We are overwhelmed with so much social media. Everytime we turn around, there’s a new platform to discover or a new feature to try. And it’s so easy to be consumed by liking, posting, watching, reading, scrolling, scrolling, scrolling . . . that we forget to consider the opportunities it gives us for exalting God’s truth and encouraging others.
It’s easy to spend time we don’t really have simply satisfying our curiosity. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking it’s purely for relaxation, and forget that everything is a tool that can be used for good or evil.
But what if we could redeem the time we spend on social media? What if we could use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr — or whatever other sites you frequent — to spread the timeless truth of God’s Word and build up the body of Christ? They are not evil, nor are they amoral. They are simply tools that we can choose to use for our own selfish aims or for the glory of God.
We can choose to pursue our own pleasures, to zone out with silly videos and memes, to lose ourselves in playing games, to ruin our hearts by comparing our messiness to others’ cleaned-up pictures . . . or we can choose put some thought into our actions and intentionally build up the body of Christ, relentlessly encourage others, and faithfully exalt Jesus’ name.
We can choose to be intentional about redeeming our time on social media.
We can make the choice to stop and think before sharing, to carefully consider our opportunities before scrolling past another post, to thoughtfully weigh our words before hitting the comment button. As Christians, we have a great responsibility to use social media wisely — and the best use of social media will always reflect the unchanging principles of God’s Word.
1. Share in others’ joys. People want someone to share their excitements, their joys, their enthusiasms. Be that someone. Resist your feelings of jealousy or your own inadequacies, and cheer them on in their successes and victories. Comparison is, after all, the thief of joy and the enemy of contentment. Stop comparing, and start caring about the things that happen to others.
2. Share in others’ sorrows. Don’t be a fair-weather friend. Don’t ignore your friend’s statuses when they sharing about hitting rough waters. People need to know they’re not alone when times get tough, so be there for them. Encourage them, pray with them, or simply offer to listen. Let them weep on your virtual shoulder. Take the time to discern what they’re not saying, and offer something helpful if you can (no platitudes, though!). Let them know you’re thinking of them, and praying for them.
3. Share prayer requests for yourself or for others. If you know someone going through a crazy hard situation, ask if you can share their request with your friends. Chances are, they would love to receive extra prayer support (but respect their wishes if they say no!). And don’t be afraid to let others see your own struggles, too. Share your own requests. Be honest about your struggles. Build your own prayer network on Facebook or Twitter. You’ll be amazed at how many people are eager to pray for you, to help shoulder your burdens.
4. Share praises. If you’ve asked prayer for something (or someone), and God answers in an amazing way, let people know! Rejoice together in God’s goodness and care. Others will be encouraged to know that their prayers were not in vain, and you’ll be the recipient of people rejoicing alongside you. See the cycle? Reach out to others, and in turn, they will reach out to you.
5. Share ministry opportunities. This could be as simple as asking people to pray for someone — or as big as asking friends to help financially with a new ministry. Give people a chance to support God’s work throughout the world. Who knows? Perhaps one of your friends will give that final amount needed for a missions project. Perhaps one of them is looking for a place to serve, and what you share will be the perfect opportunity for them. Perhaps the ministry itself will answer a need that someone has, maybe even bring them to the saving knowledge of Christ. Do whatever you can to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ!
6. Share your (biblically-informed) message. Maybe you don’t have a ministry opportunity, but you have a message that God has laid on your heart. Maybe He’s burdened you about pursuing adoption, or repairing broken marriages. Maybe you’re passionate about being a godly wife or raising godly children. Maybe you’re simply in love with God’s Word, and want to encourage others to pursue a deeper understanding of His truth. Don’t be embarrassed or shy about speaking up! If God gave you that burden or passion, share it with the world. Your message could be the instrument to open people’s eyes to the needs around them, or even point them to Christ Himself.
7. Share your experiences. Make the effort to make a difference in somebody’s life. Offer encouragement and prayer support, rejoice with their successes, and just plain be there for them. Be an example that they can follow. This could be spiritual, or it could even be lifestyle-specific: help a new blogger, cheer on a new mom, reach out to someone entering your field. And be willing to learn from others’ experiences. Listen to those who have lived longer or gone before you. They’ve been where you are, and hopefully have some wisdom to share. Swallow your pride and ask for help . . . and then take their advice. Because nobody can live life completely on their own. Be humble enough to benefit from other’s experiences, and to let others benefit from yours.
8. Share Christ in everything. People are always watching, whether you notice them or not. So don’t just mindlessly “like” or share something simply because you like the person who shared it. Whatever you interact with shows up in all your friends’ feeds too . . . so be absolutely sure those posts are God-honoring and Christ-exalting. No, they don’t always have to be “spiritual” things. There’s a place for fun and a time for crazy. But they should always honor God’s principles. So consider carefully before you share something. Will it draw attention to Christ, or to yourself? Are those words gentle and loving, or hurtful and destructive? Is that link beneficial, or will it cause someone to stumble? Think about the message you are sending, and the reputation you are building. Choose what will exalt Christ above all.
What else would you add to this list?