Ok, ok, so this is a joke. But seriously I often wonder whether Jesus would’ve used social media if he was around today. Social media takes so much of our attention. Most of us have multiple online accounts. Don’t get me wrong, social media can be awesome when used in the right way but we’ve all seen a terrible tweet or status gone wrong! It’s easy to miscommunicate over social media.
I tend to find myself struggling not to get caught up with how many likes I get on Facebook or ‘double taps’ on Instagram. It’s hard not to get caught up in the culture where your worth or importance is defined by the number of likes, followers or retweets you get.
The call to be disciples of Jesus, to be witnesses to the world extends to every part of our lives, including online. Here are some tips I’ve found helpful when navigating social media as a Christian:
· THINK before you share – what message does this send to people? Is this something I would be happy for my parents, people from church to see? (If the answer is no this could be a clue to the appropriateness of what you’re posting).
· QUESTION – does what you’re posting single other people out. Could it be hurtful or damaging for someone else? Or even offensive? If so, even if you’re not sure, DON’T POST IT. People can interpret stuff online very differently to how it may be intended. Don’t risk it.
· GLORIFY JESUS – I want to glorify God in every aspect of my life, including online. I find that every so often posting a picture of a beautiful view on Instagram or sharing a post about something really good I’ve read on Facebook is a great way to tell people you’re a Christian. It opens up opportunities to have conversations with people and it glorifies God.
· ADDICTED – are you consistently on social media. Do you feel like maybe you’re a little obsessed? I certainly think this at times, so take some time and check out. Delete the apps off your phone for a few days, weeks and engage with life. It’ll all still be there when you get back.
· BE PRESENT - Social Media apps have invaded our lives and yes they are great fun, but don’t prioritise speaking to someone over the internet to spending time with people in real life or from being engaged with what’s going on around you. Put the phone down, turn it off. Pay attention to the real people you’re with and make sure to invest in physical relationships.
· GET PERSPECTIVE – what we have to remember is that lots of what we see is not reality. Social media is supposed to reflect the best parts of our lives but remember that what you see is not every day reality for any of those people. Sometimes I like to just post something very real, to keep perspective, to remember that actually we can be secure, as Christians, knowing that our lives aren’t perfect and that’s ok because we have a Saviour who is.
I hope that this challenges you. We’re called to be in this world but not of it. Let’s live differently, including online. So do social media, but do it WELL.
Alex graduated from Lancaster University in 2017 with a degree in Management and Entrepreneurship and now volunteers for City Church Lancaster. She is especially fond of coffee, travelling and anything Italian.