The internet is a horde, a vitriol mob of perpetual outrage. Each day elicits new battles to fight and new controversies to analyze. Competing tribes narrow each day the line in the sand drawn yesterday. Watchman have stood the walls of our culture decrying and warning that the schismatic vile spewing from social media feeds demolishes public discourse and weakens society. Though the past was not an idealized age of peace and charity we blissfully remember, we sense intuitively that something has gone awry.Read More
I am coming off of a three-week break from social media and blogging. It was a good break and a needed disconnect from the incessant buzz of Facebook and Twitter. Taking a three-week break forced me to really examine my social media usage and learn some new lessons. I thought it might be a good idea to share some of the lessons I've learned from my three-week break.
1. Social Media is a Powerful Tool
The internet and social media are just that – a tool. It can be used for good or it can be used for great evil. It all depends on the intention of the person as to whether social media becomes a productive and edifying tool or a destructive, piercing weapon. It can be extremely powerful either way you wield it. Our sin can quite easily cause us to use social media to hurt others, gossip, or criticize. Yet, I long to seek new ways to use social media to connect with other, encourage people in their faith, and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
2. Social Media can become an Addiction
Social Media is like heroin. It can become quickly addicting. I often found myself overly dependent on checking the social network for likes, comments, messages, etc. Like an addict looking for his next high, I would scroll through my iPhone looking for another dosage. Over the past three weeks I deleted all the social media network from my iPhone so I would not even be tempted to open them up. It was good to take a break and be free from the addiction, but to also rest my mind from generating content to build up the body of Christ.
3. Social Media Connects the World
Through my blog and social media this past year, I have had the opportunity to meet and pray for believers all across the world. It has been amazing to see the ministry opportunities the Lord has given me through stewarding the tool of social media for his glory. I still have a long ways to go in using it properly, but by God's grace I'll get there.
4. Social Media Usage Often Has Sinful Motivations
As I examined my own heart these past three weeks, I learned just how wretched of a sinner I am. I like keeping up with how many views this blog gets or how many likes a post gets on Facebook or how many retweets. It is so easy to begin to post, write, and encourage others not for the glory of God but for the vain praise of men. By God's grace, he has taught me the difficult lesson of fearing him before others and finding my identity not in what people think about me.
5. Social Media is a Ministry
I am more convinced than ever that this blog and my Facebook and Twitter accounts are another form of the ministry God has given me. Keeping content coming through the pipeline is often a lot of work. Writing these blog posts regularly takes great energy. All of this is a ministry for me. It is a joyous labor to serve the church universal through writing and tweeting. By God's grace may he use my efforts and labors for the spread of His name and for His glory.
The internet is an amazing tool. It is also an amazing distraction. Now, in days when we have the internet in our pockets on our smartphones, the constant hum of the internet rests deeply on our minds. We have become obsessed with checking for likes or comments and reading updates of people whom we really know very little about. The danger is that in many ways we are addicted to the internet.
As a youth pastor, I see this often in the lives of many teenagers. Many walk around like cyborgs with their smartphones replacing their left hand. Many adults do the exact same thing. When you go into a restaurant it is not uncommon to see a family eating dinner together, but all on their phones. The hum of social media and the internet rings loudly in our ears, except so often we don't realize how loud its gotten because we are around it 24/7. This hum is getting deafening and greatly affecting our personal relationships. We do not know how to carry a conversation. We are uncomfortable looking someone in the eye and talking, but far more comfortable with a dimly lit screen and a keyboard.
I am a firm believer that social media can be a great tool and can be used for the glory of God and for the spread of the Gospel. In blogging, Facebook, and twitter my goal is to maximize the name of Jesus Christ in a hum of vanity and narcissism. In our use of technology and the internet, we must always keep our motives in check. As a Christian, we have a mission, to tell the world that Jesus is the savior. The spread of the Gospel is our first priority, and the internet can be a great tool to do that. However, we must not let the tool distract us from our primary purpose. We must not let the internet supersede the reason why we use it. For many, including myself, the hum of the internet has become so idolatrous, it needs to be repented of. For some of us the best thing we can do is to detox for a week. May God help us learn to use the internet as a great tool for the kingdom, and not as a slave master whose constant hums drowns effects our relationships with friends and family.
How do you protect yourself from the constant hum of the internet? Share with us in the comments!
Writing is a task I've grown to love. Each word is like a puzzle piece begging to be put together into a coherent whole. The puzzle pieces, each with their own nuances and meanings, bounce around and reshuffle at the command of my thoughts. The possibilities of a blank page are legion. As ink spills on the page, a writer tosses the dice of influence, never knowing the impact the words dripping from his pen will make. The written word is hidden with power greater than any atom. The power encapsulated word can transform a very man's thoughts. It's persuasion greater than the barrel of any gun. The power of the written word is only limited by the mind of him who writes. The assembled word grows in power depending on the wisdom of the writer. The wiser the writer, the more powerful the words. Imagine the possibilities if God himself wrote. What if God, through the inspiration of human authors, assembled words together to communicate his wisdom? What if God used the power of writing to proclaim His truth?
This work of God would be sharper than any two edged sword. His writings would have the power to cut a man in the deepest part of his soul. His word could bring dead men to life. The Bible, God's Word, encapsulates His power.
Is there any wonder why I've grown so dedicated to the task of writing? I long to imitate God through writing. Seeking to match the power of God's word is as impossible as an infant beating a body builder in a wrestling match. Although I aim to write powerfully and cut to the depths of men's hearts, my best efforts in writing will be nothing but filthy rags. This is why I have decided that the content of my writing will be based on this precious, powerful Word of God. Unpacking the truth of His word is the only hope that there will be any power in my words. Only through the exposition of the Scriptures will my writing cut to the very souls of men, and that only through the working of the Holy Spirit.
I am amazed at God’s grace towards me. A little over a year ago, I made a commitment to myself and to God to use social media to spread the Gospel. Because of that passion, I decided to make the habit of regularly blogging for the sake of the Gospel. To be honest, I was never really sure if I would follow through with the discipline of blogging. I see the task of writing as one given to me by God. I view my call to teach and proclaim His word as a divine responsibility. By His grace, I will proclaim the glorious truth of the Gospel through the written word, and I will continue to expose the truth of the Scriptures through writing, so that all may hear that Jesus is Lord!