The Greatest Form of Idolatry Transforming Our Minds
Not all idols are made of gold, silver, wood, clay, or stone. Today’s idolatry takes the shape of a communication skill called social media. It comes through screens, large and small, operated by batteries or electricity. It goes with you to school or work. It comes home with you. Its correspondence can be either private or public. It is the most dangerous weapon of choice Satan has to transform our minds into conforming to the world (Romans 12.2).
Who is exposed? The young, mostly. The young parents and the young children are the most popular subjects. Older people are slowly moving into the use of this trend and are still trying to figure out all its features. Let’s just say more people are guilty of its use than would openly admit.
You can tell when someone is using it in the way they complain, the comments on the news of the day, in the way they use defeatist or alarming language to describe what is happening at work, on the ball team, in their families, at the doctor’s office, at the restaurant, or all over the world. At a worship service, you can tell it is being used because so many people bow their heads who have no Bible, and the prayers have already been said.
The great image has a lot of upside to it. Brethren have encouraged, supported, and praised those who are ill, weak in faith, or dealing with trials through social media, which has meant a great deal to the ones who receive the messages. However, blessings and cursings have come from the same mouth (James 3.10). Christians who send messages of love also send out quick posts of slander or anger toward those who have offended them.
One problem among Christians is repeating a report without knowledge of the facts. We sometimes perpetuate destruction by delivering “false news.” In other words, our social media source provides us a means of gossip that spreads faster than flood waters through the bottomland. Where has our wisdom gone when it comes to truth? Folly is exposed more than wisdom so often in social media. We need to reverse that trend. Let wisdom have its perfect work rather than allowing social media the opportunity to bring out our foolishness.
Keeping your mind on things above takes a lot of time. Time is better served in continuing and diligently seeking God, rather than seeking the latest post from your Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter feed.
We should be loudly, repeatedly, and confidently proclaiming Christ as Lord rather than loudly expressing our disgust, pride, or disappointment by saying something we have to recant, regret, or repent.
It is amazing the numbers of people who have so many solutions to so many problems on social media. People have the answers. People know what they would do and tell you. We hear what you have the “right” to do. Some give instructions. Others want the “last word,” even if it is “Bye!” Others create more problems than they solve. Why not look in the direction of the One who solves man’s greatest problem - sin. Look to the scripture and find Jesus as the Great Physician waiting, wanting, and wishing you would desire to hear Him. Look for what He would do rather than looking to others who may have no idea what to do.
There are a couple of matters to remember about social media. Your “cyber actions” have real-life consequences. The more time you spend with it and on it, the more detached you become from the reality that electronic messages and images have real-life impacts. Many people think that if it is on a screen, somehow it is like watching a movie or TV show, which we often associate with fiction. It is not real. Such thinking is why people say things, do things, and post pictures of things they would never do in public, among family, and especially in the presence of Christians. As a result, people have lost self-respect, self-control, and self-dignity.
The other matter is found in Proverbs 18.21: “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” God gave everyone the gift of communication. The means of communication vary, and everyone provides communication. The greatest effort of communication is what comes from God about how we should put for the right kind of communication before others. There is great wisdom in the following scriptures:
Read Ephesians 4.29-32 and then ask yourself, “Will what I send out in a message buildup or tear down the faith of another?”
Read Matthew 18.15 and Galatians 6.1 and then ask yourself, “Before I talk about a person on social media, have I talked to that person in-person about the problem of offense?”
Read Matthew 22.37-40 and 1 Corinthians 10.31 and then ask yourself, “Do the images i post and the words I write reflect good upon my neighbor and myself? Does God favor it? Is this embarrassing for my family to read? Is it a shame for the family of God to read?”
Read 1 Samuel 16.7 and then ask yourself, “Is this selfie a cry for help, a picture for approval, a desire for friends, or an example of pride?”
It may be time to break away from the social media and break into what real one-on-one connection means with God and with others. Think about who and what is speaking into your heart, for whatever it is will be what you serve.