The Dangers of A Social Media Faith
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media sites/apps make it easy to see how your friends are, what they’re up to, and to catch up with them. In the right context, they can be tools used to bring others together and to remain in close relationship with others that life prevents us from seeing/hanging out with. However, in the Christian community, social media can be a detrimental stumbling block to one’s faith.
Let me explain…
How often have you seen one of your Christian friends post a photo on social media – you know the one. Maybe black and white with their Bible, tea or coffee, a passage underlined and some sort of caption like “this verse speaks so much to me.”
Now all of those things are NOT bad in themselves. I for one have posted photos like that because I loved the verse I was reading or thought it was super interesting and wanted to share it; however the danger is when those posts become the extent of our faith. True faith goes beyond our screen and penetrates our hearts.
Matthew 6:1 says, “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.”
Prior to this passage, Jesus is teaching His disciples the famous Sermon On The Mount (as we know it). He is giving them principles for life in the backwards kingdom of God. “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven…” Matthew 5:44-45a. I mean come on that’s super backwards to our natural inclinations apart from Christ. In the same sermon where He’s teaching us this, He also warns us about not doing good things in front of people so that we feel important and they talk about how great we are.
So how does this tie into social media?
Firstly, God has warned us to not practice our good deeds in front of others with the heart intention of them admiring us for it. There’s nothing wrong with posting a scripture or an aesthetically pleasing picture of what you’re reading – but if your heart is only in it to get likes or have people think you’re super holy then take heed because you may be storing up treasures amongst man and not in heaven.
Secondly, social media has caused us to forsake reading the bible.
Hold on, hear me out:
Too often Christians only get their feeding of the Word through social media posts they see or even the scripture of the day on a bible app. Joshua 1:8 says, “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” Our knowledge of God’s Word needs to go deeper than our screens. If we don’t know what God’s Word says then we will not know how to recognize if what someone says is true or untrue (in regards to Christianity, the bible, or theology etc). There are many people, even many pastors, who simply teach their thoughts and not God’s actual truth. When we know what God’s Word says through the due diligence of studying it, we can recognize when someone is teaching us truth or not.
Thirdly, social media has desensitized us to the value of God’s word.
We have easy access to God’s word: we can look it up on Google whenever we want, we can download different bible apps and even bible study tools. Even with all these tools, we still have too many Christians that do not seek the Word. There are still many countries where if you are caught with a bible you can be condemned to death. People living in those countries value the physical Word so highly that they literally risk their lives by reading it. We have such a privilege to live in a country where we not only have free access to the Word of God, but we get to study it, meet together and read it and worship the King of Kings freely with no penalty or condemnation.
So to recap: I am NOT saying that social media is bad in and of itself. I am NOT saying it’s sinful or bad to post photos of a bible study. I am NOT saying that scriptures of the day aren’t good or beneficial. What I AM saying is that we need to seek the Word ourselves, on purpose. What I AM saying is that everything we do needs to be with the correct heart intention. Our goal in everything should be to seek God and do everything to glorify Him and His kingdom, not ourselves and our followers. “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31.
Social media has an enormous amount of benefits that, when used correctly, can help grow and mature us in our faith. We need to ensure that we have a deep faith and not a faith only on social media. Let’s ensure we study God’s Word on our own.