Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Social Media and Our Calling as Believers

 By: Rebekah Hargraves

“But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.” 

 ~1 Thessalonians 4:10b-12

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think Paul would be a fan of social media – at least not the way we too often use it!

While it is certainly true that social media can be - and often is! - used to advance the gospel, further the kingdom, glorify God, encourage the saints, and spread truth, it can also too often become a dumpster fire (I mean, have you been on Facebook during an election year?). Personal attacks, name calling, and divisive debates run rampant - even among professing believers!

I wonder if we don't need a mental reset right here at the beginning of a new year when it comes to our view of and interaction with social media?

Not only that, but you may be wondering why I brought Paul into this at the beginning. He obviously didn’t live with anything even close to resembling social media, right? Well, that is right….and also wrong. 

While Paul didn’t have the internet, let alone social media, the problems of gossip, jealousy, and competition which we find to be so prevalent online were not problems birthed by social media. They were merely magnified and expanded to a far larger scale by it.

In that sense, Paul was battling many of the very same issues we are battling today. Because the sins of pride, jealous coveting, sinful anger, personal attacks, and gossip begin in the human heart and not on any computer or phone, Paul had much to say about these very same issues in his day. 

Consider, for a moment, his words in the following passage, and tell me if they don’t sound like they could apply to our behavior everyday on social media!

 “They learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.” ~1 Timothy 5:13

Do you see why I say Paul wouldn’t much for social media in the ways we so often allow ourselves to behave on it? Compare that passage with the one quoted at the beginning, and an eye-opening theme begins to emerge.

It’s so vastly different from our typical daily life, isn’t it? Leading a quiet life as opposed to wandering about from house to house (or social media account to social media account!), minding your own business as opposed to being gossips, working with your own hands as opposed to being busybodies, walking properly as opposed to saying things you ought not say.

The Greek word translated "to lead a quiet life" is hēsychazō and literally means "to keep still (intransitively), i.e. refrain from labor, meddlesomeness, or speech: cease, hold peace, be quiet, rest."

We as believers can still be present on social media and harness it for good and for the advancement of the kingdom! But only so far as we lead the quiet lives we have been called to live as believers. It has been said before that the internet never sleeps, meaning that we could easily hop on the social media platform of choice at any time of the day and night and see what we can learn about people, what we can pick apart about them, and all the ways in which we “should” hustle to be like them. That is the common temptation, right?

But we have been called to live quiet lives. Lives where we willingly work with our own hands, are concerned about our own affairs, and prioritize rest. 

May we purpose to do those very things in this new year, and thereby be a shining light to the watching world – including the watching world of social media!

1 comment:

  1. Wise words, Rebecca. May we remember we will be held accountable even for the words we put out on social media. May we use our words be kind and gentle and point others to Jesus.


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