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Selfless in a Selfie World

Social media. We’re all part of it. We’re all connected by it.

And many of us (myself included) are poisoned by it.

Yes, I said it. Poisoned.

“Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing” (James 3:16).

“They rejected His statutes and His covenant which He made with their fathers and His warnings with which He warned them. And they followed vanity and became vain, and went after the nations which surrounded them, concerning which the LORD had commanded them not to do like them” (2 Kings 17:15).

If we step back from our nose-to-the-phone mindset and consider instead the word of God, we see two chilling warnings in these verses. First, selfishness and the desire to lift ourselves up (selfish ambition) are symptoms of a life rife with “every evil thing.” That, my friends, is terrifying.

Furthermore, the Lord Almighty in His sovereignty has commanded us not to follow the world. Those who do, He warns, become “vain” and directly disobey His commandment. Those outside the commandment of God lie within His wrath, unless covered by the atoning blood of Christ. Also terrifying, as Jonathan Edwards says, to be caught “in the hands of an angry God.”

So, in our world where having a well-liked selfie is a much desired goal, we Christians need to take a step back and consider where our hearts truly lie. The Lord knows our heart—we, however, are often too blind or too unwilling to look at them ourselves. Paul tells us to “test” ourselves to see if we are “in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5). David pleads with God to “test” his heart, to look into the hidden places of his goals and desires (Psalm 62:2). If we take the word of God seriously, we should be willing to peer into the dark recesses of our hearts and search out whether there be any jealousy, selfish ambition, or vanity.

In our social media use, is there any jealousy, selfish ambition, or vanity? I urge you, Christians, to consider it.

Lord, grant us eyes to see our sin and wisdom to hate it! Only God can “keep [us] from stumbling,” and we need His strength to avoid the “sin which so easily entangles” (Jude 24, Hebrews 12:1). Ask the Lord for help in this matter.

Help us desire Your glory above our own, Lord!

How can we as Christians use social media in a way that does not “conform to the pattern of this world” (Romans 12:2)? How can our platform online reflect not our own face but the face of Christ?

I think the answer might be different for each of us, but I do believe we should think twice before posting that awesome photo of our face (that we got after twenty rejected selfies). Think about what your motives are for posting the picture. Are they God glorifying or self-glorifying? What do we hope to achieve by posting this photo? Likes? Followers? Will attaining a certain number of likes make us feel more important, more beautiful, more worthy of attention?

If that is the case, don’t post! What in scripture would condone the heart that seeks praise for itself? Nothing! Instead, seek to foster praise for God with your social media account. Can that include pictures of you? Of course. But Christians on social media should aim to be a signpost, not the destination for the attention or the praise.

Soli Deo gloria!

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