We welcomed our third child into our family five weeks ago and never has our home felt more full of life (and chaos)! With three little ones under four years old, my days are jam packed with nursing my baby, fixing lunch, giving baths, reading books, and generally keeping everyone safe, fed, clothed, and loved. With the quick pace of life, I crave a few minutes to just sit and relax. Understandable.
Yet, while I could be opening my Bible, sitting in the stillness of nap time to pray to my Heavenly Father, or even taking a nap myself, I have this terrible reflex to sit down, click on my phone, and see what’s on Instagram. Maybe this isn’t a terrible thing in and of itself because Instagram is really a wonderful way to stay connected with my friends and is sometimes my connection to the outside world on days where I am homebound with my little ones. I love sharing pictures of my life and seeing what everyone else is up to. Instagram is my social media of choice (though I love Pinterest too).
And, while Instagram and Pinterest are not necessarily bad things, it has been on my heart lately as something I should be wary of. In last Sunday’s sermon, Dave Cover preached on temptation from 1 Corinthians 10. As I listened to the sermon, I thought of my Instagram habit and became convicted by 1 Corinthians 10:12-14.
“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
While I think I am standing firm in my faith, reading my Bible, going to church, praying with my children, I am all the while tempted several times every single day to check in with social media. And as verse 12 says, this temptation can be common to mankind. I see so many of my friends struggling with this same “innocent” temptation.
Dave said, “Every temptation is a test in our faith of whether or not we will believe the promises of a faithful God are better and more satisfying and truer in our lives than the empty promises of our god copies, the empty promises of our sin.”
When I look at Instagram and Pinterest, I tend to disengage with the present reality. For example, many times when I sit down to nurse my precious 5-week-old son, I have my phone next to me and am scrolling rather than gazing at his face, praying for his faith, and enjoying this gift given to me from God.Sometimes, I am more interested in taking a picture of what my kids are doing so I can share it on Instagram rather than setting my phone down and just enjoying my kids. Social media tempts me to check out, disengage, compare myself to others, feel sorry for myself, puff myself up that I am doing better than other people, and a whole myriad of other sins that pull me away from a Faithful God.
So what is the answer? 1 Corinthians 10:13-14 says, “And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. Therefore my dear friends, flee from idolatry.” What is the way out? How do we flee? Does this mean we deactivate our Facebook and Twitter accounts? Trade in our smartphones and block social media sites on our computers?
Well, maybe. I have decided to deactivate my Facebook account for now and try to set limits for myself with other social media. Eschewing all social media is likely not the answer to fleeing this temptation. In many ways, I do believe social media can be used to glorify God. Consider: how can we share pictures, post articles, share pray requests, and proclaim God’s faithfulness using social media as a tool? Can we use it to encourage others with the hope of the Gospel instead of letting it use us and tempt us away from all God is for us in Christ?
Nikki Daniel wrote an excellent post that speaks to some of these issues at The Gospel Coalition called Facebook, Moms, and The Last Day. In it, she shares insight into the positives and negatives of social media, specifically in the lives of mothers. She shares an excellent quote from John Piper on this topic: “One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.”
Social media is a great temptation for today’s Christians allowing us to set our sights on media instead of God Himself. Allow God to shine light on this in your own life and reveal ways you can glorify Him, even in the social media realm.