Social media is great! It has never been easier to promote ourselves, both in our personal life and in our careers. Self-promotion can be enhanced by filtered photos, crafty words, and compelling Instagram stories. Our posts can brag about our beauty, our business acumen, and our good lives, elevating our status above those who follow us.
But should we be more wary about our social media presence? Are we celebrating God-honoring things or are we boasting and promoting our own success? While we fashion perfect posts to elicit the right amount of positive feedback, are we not seeking a bit of envy in others?
A fair number of our friends and followers may not be Christians, but they know we are. Do they view our prideful posts as proof that we are as conceited and materialistic as the rest of the world? God knew social media would be a 21st Century tool for good or evil. The question we must ask ourselves is how are we using it to promote ourselves instead of our faith?
Are we sharing things that build others up, or only ourselves? Are we inflating our self-worth to become more popular and desirable—or are we seeking to use social media to advance God’s purpose? There is a line that we cross where we reveal our pride in all its ugliness. I have crossed that line plenty of times to know better. Perhaps if I memorized Proverbs 27:2 it would help: “Don’t praise yourself. Let someone else do it. Let the praise come from a stranger and not your own mouth.”
Then there are the battles waged on social media. As Christ-followers, when we share over-zealous posts about politics, share vitriolic opinions, and then get caught up in any of the current media firestorms, we only serve to make us appear like we are part of the problem without any solutions. This is not our true calling from God. Instead, we should put our posts through the fruit of the spirit editing process: Does it show love, joy, peace. patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? (Galatians 5:22-23).
What is most concerning in our social media life is the idea that we can self-promote ourselves to a place where God never intended us to be. When we can buy followers and inflate our worth in the social media world, it is totally possible to fool ourselves into thinking we’ve made it—we’re famous in our own eyes. But this promotion is doomed to fail. We know how God feels about pride: “Pride leads to destruction; a proud attitude brings ruin.” Proverbs 16:18
We can use social media for good purposes, for the encouragement of others, for elevating the work that is helpful in a hurting world. Before posting I double-check to see if I’m only trying to make myself look better. Am I just praising myself? Have I belittled others? If so, I’m treading on dangerous ground and posting at my own risk. When Jesus warned that we would be judged for every careless word we utter, that includes the words I post on social media.
“And I tell you that on the Judgment Day people will be responsible for every carless thing they have said” – Matthew 12:36
Karen Farris saw the need to help underserved kids while serving in a youth ministry that gave her the opportunity to visit rural schools on the Olympic Peninsula. She now volunteers her time grant writing to bring resources to kids in need. She also shares stories of faith in action for those needing a dose of hope on her weekly blog, Friday Tidings.www.fridaytidings.com