Social Media & Keeping True Fellowship
by MBC STAFF
I wonder what Jesus or the Apostle Paul would have thought about the technology we have all become accustomed to. Certainly the ability to connect with the masses no longer requires a large platform, celebrity, or an esteemed position in society. All it takes is a smartphone or a computer and a social media account and the world is virtually at your fingertips.
I wonder if this would have changed Paul’s outlook on his many missionary excursions? Would he still have traveled all those miles, boarded all those ships, risked his personal safety to advance the gospel? Imagine the Sermon on the Mount delivered in a series of tweets instead of from the mouth of the Lord Jesus as He stood before the people. If Paul set up a Youtube channel and Jesus sent out Twitter messages, I suspect God would’ve used them both, but I don’t believe we would still be cherishing them today.
So what’s the point?
The point is not to bash social media and categorically denounce it as “un” or “sub” Christian and thereby stigmatize the tens of millions of Christians who regularly use it. Social media has undeniably changed our world and some of that change has been good. However, we cannot overlook the pitfalls to faith and Christian character that these platforms present.
Examine Your Motives
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them…” (Mt 6:1a) There is a subtlety here that should not be missed. There was a world before social media. There isn’t one single item that HAS to be posted online. If we can agree on this point, then we must ask, “why am I posting what I am posting? Is it to glorify God or am I seeking to be noticed by drawing to myself, the minds and emotions of others?” When it comes to what we post online, heart motivation is everything!
Naturally, we are not endorsing the use or non-use of social media. What we are advocating is a brief pause before you engage this medium to ask a critical question, “Examine me, O Lord, and try me; Test my mind and my heart.” (Ps 26:2) If we allow for this, we can all use social media as Paul and Jesus surely would have…to bring glory to God.
Do Not Forsake the Assembly
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb 10:24-25)
Have you ever watched a group of friends gather together in a location (coffee shop, home, church) seated in the same room and each one is doing nothing but looking at their phones? This has become the common image of what gathering in “fellowship” for many of us looks like. Instead of turning to talk to each other, they may be texting, or “liking” each other’s images on Facebook, Tweeting or Retweeting their pithy comments…all without ever saying a word or sharing a glance. This sort of scene has redefined for a whole generation what meaningful interaction looks like.
While many will be very comfortable with this form of interaction, the Bible does not present a picture in which the members of the Body of Christ do not talk, listen, pray, help, cry, and encourage one another person-to-person. So we must ask, “Is social media pushing me towards this kind of interaction or away from it?”
Biblical Christianity Demands Meaningful Interaction
Consider the following biblical command: “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (Jas 5:16a)
If it were not the intent of God for Christian faith to be expressly interpersonal then the command of God through James might have gone like this, “Confess your trespasses to God, and pray for God to heal you.” This, of course, is entirely biblical but it is not complete. God has created His church to nourish itself and heal itself just as the human body does and this is accomplished through interacting with each other in deep and meaningful ways.
Through our fellowship we experience so many of the divine realities, such as encouragement to love, to do good works, freedom from burdens, the lifting of guilt, empathy, and a healing which comes both from God and the genuine love being expressed by your brother or sister in Christ. There isn’t a “Like” or a “Retweet” in the world that can replace this.
Social media has forever changed the way the world works. It has changed almost everything about our world and how it operates. The only thing it hasn’t changed is the Bible. The prescription the Bible gives for deep, heartfelt, meaningful interactions between members of the Body is still the best, most fulfilling kind of interaction there is.
Until He Comes,
June 21, 2016
April 06, 2016
April 06, 2016