know.

No one will see how you set restrictions on your social media apps so you can focus on praying before your kids wake up - but God will see.

No one will hear the conversation you had with your child about salvation that you treasured up in your heart instead of sharing it on Facebook - but God hears.

No one can estimate the value of countless moments that you spend, quietly, pouring your heart into serving your family and friends with your phone pocketed, in leiu of pouring into Instagram - but God weighs those things.

He sees what is done in secret, for the glory of none but Him - and someday He will reward you openly. 


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Veronica said...

The Lord has truly convicted me on all of this as well. He also opened my eyes to 1 Thessalonians 4:11 just a couple of weeks ago when I was contemplating what to do with Instagram. I so struggle with social media no matter how much I try to keep my heart aligned right and pure before God.

Thank you for sharing these thoughts. . .

I am continually praying for direction in this area.

Michelle said...

Love this!!! As of an hour ago, I’m on a month long social media break and I feel weirdly giddy about it. I need the reset so badly. I have been so convicted of many of these things. Some days it feels so fun and innocent to post things, and other days I feel gross about everything and want to call it quits.

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