Instagram Heart Check
Does the daily scroll on social media ever consume your mind or cause you to compare? You are not alone in this. More often than not, social media has been a place of discouragement and distraction in my own life. The enemy knows right where to meet us each day and he specializes in learning how he can steal our joy. 1 Peter 5:8 challenges us to “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” In order to be alert and guard our hearts with all diligence, knowing our hearts are the well-spring of life (Proverbs 4:23), we have to filter through what we allow in and challenge what we are putting out. What occupies our souls and stays in our thoughts reveals what we worship.
Social media is set up to worship us, while we were made to worship God.
This is where the problem comes into play. Likes, comments, followers, retweets, hearts, and shares all make up a rating scale that we use to measure our worth and reach. It’s all about us. If we are not careful, we will become more concerned about numbers and likes than we will be about what we are saying and where we are finding our hope. Ephesians 5:15-17 tells us to be careful about how we live, not as those who are unwise, but as those who are wise. Wisdom tells us to live for what lasts, knowing these days are fleeting (Proverbs 2:20-22, 3:1-4, Psalm 115:1). Folly tells us to be consumed with ourselves and our glory. Wisdom tells us to build the Kingdom of God (Proverbs 3:9-10, 11:30, 14:1, Matthew 6:33). Folly tells us to build our own kingdom and tear down others who get in the way. Wisdom tells us to be careful about the words we say and the things we hear and consume (Proverbs 15:1, 4, 31). Folly says to speak what is on our mind and listen to the world’s ideas of living and "success".
Wisdom is God’s way of living, and we can live as wise women who test what we do and use social media as a means of sharing Christ and enjoying His good gift of life instead of being controlled by it. How do we use social media in a way that is God honoring and brings glory to Jesus? How can we utilize it as a tool for the Kingdom and as a place of enjoyment and fellowship and not allow it to steal our purpose, satisfaction, and identity? We need to take the wisdom of 2 Corinthians 13:5 and “examine”, or “test”, ourselves to see whether we are following after Christ or following after the world. This life is too fleeting to allow a place like social media to rule our days and govern our feelings or how we live. We need to take a good, long hard look at ourselves and our motives through the mirror of the Word.
Join me in doing an “Instagram Heart Check” to challenge where you are finding your joy, identity, and hope.
Below are questions I have asked myself continually and things that I do to guard my heart. It’s not worth wasting precious time, energy, and worry being consumed by such a fleeting thing as an Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter profile. Instead, let’s use social media as an opportunity to live freely, purposefully, and in light of the gospel. May our profiles, feeds, and words all reflect the hope you have in Christ, and may we find freedom from the chains of comparison. Jesus sets us free, and I believe whole-heartedly that He can be glorified through social media. Let's a few minutes to ask yourself these questions and commit your social media to Christ and the advancement of the Kingdom of God.
- Am I posting this to receive affirmation and build my kingdom? Or am I sharing to point people to hope and joy in Christ?
- If I don't get the response I expect, how do I feel? Do I place my confidence in likes or comments? Or do I find my identity in Christ who does not change?
- Do I live more online than I do in real life? Am I the same person online as I am in real life?
- When I am with family and friends, am I really present with them, or am I spending too much time on my phone?
- How much time do I spend looking at my profile and mindlessly flipping through the profiles of others? How can I use this time to encourage others, pray, or bless those who are right in front of me?
- Why do I follow a certain person? Why do other people follow me?
- Am I more afraid to unfollow someone or lose followers than I am to lose my joy in Jesus?
- Do I look at social media first thing in the morning? What occupies my mind during free moments?
- Do I allow numbers to determine how I feel and how I react?
What are some "Instagram Heart Check" questions you ask yourself? How do you use social media in a way that brings glory to God? How can you share the gospel through your words, feeds, and photos? If you find your heart is not in the right place, take time to pray and ask Jesus to take over. Consider taking a short break from social media or writing a mission statement to keep you focused. Wherever you are, commit your profile to Christ.
Jesus, we commit our social media profiles to You. Teach us to choose what is best. Show us how we can use social media to bring You glory and to share about what You have done for us. Guard our hearts from becoming consumed with numbers, likes, or followers. Instill the gospel within us and shape our passions, thoughts, and dreams to be about You, because we know that true life and joy is found in following You. We love You. Amen.