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Social Media: How it Affects us (Truth)

Social Media affects everything. It is everywhere in our world:

  • at home,
  • at the store,
  • at school,
  • at restaurants,
  • at work, and
  • in our pockets.

Social media is with us and around us all the time. The truth is…IT IS AFFECTING US! But how? The social media gurus want us to think that social media is strictly positive, and great for everyone and everything. They want us to think that social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and texting) are all about building relationships and passing on information.

But is social media really causing us to relate more and give good information? If we are honest with ourselves, I think we can all say we have at least once felt, that while we are overly connected by social media, there is still an underlying feeling of being alone, depressed, and disconnected. In light of this reality, we are in the middle of a five-week study here at Preacher on the Run to examine  how social media affects us. We are looking at five areas in which social media affects our views: relationships, words, time, self, and truth. Today we continue with Social Media: How it affects our view of truth.

JonahPsalm 119 is the largest chapter in the Bible. It is almost exactly in the middle of the Bible. And this entire chapter is all about one thing–the truth of God’s Word. Do you think it a coincidence that the longest, most in-depth chapter of the entire Bible is all about God’s Word? – I don’t think so! In writing classes and classes where you learn the methodology of writing, you learn a rule called the principle of proportion. This principle tells you that the more space a subject takes up in writing the more important it is. So when we come to Psalm 119 we have to at least recognize that God spent the longest chapter to tell us about the value, and, more importantly, the truth of His Word.

But what is truth today’s world? It’s relative, and social media just magnifies that. When you write something, anyone can disagree. When you disagree with them, people stop listening simply because “that may be true for you but not for me”. But there is another issue that social media affects with regard to truth and that is the mystical nature of truth. According to our culture, truth comes from within us and we can, individually, and as a community come up with and come to truth on our own. The world would tell us, and often times even those in the church, would tell us that truth comes from within us. It is mystical, not logical. So the question is: Is truth constructed by us or does it exist outside of us?

Let me give you an example. How does Wikipedia come up with all its information? People from around the globe can just add to it whatever they want to add whenever they want to add it. Now, I must admit that in the past few years Wikipedia has gotten better at requiring people to cite sources, but Wikipedia still operates by having people add seemingly absolute truths to entries and expects people to believe them. But don’t Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., do the same? People put a quote up and just because you know them you are expected to accept their truth or their statement. But on what basis, or what authority? The issue at hand is: does truth exist within us or outside of us?

Hebrews 1:1-2 says, “At many times, in many ways, God spoke to our fathers, but in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son”. God spoke from outside of us. The truth He proclaims comes from outside of us and is found in His Word (through prophets) and His Son (Jesus Christ). Peter goes on to tell us in 2 Peter 1:16-21 that “We did not follow myths, but we were eyewitnesses, we ourselves heard this very voice, and we were with him, and we have something more sure (truthful, secure than that experience) the prophetic word, knowing that no prophecy comes from man, but from God” (paraphrase mine). The experience Peter and disciples had is only superseded by the prophetic Word left by the prophets and apostles. God’s Word is greater than the experience. It is more trustworthy and of greater value. It came from outside of man (John 8:32). It is the truth that sets us free and in John 17:17 Jesus tells us what that truth is. He says, “Sanctify them in your truth, your Word is truth.”

you-cant-handle-the-truth-meme-generator-you-want-the-truth-you-can-t-handle-the-truth-9789ddGod’s Word trustworthily and accurately records the life, death, burial, resurrection, and teaching of Jesus Christ. And it is through that record that we will and can be sanctified (grown to be like Christ). Social media, unless it is founded upon and from God’s Word, cannot give you the truth. We must look to God and His Word alone to understand our sinfulness and need of salvation in and through Jesus Christ alone.

As I argued from the beginning, social media affects everything. And one of the major areas of our lives and thinking it affects is our view of truth. Social media operates on the belief that truth comes from within us and is not external to us. But God communicates to us over and over again that the only absolute truth is found in His Word. Stop by next week where we will wrap up the Social Media series by discussing what options we have based on what we have covered the past several weeks. In case you missed it Social Media: How it affects us (Relationships) or Social Media: How it affects us (Words)  or Social Media: How it affects us (Time) or Social Media: how it affects us (Self), you can find them here.

Social Media: How it Affects us (Self)

Social Media affects everything. It is everywhere in our world:

  • at home,
  • at the store,
  • at school,
  • at restaurants,
  • at work, and
  • in our pockets.

Social media is with us and around us all the time. The truth is…IT IS AFFECTING US! But how? The social media gurus want us to think that social media is strictly positive, and great for everyone and everything. They want us to think that social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and texting) are all about building relationships and passing on information.

