If you’ve been reading this blog or following me for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed that I share a lot about social media. I’ve wrestled with the use of technology and the ability it has to strip us of our passions and trip us with comparison. But I’ve also wrestled with the potential it has to be used for good and for God’s glory. When I read any of Paul’s letters in the New Testament, I see him using arguments and means that were known to the people he was reaching in order to share with them the hope of Jesus.
Paul addressed the people right where they were with the message of the gospel. There was no social media during the time he wrote his letters to the church, but he was passionate about reaching people in their own various contexts. While society looks different than during Jesus’ time, the principles and timeless truths of Scripture still apply to us today. The Great Commission is still a command to us, and it’s our role as Jesus-followers to wrestle through the countless ways we can reach people and shine the light of Christ in a dark world.
It is estimated that 81% of U.S. citizens are on social media (source). Globally there are 1.97 billion users on Facebook and 600 million users on Instagram (source). The numbers speak for themselves. If we want to reach people, we have to go where they are, and nowadays, they are on their phones. But the question comes in, how do we reach people using our phones without also becoming obsessed with our phones? How do we share the light of Christ in this dark world without, too, being consumed by the darkness?
I believe the answer to these questions goes all the back to the root of our ambitions. We must be willing to daily ask ourselves harder questions like this: What are the motives driving me to pick up my phone? What is at the driver’s seat of my heart? A desire for attention? A desire to escape my daily tasks? A desire to be like others or be liked by others? Or is it a desire to love Jesus and encourage others? The answers to these questions change daily (even hourly), and that is why we must be prudent to test our hearts and continually submit them back to Jesus.
Wrestle for His Glory
If I were to be completely honest with you, I wrestle with social media a lot. Over the past few years God has grown the reach of Life Lived Beautifully to having over 59k followers on Instagram and almost 13K on Facebook. There have been times I have seen those numbers and been crippled in my own sharing because I was afraid of what the masses will think or how they will respond. It’s hard being constantly measured every single day. Numbers surround us in today’s society, and we have to constantly fight against finding our identity and worth in them. I’ve wanted to quit social media so many times that I can’t even put a number to the amount of times those words have crossed my mind. Satan always wants us to quit what God is using. But God doesn’t make His people quitters who throw in the towel. There will be times where we are called to surrender, or where we stop doing something for a time and take a step back, but we aren’t called to quit sharing Jesus. The gospel reminds us that we are never to quit doing what glorifies God.
Even though I’ve wrestled with my fleshly desire to throw in the towel at times, I won’t quit using social media for God’s glory. If I leave this online mission field because I’m tired of fighting the fight of the faith, I’ve let the enemy have victory. The enemy is having a field day stealing women’s identities, precious time, and purpose through the internet. He is celebrating each time we pull up our feeds and compare ourselves to other women while grumbling against what God has given us. He knows that if he can distract God’s people from our greater calling that he has won a small victory. But we serve a God who has won the entire battle, and people need to hear this message.
If God can use me to say one encouraging word or be a vessel of truth in one person’s life, then sharing is worth the risk. It’s worth writing vulnerable truth. It’s worth taking time to pray through what should be said. It’s worth the painful soul scrubbing as I am sanctified of pride, envy, and discontent. Ultimately, I want Jesus more than I want to be comfortable or have followers or be liked by others. The audience I write to is really an audience of One, and that is why I will continue sharing, no matter how many or how few are watching. I will continue to tell others that Jesus really is all we need and strive to live this out.
Let the Light Shine
Ultimately, we have the Light that others need. Though the darkness of this world can feel overwhelming, the Light of Christ is greater. John 1:4-5 describes Jesus in this way:
“In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
As followers of Jesus, that same light is in us. Jesus explained in Matthew 5:14,16, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden…In the same way, let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” I recently watched a video with my two-year old that featured a lightbulb with hands and feet walking through a dark city singing “this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” Inside the lightbulb was the name “Jesus” producing the light. Using social media for the glory of God is as simple as letting the light of Christ within us shine bright for all to see.
How do we practically do this? I don’t think there is a formula to following Jesus. He simply calls us to obedience. He doesn’t call us to do big things, but instead to be faithful in our everyday lives. We should be humbly sharing how the gospel affects our mundane. We should be sharing how God has been faithful and even sharing our own stories so others can see how glorious our Savior is. Every post doesn’t have to be innately “spiritual” and paired with a Bible verse, but as believers our posts should exude our faith and model what it means to live like Christ. Just like that lightbulb with Jesus illuminating its surroundings, our feeds should radiate Jesus. Not only that, but what we share on our feeds should readily match how we act in real life. The goal is not that we get glory or followers or likes, rather, the goal is that others would see Jesus and long to know Him as well.
I know there will be more days where I wrestle with how to use social media rather than be used by it, but I believe that the wrestling is worth it. It’s worth feeling uncomfortable at times and being scrubbed of my pride because in the end, if I know Jesus more and have made Him known, then I’ve done exactly what I’m called to do.
This little light of mine, I’m going to let it continue to shine, even when the enemy tries to put it out. Shine with me friends, you’ve got the Light within you and the Lord needs to see it.
Shining for His glory,
Find other posts on using social media for the glory of God here:
- Instagram Heart Check
- Well-Watered Women: Share the Word
- The Daily Scroll
- Four Steps to iPhone Freedom
- Instagram for the Fame of Jesus
- An Inch Wide and a Mile Deep
(A great book about guarding the way we use our phones is 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You by Tony Reinke!)