1 Peter 2:11-19. Find the 1 Peter 2 reading guide here!
The culture we live in has become dangerously similar to the Old Testament. People worship themselves, things they’ve created and forget about the goodness of God. Psalm 78:8 describes the Israelites who wandered from the commandments of God as “a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.” Over and over in this chapter we see that the people forgot the might works God had done, tested God, didn’t believe in God, and did not remember His power. They relied on their own abilities rather than the mighty hand of the Lord. They lived for the present moment rather than the future promises of Faithful God.
Just like the Israelites, our generation has been following this pattern. YOLO, meaning “you only live once,” has become the theme of this generation as a desperate plea to live for something more- all the while missing the adventurous, meaningful life that God has always intended for us. Every direction we look, we are surrounded with mini-idols, including ourselves. Social media is the perfect example of this. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have created altars of worship for ourselves and others. The terms “follow” and “like” have become a part of our identity. We have begun to find our worth in how many “followers” we have and how many “likes” our picture got (or retweets and favorites a tweet had). If you are on social media, you know the emotional roller coaster that it can be.
Not only do we become obsessed with how many followers we have, but we become wrapped up in the lives of those we follow. A trend I’ve noticed in my own life is that the more people I follow, the more insecure I become. It is too easy to allow social media to affect our feelings, our productivity and our worth. When I used to be on Twitter, I noticed that my mind thought in “tweets.” Seriously, it was ridiculous. If something happened, automatically I would figuring out how to phrase it in 140 characters of less. God began to open my eyes to the number of minutes and hours I spent looking down at my phone rather than looking up and seeing ministry opportunities all around me. We are missing so much in life by looking down.
The truth is, most of us have an unhealthy relationship with social media, but we do not know what to do about it. Social media can be used for the glory of God and to share the Gospel, but the majority of the time it is used as a weapon of the Enemy to drag us down and lift us up on a pedestal. We have become imprisoned to likes, follows and comments. 1 Peter 2:15-16 addresses this: “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” Did you get that? Live as people who are free…not as people who find their worth in a profile picture or increasing number of followers. The people of God have constantly been in a battle to know the will of God, but we see it plainly here: “that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.” Your life should breathe, glow and overflow with the love of Christ onto the world…even through your profile, your instagram and your twitter feed.
The freedom Peter refers to here is the freedom from the shackles of sin and bondage. Romans 6:22 explains it this way: “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” We were set free from the bondage of sin and death and made alive to become a slave of God. The word for slave refers to a “doulos,” one who has given their whole life to the service of God. Sisters, God is worthy of your entire life, from your family, your work, your image to your iPhone. As His doulos, how is your life making much of your Master?
For most of us, there are people we need to “un-follow” (whether literally or in our hearts), so that our complete follow-ship would be to Jesus Christ. When Jesus called the disciples to “follow Him”, He meant to give up everything for the sake of His name. We need to redeem the word follow and place it back with its’ original worth: to follow Christ. Will you give Christ control of your social media feeds? It is His will that even through those, that you should appear blameless and that Jesus should be displayed. As 1 Peter 2:17 (ESV & Message) describes, may your feeds always:
- Honor everyone (treat everyone with dignity)
- Love the brotherhood (love your spiritual family)
- Fear God (revere Him)
- Honor the emperor (respect your government)
Un-follow this world and follow Jesus. He is worthy of our affection, our devotion and our worship. He cannot share the throne with anyone or anything else. Let’s pray today and ask Him to reveal to us any area that we are placing at a higher level or importance. He will reveal it to us, but we then must be obedient to take every measure necessary to remove the idol and place God first. Here are a few practical ways that I do a heart check to see how much I rely on social media or if I am finding too much identity in it:
- Delete social media for a day (or week) – the moment you delete it from your phone you realize how often you look at it! It is amazing the freedom you feel when you can’t even open it.
- Sign out each time you look at it. That way you have to deliberately sign in each time instead of pulling it up every other minute.
- Change the location of it on your phone. We are creatures of habit. By changing around the location of social media on your phone it will help break the habit of looking at it.
- Put away your phone in ALL social situations. Don’t have it on the table when eating dinner, don’t have it out when meeting a friend for coffee, don’t check it every time you feel a vibrate. God has called us to be present and to be relationship-driven people. Relationships can’t happen with a phone between two people.
- Take inventory of who you are following and how this is affecting your heart. Do not be afraid to un-follow someone. If someone’s feed causes you to be discontent, jealous, discouraged, or anything else, un-follow them. You must be free from the world to follow Christ. Set your hopes fully on HIM.
- Take inventory of those following you. Are the things you post encouraging and pointing to Christ? Or are they glorifying yourself? How can you encourage others and be a light for the Gospel?
May we be women who follow Jesus first. Live free in Christ today, this is how you were created to live! If that means putting away your phone for the day, I pray that your time focusing your heart on the Lord is blessed and that you are refreshed! Don’t be afraid to look different. You will survive (maybe even THRIVE), not looking down for a day, but looking up at Jesus!