But is social media really causing us to relate more and give good information? If we are honest with ourselves, I think we can all say we have at least once felt, that while we are overly connected by social media, there is still an underlying feeling of being alone, depressed, and unconnected. In light of this reality, we are in the middle of a five week study here at Preacherontherun to examine  how social media affects us. We are looking at five areas in which social media affects our views: relationships, words, time, self, and truth. Today we continue with Social Media: How it affects our view of ourselves.

We all want to have lots of friends on Facebook. We want to have followers on Twitter. All of these things are not bad in and of themselves, but these desires and the social media is all built upon building our little kingdom. Our kingdom of self, being great. But Jesus had another idea of kingdom and whose we should pursue first and foremost (Matthew 23:11-12). Jesus said that the one who humbles himself, does not exalt and brag on how great he is or all she has done and is doing, is the one who will be exalted by Him. However, the one who exalts and talks of herself and brags on himself will be the one humbled. Social media is built on the idea of exalting yourself.

1738669211_1396676400Think about the posts that get the most attention on Facebook and Twitter: things about yourself, something stupid someone did, a quote about how awesome the person is, etc. There are over 300 Million search results on Google when asked about how to get attention on Twitter, Instagram, or FacebookFor instance, take the “selfie”. Defined as –  a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website, these were all the rage in 2013. So much so that Oxford dictionary made it the word of the year. The truth is the term “selfie” would be almost obsolete or at least a lot less used and utilized if social media did not endorse and encourage the idea of self and the world being about each individual who uses Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

What do we look for every time we post a picture, status, or video? We want likes, retweets, comments, and reposts. We want our social media to be about us. We want people to like us. We want people to follow us! But Solomon had a 140 character or less tweet of his own: “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips” (Proverbs 27:2). God is saying through Solomon here, don’t look for your own praise. Don’t do things, say things, just to get other people to praise you or bring attention to yourself. Why? – “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). The reason God tells us not to seek our own praise is because it fuels pride. And pride only precedes a fall. Think of Adam & Eve, think of Satan, think of Tower of Babel, think of King Nebuchadnezzar and we could keep going. When man has tried to seek his own glory, repeatedly every time, God tells us it turns out for the worst.

So what should we do instead? How do we avoid the pride here? Take the wisdom and advice of Isaiah 66:2,
Jonah“But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” Humble yourself before God. Don’t make life all about you. But instead tremble, fear, and revere God’s Word! Trust Him and make much of Him not yourself. You can even use social media to make much of God and keep focused on His Word!

As I argued from the beginning, social media affects everything. And one of the major areas of our lives and thinking it affects is our view of ourselves. Social media wants us to build our kingdom, make our name know, for our glory. But God has designed us and created us to bring Him glory not ourselves (1 Corinthians 10:31). So how can you use social media to make much of God? How can you use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to glorify God rather than yourself? Stop by next week where we will discuss how Social Media affects our view on truth. In case you missed it Social Media: How it affects us (Relationships) or Social Media: How it affects us (Words)  or Social Media: How it affects us (Time) you can find them here.

 

Social Media: How it affects us (Time)

Social Media affects everything. It is everywhere in our world:

  • at home,
  • at the store,
  • at school,
  • at restaurants,
  • at work, and
  • in our pockets.

Social media is with us and around us all the time. The truth is…IT IS AFFECTING US! But how? The social media gurus want us to think that social media is strictly positive, and great for everyone and everything. They want us to think that social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and texting) are all about building relationships and passing on information.

But is social media really causing us to relate more and give good information? If we are honest with ourselves, I think we can all say we have at least once felt, that while we are overly connected by social media, there is still an underlying feeling of being alone, depressed, and unconnected. In light of this reality, we are in the middle of a five week study here at Preacherontherun to examine  how social media affects us. We are looking at five areas in which social media affects our views: relationships, words, time, self, and truth. Today we continue with Social Media: How it affects our view of Time.

WhatTimeIsItTime is money. So the saying goes. But if that is true, then what are we buying or what are we saving up? We are told in Ephesians 5:15-16 to “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Paul warns us here that we have a responsibility to be careful how we walk. The walk Paul is referring to is not how we put one foot in front of the other, but rather our lifestyle and how we choose to spend our time. Yes, how we CHOOSE to spend it. He goes on to challenge us to make the best use of the time…THE BEST USE! But how much of social media is causing us to make the BEST USE of time? The reality is social media almost always costs us valuable time we should be spending or should have spent elsewhere. It is as if we get in a time warp, let me give you an example.

