If you love the internet and social media and do not want the word of God to invade that domain (pun intended) of your life, then stop reading this post right now and move on in your internet surfing. If, however, you enjoy Facebook, Google+, Twitter, blogs etc. and you desire to use them in a Christ honoring way read on.
A few weeks ago I preached a message titled “Where People Are.” The message was based on the premise that Jesus was where people were in the time of His incarnation, meaning the gospel was where people were. I asked the question: “Should that be true of the gospel today?” Should the gospel be where people are? And of course, where are people today; the internet. The fact that you are reading this post is self authenticating proof of that assertion. In fact, recently my wife and I were out with another couple for coffee and there, all around us at the coffee shop were twenty and thirty something’s with laptops in front of them and their coffee beside them. It is where people are.
Today I want us to turn things around a bit and think through where is the word of God in all of this? In particular, does the word of God have anything to say to us, as believers, about social media, blogs and whatever else we find to do in the wide world of the web?
So here are four cautions, dare we say potential sin issues, and where the word of God gives us wisdom in our internet use from over 2,000 years ago. This is not an exhaustive Bible study treatment by any means but here are some Scriptures applied to internet “issues” to give us pause to pursue wisdom in our desire to engage people where they are:
In fairness of full disclosure, some of what follows is not original to me. The following is a collection of thoughts and Scriptures I have either thought about or have encountered from various other people.
1. Once you say something you’ve said it forever.
This has always been true in life; once words are uttered you can not take them back. In the past it was often one man’s word against another. You had a 50% of convincing people you never said what you really said. In today’s internet world however, there is digital proof you said it forever. Consider the word of God on this matter:
“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Eph. 4:29
“When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.” Prov. 10:19
“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” Prov. 18:13
“Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Prov. 29:20
“The wise in heart will be called prudent, and sweetness of the lips increases learning.” Prov. 16:21
“But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” James 3:8-10
2. Letting the internet be an idle idol.
We can lose ourselves in the world of the internet and waste gobs of time. An idol is an idol no matter what the object is. Anything that steals our heart away from Jesus and the His mission and purpose for our life is an idol. Research shows that the current “young” generation (those under age 35) is now spending time in front of the computer in proportion to the time previous generations spent in front of the TV.
“In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.” Prov. 14:23
“Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house (web site to web site), and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.” 1Tim 5:13 (web site to web site is mine J)
“And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you.” 1 Thess. 4:11
“And what ever you do in word and deed (posting and facebooking), do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the father through Him.Col. 3:17 (posting and facebooking are mine J)
3. Thinking that what “we think” matters more than it really does.
The rise of blogging and social media has given public platform to personal opinions like never before. Pride is on full display in this arena. Scripture has much to say on this.
“Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Prov. 16:18
“Charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.” 2Tim 2:14
“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” Prov. 18:2
4. Living an avatar life in place of being an avid follower of Christ.
It is easy to replace the need for acceptance and friendship that we can not find in “real life” with one that we think we can find in an internet life. We measure our worth and satisfaction by how many friends we have on Facebook or by how many responses we get to something we post. We find some sense of purpose and meaning in all this that is unbiblical if unbalanced as a believer. Christ is our satisfaction and we are complete in Him whether we engage internet use or not.
“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him” Col. 2:9-10a
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love, who is the head of all principality and power” John 15:9
“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.” 1Timothy 6:17
I believe the following principal that we saw in the last verse could easily be applied to this whole discussion: God has given us much to enjoy but none of these, including the internet, should ever replace our absolute trust and devotion to the living God.
Are there any other Scriptures that you have thought about that apply to social media or blogging?