This year during Lent, as I have over the past few years, I partially gave up social media. Ideally I would have given it up entirely, but that wasn’t exactly feasible this year for my job. As an alternative, I resorted to just removing it from the device I use most often: my cellphone.
At first, it was freeing. I didn’t have constant notifications on my phone, and my productivity increased. I had moments of “Look at me! I can do this all the time. Thank goodness I don’t have those distractions now.” My phone usage decreased. Then, within a week, I found that my phone usage stayed exactly the same. Instead of social media, I was very in tune with the weather, since it was the main app I used. I talked to more friends individually (via text or Whatsapp), and I browsed through Amazon. I wasn’t using my phone that much less than before, although my usage was more focused.
I figured out that it wasn’t social media that was bothering affecting my productivity. I realized, later, that I got so used to feeling distracted that I actually put distractions in my way as soon as the original distractions disappeared.
I got bored with my new distractions. You can only hide your phone from yourself so many times. After a few weeks, I found myself trying to sneakily use Facebook via my Chrome browser. Who did I think I was trying to fool? I had a problem.
I was longing so much to see what everyone else was doing instead of focusing on my own journey. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is real, guys. I used to laugh at people who had it, but I’ve realized I’m like everyone else; I am not immune.
Instagram was the worst. Because while you can still post on Facebook from your computer, on Instagram you can’t. Funnily enough, I desired to use Instagram moreso during Lent than I ever had before. Apparently when I can’t have something, I want it all the more, which would explain so many of my food cravings.
I would open Instagram on my computer and scroll through people’s posts, ‘like’ some, and be frustrated beyond belief that I couldn’t post. I had things to share, Bible verses to upload, food I ate, pretty views I saw. I didn’t want to post them before but I sure wanted to post them now. I realized, later, that my voice had become restricted, and so I wanted all the more to use it.
After I realized that I wanted to post again, I had to question why. What did I really want to say? I wanted to make people laugh, sure, but more importantly, I wanted to share God’s word and His influence in my life. I realized—after a bit of a detox—how little of God’s light is being shared on social media in comparison to everything else. And suddenly, I felt ashamed of how little I shared before.
Everyone has a voice, but no one has your voice. No one else can have the same influence you do on the people you know. You are beacon of light in your community; don’t hide your God from those He wants to save.
15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.
Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light
to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your
light shine before others, that they may see your good
deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
It’s by letting your love for Jesus shine that people will see who God is. What use is it to tell people that you’re a Christian without showing how you’re set apart from the rest of the world? How your mindset is changed? How your actions are affected? It is not solely up to our pastors and international missionaries to bring people to Christ; it is our job also.
35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching
in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the
kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When
he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because
they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a
shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is
plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the
harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest
field.” —Matthew 9:35–38
The Lord has already sent out workers into his field. His field is the world as it is, and the worker is you. Right now, in your chair as you read this. You are the worker. You are the example of Jesus in your group of friends, at work, when running your errands, and when you get cut off on the road. When you brand yourself as Christian, how you behave and what you value show others who Jesus is and what He values.
This isn’t to say that if you have social media that you have to use it regularly. That’s not the point here. But if you do use social media regularly anyway, does how you post reflect what you value? I used to regularly post cats, puns, and food. And while those are great things in moderation, and things I love, I doubted whether sharing God’s word would have any impact. I thought maybe I’d get some eyerolls. But what you post has impact. Do you or do you not follow/unfollow people based on whether you want to see what they post? If you say yes (as I know you will), then that is proof enough that your online presence has impact on those around you.
I think that this touches on a problem that people have though, as a whole. We want to feel valued and that we have an impact. We want to have more Facebook friends, more Insta followers, more retweets, and longer snap streaks. We place our value based on who likes us and how many people like us. Talking about Jesus is risky, and we don’t want to risk losing favour with our followers. But the problem is, no one’s going to like you all the time. We don’t even like ourselves all the time, so why should we base our value on other people’s frivolity and fickleness? We desire consistency. God’s love is forever.
But just because He loves us, doesn’t mean He doesn’t deserve our respect and praise. We cannot deny that our relationship with Christ is (or if not, should be) the most important part of our lives. It’s supposed to shape everything we do. When we don’t give God the glory, we are denying His influence. Matthew 10:33 tells us that denying Christ results in us also being denied.
But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him
before My Father who is in heaven.
What we do has eternal consequences. So use your platforms for God’s kingdom. The people around you might not like it. But since when was Jesus a people-pleaser?
18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me
first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you
as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but
I have chosen you out of the world.
That is why the world hates you.
We, like Jesus, are not here to be comfortable and be successful according to the world. We are here on Earth to be successful in God’s kingdom outreach. He has put you where you are in order to reach the people you know.
So reach. Network. Share your Jesus as much as you share your business card. Let your faith be your first line of business, not your last.