1) I get on with intentions of writing someone happy birthday or responding to a message. 2) I end up scrolling through the first so many lines of updates, etc. 3) I see a great photo, quote, or post by someone. 4) I click into the post, whether it be a 3 minute long YouTube video, or photos that take me 5 minutes to get through them all. 5) I close that post and continue scrolling. 6) 10 minutes later I finally scroll back to the top, only now forgetting what I originally got on to do, or who I was originally intending to message. 7) I scroll through the feed one more time to help jog my memory (my way of justifying it). 8) I finally remember who I was messaging, message them, and return to the homepage. 9) One of their pictures/status’ catch my attention and I look through their wall. 10) They have a 4 minute video, so I watch it. 11) I see a link by that video that leads me to another article to read. 12) Finally 30 minutes or more later I realize I just spent a ½ hour to do what really would have taken me 2 minutes. Am I the only one whose social media experience is like this? Statistics tell me otherwise. 

Needless to say, that is also not making THE BEST USE OF THE TIME, as Paul and God calls us to be doing. But there is a larger problem here. Most of social media is just entertainment, keeping up on others statuses or the newest gossip. There is very little (unless we are intentional about it) productivity going on in the social media worlds of YouTube, Facebook, twitter, etc. Which leads to what Solomon warned against in Proverbs 24:30-34. Solomon warns us that laziness and unproductivity brings poverty. Now I am not saying there is no place for entertainment and some social media, but what takes up the majority of our time? – golgotha-01Are we watching more TV, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter accounts, than we are productively growing in Christ likeness (Psalm 1:1-2) and glorifying God (1 Corinthians 10:31-33). Our ultimate goal and all areas of life, including social media, should be used timely to glorify God and spread the gospel whereby people come to know Christ as Savior.

As I argued from the beginning, social media affects everything. And one of the major areas of our lives and thinking it affects is our time. Social media has changed the way we utilize time. But the final question must be: are we utilizing our social media to the “best use of the time”? Stop by next week where we will discuss how Social Media affects our view on self. In case you missed it Social Media: How it affects us (Relationships) or Social Media: How it affects us (Words) you can find them here.

Social Media: How it affects us (Words)

Social Media affects everything. It is everywhere in our world:

  • at home,
  • at the store,
  • at school,
  • at restaurants,
  • at work, and
  • in our pockets.

Social media is with us and around us all the time. The truth is…IT IS AFFECTING US! But how? The social media gurus want us to think that social media is strictly positive, and great for everyone and everything. They want us to think that social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and texting) are all about building relationships and passing on information.

But is social media really causing us to relate more and give good information? If we are honest with ourselves, I think we can all say we have at least once felt, that while we are overly connected by social media, there is still an underlying feeling of being alone, depressed, and unconnected. In light of this reality, we are in the middle of a five week study here at Preacherontherun to examine  how social media affects us. We are looking at five areas in which social media affects our views: relationships, words, time, self, and truth. Today we continue with Social Media: How it affects our view of Words.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but…WORDS will never hurt me.” We have all sung that song or had it told to us when we were upset or hurt because of something someone said. Unfortunately, the truth that song purports really isn’t truth…it is a lie! Words can/do hurt and they have great power. James 3:5-10 tells us that the tongue is “small yet it boasts of great things” and that it is “a fire, a world of unrighteousness…staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of the life…” Those are some powerful words. These verses and many others throughout Proverbs reveal the truth about and power of the tongue.

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In real life when we are face to face with people, we will rarely say pointed or harsh truths without padding them with some sort of love, affection, and encouragement. However, when we get on social media, it seems as if the rules no longer apply. One example of this is the Seattle Seahawk’s cornerback, Richard Sherman’s, interview after the Seahawks won in the NFC championship game. Sherman essentially smash talked a receiver from the 49ers and inevitably made some remarks that he later regretted. The worse part is, that he was on live TV as well as being recorded all over the world. So within minutes the clip was on Youtube, and what Sherman said could not be taken back. It was out there for all to see because of social media. He could not retract it, edit it, or delete it, because others had the video in their hands; so all he could do was watch and apologize later. That is just one of many examples of how social media affects our view of words. People can lose their job over something they post on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. Worse yet, people can and have been sued because of what they put on Facebook and Twitter. But our world does not like that. The social media sites want us to think that what we put there is our property and no one can do anything about it. But it is public and therefore we are to be held accountable for it.

As believers God holds us to high standards in our speech and words. Ephesians 4:29 states, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear”. Why do we think that this command from God does not apply to social media?

