Meaningful Living in the Hashtag Age

Posts tagged ‘social media’

DISCONNECT

ARTICLE GRAPHIC 8

Click LIKE to show your approval of me.

SCROLL DOWN to learn about my passions, joys and pains.

Become my FOLLOWER, INFLUENCER, SUBSCRIBER OR FRIEND.

Peek into my SCRIPTED LIFE.

Illustrate your acceptance with FUNNY EMOJIS and EDITED GIFS.

Let’s fellowship through WORDS and PICTURES and VALIDATE each other with half-moons that turn into smiling faces.

Let’s solidify our bond with the perfect selfie and SHARE with the world the beauty of our online FRIENDSHIP.

This is what relationship building looks like in the 21st century – this is the online community we live in.

In full disclosure, I am not a critic of social media. I use social platforms daily to connect with friends and family. I click LIKE often. I watch the silly videos and search, like many people do, for the right emoji to illustrate the joy I feel at connecting with people I care about. But as a social media user and a Christian, I often wonder about the spiritual and moral realities of living in a world that expects me to build strong relationships with people by simply clicking LIKE. I also wonder if the desire to be liked on social media is indicative of our fear that God will not accept nor validate what we choose to reveal about ourselves in cyberspace that we try to hide from him during our quiet time?

Social media has changed how we build relationships and, in many ways, how we see ourselves. It is an effective tool with the capability to bring us together in a positive way, although many people misuse its power. God blessed us with the technology to share our lives with the global community, but when we do so, we should check our like-seeking motives at the door and avoid opening ourselves to pride’s destructive influence.

Satan has waged a vicious war against believers. This war is propelled by our need to be accepted and celebrated by man. Satan has tapped into our propensity to be prideful. Social media plays a role in that, but it is not the culprit. As Christians, our desire for approval should be satisfied by our belief in a living God. God expresses his love for us daily. We do not need the approval of man because man will never save us.

To be liked on social media is not the same as being liked, loved or revered by God. It is a symbol of our admiration for one another that carries no power over who we are or what truly makes us great. It is a small pebble tossed in a giant pond.

The need to be accepted is Satan’s way of forcing Christians to move further from the cross. We see it every day, on the news, in our schools and even in our homes. Children are following the misguided directions of their peers and Youtubers, who are eating Tide pods and drinking boiling hot water. Adults are turning away from the church and biblical teachings and turning towards the latest trends. Politicians are using social platforms to garner support for policies that will hurt the poor while the church struggles to maintain its influence over parishioners and to spread the Gospel without fault or distraction. Garnering the strength to move away from temptation has become harder. We are exposed, more now than at any period in my lifetime, to belief systems that contradict what the bible teaches us. We struggle to do and to say what is right, even when the word of God has not changed or ceased to exist in any way.

God teaches us in 1 John 2:16 (ESV) that the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions is not from the Father but is from the world. He also reminds us in Romans 12:2 (ESV): Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

As mature Christians, it is important to be careful about what we are exposed to. We have a responsibility to the younger generation. We should work to protect them from Satan’s tricks and to help them navigate the world of social media, so they can reap the benefits of these tools without falling prey to Satan’s will.

In this new age of constant connectivity, it is important that we disconnect from the world and reconnect with God.

When I disconnect, I am at my best. Consumed with the love of my family and surrounded by my most powerful ally – Christ Jesus. Being liked and popular has its place, but who we are in the quiet moments that we spend with God is essential to the discovery of his true purpose for our lives.

Michelle D. Jackson is the author of the inspirational novel, The Heart of a Man. Follow her on Facebook @AuthorMichelleDJackson.

This article was featured in the March 2018 publication of The Mount Magazine. To order a copy visit, https://www.mt-ararat.org/buy-the-mount.

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Join us! Social Media Community of Prayer Campaign

Prayer

In response to the recent killing of an unarmed teen in St. Louis, my family invite you to join us in a Social Media Community of Prayer Campaign this Sunday, AUG 16th between 10 – 10:30 am (EST). To participate, we are asking everyone to do two things. First, pray on your own for something you want to change in your community on a National, State or Local level; no conference call or email will be set-up or necessary. Second, use the comment line below to add what you will be praying for so everyone can pray with you. Your comments will be a part of the Campaign Prayer List. As Christians, we believe prayers do change things! Hope you can join us because our communities today desperately need our prayers.   

To show kindness –> LIKE my status

Not long ago, I had a theory: if at least ten percent of my friends LIKE my status I had achieved Facebook success. Anything less than 10% and I should delete the post, change my name and move to another country.

Although my theory was flawed and my motive ill-conceived at best, I ultimately realized that our desire to be liked, even in cyber-space, is rooted in our need for positive feedback and inspiration – two important acts of kindness. Although social media provides an easy way to share our love and support for one another, we should never confuse the enormous impact of what God refers to as ‘unfailing’ kindness with the frivolous act of clicking LIKE on Facebook.

In a time before social media, kindness was readily expressed in more meaningful ways. A young man would help an elderly woman take her grocery bags to the car or a neighbor would share a plate of warm cookies with the kids next door. Although these acts of kindness still exist, in a world where 1.2 billion people are on Facebook monthly, our standard for how we express our support for one another has shifted.

Our accomplishments and sometimes our failures are expressed to the world on-line instead of over the phone or in-person. And when our friends applaud our efforts by hitting LIKE or come to our rescue with an appropriate quote of inspiration, we often feel less alone. Even amongst the clutter created by selfie-enthusiasts and Candy Crush fanatics, staying connected and sharing a part of our lives with those we love is important. But when kindness is minimized to hitting LIKE on a computer screen, its impact is diminished.

When we click a mouse instead of picking up a phone, we acknowledge what our loved ones have accomplished but fail to express words of kindness that are sustaining. When we click a mouse instead of praying for and with those we love, we miss an opportunity to intercede before God on their behalf and to show an inexhaustible compassion – the same compassion God shows us every day.

As Christians and Facebook citizens, it’s important to never forget that the Great Commission has not changed because of technology. Although Facebook is a great way to show your support, God’s word remains the same and His expectation that we offer others an unfailing kindness even in a changing world is worth more than a million LIKES.
So the next time you hit LIKE, follow-up your support with a prayer and words of inspiration and continue to show those you love the loving-kindness, grace and mercy God has shown us all.

Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

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