It is 4:29p.m. and today I have glanced at my Instagram and Facebook accounts more than twenty times combined. Each visit normally requires that I spend about five minutes mindlessly looking into the lives of people that I do not know and will probably never have the opportunity to know.
That being said, in the six and a half hours I have been awake I have spent over an hour and a half of those minutes perusing the captivating yet mind-numbing applications that our society calls Social Media. If my math is correct – based on the patterns I’ve shown today – that means every year I am spending approximately one thousand, two hundred and thirteen hours on my my phone, not including texting and making phone calls. In whole, that is seven out of fifty two weeks spent on social media per year. How is it that for an average of five hours a day, I find myself running to this mischievous yet beautiful temptress?
How is it that for five hours every single day I will not let my mind reach the place of boredom? Am I fearful of what I may think in these times, or could this be an elaborate awakening that the root of my struggle is actually a lack of understanding and knowing where my identity as a man of the Word lies?
I recently heard a story about a friend of mine who was asked to take a three month sabbatical by the elders of his church. This meant that anything and everything that might have become a barrier to his relationship with the Lord had to be put on hold for the remainder of his time away. The purpose: to show him how many objects of affection took the place of Christ in his day to day life. Some of the many things he had to give up were his social media platforms, email, and phone.
He will tell you that the most influential feedback he received from his kids during this time was, “We are glad that daddy isn’t on his phone.” Whether we realize it or not, the amount of time we spend consumed with technology, work related or not, truly impacts the lives of the ones closest to us.
Tweet This: The time we spend consumed with technology truly impacts the lives of the ones closest to us. @asworship
As a single man looking towards a future of being married, I recognize my responsibility to lead my wife and children, and to fully invest my time and efforts in the teaching and influencing of their lives by way of the Word.
At a time in my life when I was listening to every thought that entered my mind I began to believe that I was not amounting to anything as a man of God. I convinced myself that I was not growing spiritually – and in some ways that was true.
Why? Because my biggest calling in being a biblical man is to be a man of the Word and I simply was not spending time in the Word. How could I be obedient to the call of leadership if I was never personally reading the book that gives life?
Tweet This: How can anyone be obedient to the Word if they never personally read the book that gives life? @asworship
How could I be obedient to leading a family one day if I spent the majority of my time looking wastefully on Social Media sites, yet I couldn’t find time to be in the Word myself?
We Find Our Identity In Christ, Through Reading His Word
I found myself looking up to theologians as men with power who had “God like attributes,” instead of looking towards God himself to find my identity. How wrong I was in my thinking. The only actions that separated these men from myself is that everyday they made it a discipline to be in the Word and to be seeking the Lord through prayer, allowing it to take effect in how they lived their lives. After many years of this discipline and practice the Lord used their knowledge and wisdom gained from the Word to allow them to teach younger generations. I want to be a man just like them, that has spent years on my knees seeking the Lord in times of frustration, sadness, happiness, and pain.
“The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your ancestors, if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” – Deuteronomy 30: 9-10
What concerns me about today’s social media craze is that we as a generation have dropped books and decided that we have been revealed a secret shortcut that will get us what we need faster.
Tweet This: Social media makes us think we’ve been revealed a shortcut that gets us what we need faster. It’s a lie. @asworship
At the click of a mouse we are able to find any information we need without investing time or effort into such matters that we are acquiring about. Beautifully written books have been turned into spark-noted summaries that frankly disrupt all the hard work these writers have invested into their novels. We rarely spend our time reading, but tend to replace it by quickly summarizing the key points of what we need to know and move on.
We have become a culture that has very little patience and in turn suffers because of our poor attention span. If we as biblical men and leaders don’t have the attention span to simply read a book anymore, then how are we supposed to invest time studying the Word of God? The answer is: we don’t. We typically live our lives listening to podcasts and saying short prayers thinking that we have done our “duty” as a christian for the day. Having that mindset will become one of the quickest ways to a failed marriage and sacrificing the full joy we can have in our call as biblical men.
Tweet This: Listening to podcasts and reading summaries of sermons can never replace reading the actual WORD of God. @asworship
We live in an age of narcissism. We are told that it is okay to put yourself before others. Although society says “yes”, we as biblical men should be saying “no”. Why? Because scripture tells us otherwise.
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” – Philippians 2:4-8
Instagram and Self-Glorification
I often had the thought that “People should want to know what I am doing, my life is great.” Again, what false thinking! If we dig deep and think hard about the reasoning for the creation of social media, its primary goal has become one of self-glorification:
“Look at what I am doing today.”
“Look where I went this past week.”
“Here’s how I feel about this political stance.”
Or even better, “Look at this awesome band I’m in. We are really trendy.”
You get the idea, but please hear me in saying I recognize this is not everyone’s struggle, simply something to check our hearts on. In my own life i’ll take Instagram for example. I would spend all day looking to take the “perfect picture.” I convinced myself that I was spending an exorbitant amount of time on this because I loved the “idea” of being classified as a good “photographer”, but BOY did it feel good to hear the glorification I received from others. I quickly realized I was not being satisfied and seemed to be having an identity crisis.
The Word Is Our Standard
Why was I so easily consumed by the opinions of others? The answer is pride, and lack of knowing my true identity as a biblical man of the Word. Men, as you read this, know this: the Word is our standard. Society is not. We hold Scripture to the highest authority because it is our command to do so. But, hopefully more than just our command, it should be our joy as we realize that it gives life. Our identity is not found in the approval of others, but in Christ, and in Christ alone.
Tweet This: Our identity is not found in the approval of others, but in Christ, and in Christ alone. @asworship “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” – Isaiah 64:8
My hope is that you are not hearing this from a tone of legalism; rather, that the Lord would convict you if you struggle in this area for your sanctification in this life.
Social Media is not the devil. It is not sinful. However, it can become sinful if it becomes a hindrance to the amount of time you are spending with the Lord.
Social Media isn’t the devil, but beware of it taking time and joy away from spending time in the Word. @asworship
Due to the dangers of narcissism that Social Media carries, we have to be begging the Lord that He would be glorified and we would make less of ourselves. He is, and we are not.
Tweet This: We have to constantly beg the Lord that He would be glorified and we would make less of ourselves. @asworship
If we continue to walk aimlessly in the desert and carry this narcissism into our relationships, friendships, and practices as artists it will become a recipe for disaster. Our call as biblical men is to serve others before we serve ourselves. If you lack leadership in your relationships, family, and time with the Lord, I would urge you, brothers, to take a rest from social media or to delete it all together.
Our life is too short; why would we want to take the risk in seeing our relationships crumble all for the sake of wanting other people to know what we are doing? If our only concern as men is to have others praise our work and lifestyle, we are ignoring the call to biblical manhood. Our identity and reason for all that we do is because the Lord is the potter and we are the clay. He allows us to be the work of his hands and as men of the Word we receive that and rely on that grace to lead others.