But some people with social media will say, “It’s not against the law to speak my mind and let my thoughts be known”. This is true, but listen to what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:23-24, “All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor”. Is that the attitude we have when we post on Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube?

gavel2This is not merely a matter of preference or even respect, but of understanding where we will be standing one day! “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Matthew 12:36). Every word they speak! And God said that His written Bible is His word. So He will hold us to the same standard. Our writing is synonymous with our speaking.

As I argued from the beginning, social media affects everything. And one of the major areas of our lives and thinking it affects is our words. Social media has changed the way we speak with and about one another. But the final question must be: are we utilizing our social media to build up others and proclaim Jesus Christ or just to get our opinion out there? Stop by next week where we will discuss how Social Media affects our view on time. In case you missed it Social Media: How it affects us (Relationships) you can find it here.

Social Media: How it affects us (Relationships)

Social Media affects everything. It is everywhere in our world:

  • at home,
  • at the store,
  • at school,
  • at restaurants,
  • at work, and
  • in our pockets.

Social media is with us and around us all the time. The truth is…IT IS AFFECTING US! But how? The social media gurus want us to think that social media is strictly positive, and great for everyone and everything. They want us to think that social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and texting) are all about building relationships and passing on information.

But is social media really causing us to relate more and give good information? If we are honest with ourselves, I think we can all say we have at least once felt, that while we are overly connected by social media, there is still an underlying feeling of being alone, depressed, and unconnected. In light of this reality, we will take the next 5 weeks here at Preacherontherun to examine  how social media affects us. We will look at 5 areas in which social media affects our views: relationships, words, time, self, and truth. Today we start with Social Media: How it affects our view of Relationships.

Genesis 1:26-28 says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth’.” From the very beginning of creation, God made us to be relational beings. It is a reflection of Him. Take for example the pronoun God uses in verse 26–“us”. God always exists in relationship (the doctrine of the trinity) and man is made in God’s image. So the need for relationship is naturally within our fibers as human beings. We are made to be in relationships.

Social media is based on this reality. And Social media is all about relationships, right? – I mean we have friends, followers, fans, and groupies. Everything we do on social media is about relationships. Whether it is having a friend on Facebook, a follower on Twitter, or a co-worker on LinkedIn; the social media world claims to be all about relationships. But we must understand what a relationship is.

merriam20webster20dictionary“Relationship” defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary is “the way in which two or more people, groups, countries, etc., talk to, behave toward, and deal with each other”. According to that definition social media is all about relationships. But how does social media affect our relationships? Or better yet what type of relationships are those social media relationships? Let me give you an illustration from my own life.

I was sitting at home with my wife, Bethany, one Sunday night and she wanted to listen to an audiobook together to relax. So what do I do? Naturally, what anyone would do who was not into the audiobook, but still wanting the relationship time with Bethany – I picked up my iPad and got on Facebook and ESPN! However, later that night Bethany expressed to me that it made her somewhat upset, because although I was there and “relating” with her, I really was not there and relating with her at the same time.

This is just a small illustration of the larger problem of how social media affects our relationships. If someone is talking to you and you are in a deep conversation and then a third person comes up and just butts right in talking about something of no value (say pokemon) how would you respond? – You may be upset at that person, as if they are devaluing and hurting the relationship you had with the person with which you were talking. But how often do we do that with our cell phones and social media? – In the middle of a conversation, our phone buzzes, beeps, rings, or chimes and what do we do? Look away from the person we are talking with because of a simple buzz, beep, ring, or chime. We devalue the current relationship because of the virtual relationship with someone not even in the room.

The problem with these virtual relationships comes back to Genesis. God told us in Genesis 2:18 that it is not good that man be alone. It was not good that Adam be alone. God was giving Adam and Eve both a partner, a real live relationship. God gave each of them a real life person to cling to so that they may grow and work together. And God has given us the same type of relationships. The first of which is the family (Genesis 2:24). God has placed us in families to have foundational relationship, but also to learn how to relate well. The second relationship God has given us is the church (Romans 12:10, 16). God has given us other believers to live in harmony together…to relate with one another.

prayercircleGod designed us to be in these relationships, but social media fools us to think we are in these when we are not. Think about where you do most of your “relating” on social media – alone, in your bedroom, bathroom, car, etc. The times you are on your phone or computer relating with others, is actually time you are away from others on your own!

As I argued from the beginning, social media affects everything. And one of the major areas of our lives and thinking it affects is in our relationships. Social media has changed the way we relate as well as which relationships we value most. But above all the final question must be: are we utilizing our social media to build relationships with people to share Jesus Christ or just fill our need to feel like we are relating?

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