Authentic: Being Real on Social Media

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:21 (ESV)

Playing the part is an easy thing to do. Day after day after day, keeping yourself in front of other people displaying a certain look, sharing the right photograph, and portraying the exact persona you want to. Its social media. 

Social media – especially for Believers – can be a polarizing topic and at times can be difficult for youth leaders, parents of students, and church staff to navigate. 

Our goal as Believers is to communicate the Gospel to a lost and dying world. While social media can be a tool for us to accomplish this goal, it is far too easy for us to utilize social media in a way that is not God-glorifying. On that note, our Gospel authenticity can be hindered or amplified by our use of social media. 

For students – it is even more difficult to utilize social media in a God-honoring way. This was the main discussion of the second week in our Authentic Midweek series. How can we glorify God and display Gospel authenticity in how we use social media?

The overarching answer comes from Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 

If our “treasure,” (meaning what is championed in our heart) in this case is the satisfaction we receive from positive social media feedback, our heart will follow and continuously seek this satisfaction.  This means if we seek after social media praise – our hearts will crave social media praise. But, likewise, if we seek after Christ Jesus – our hearts will crave more of Christ Jesus. 

In short, our hearts should not treasure the positive reinforcement we receive from our Facebook page or from our Instagram post – but it should treasure the love Christ Jesus has for us and the responsibility He has given us to share the Gospel. 

This week, it was important that while spending time talking about authenticity in social media, that we give students practical tips for how to honor God with their social media use. That being said – this doesn’t just apply to students, but to any Believer seeking after the Kingdom first. Our authenticity in our faith should impact how we use social media.

Our Gospel authenticity should impact the way we speak on social media. 

“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” -Proverbs 18:2

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” -James 1:19

For students (and us as well), we can say whatever we want by tapping our fingers against a screen a few times. That doesn’t change the fact that sometimes – we just shouldn’t! At times, it might seem like the right thing to do to express our opinion about something to others. But Paul writes in 1 Corinthians that while things may be allowed, it might not be beneficial. Is engaging in certain argumentative conversations going to be fruitful for building one another up? This doesn’t just go for social media arguments, but for conversation in general! We must decide if we are honoring God with our words before pressing send.  

Our Gospel authenticity should change the amount of time we spend on social media.

“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.” -Colossians 4:5

“Look carefully at how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” -Ephesians 5:15-16

Social media is an element of life that can quickly become an idol and we might not even realize it. The more time we spend mindlessly scrolling through TikTok or Instagram, the more we simply aren’t making the absolute best use of our time. Like Paul writes in Ephesians, we must be wise in how we spend our time and how we walk with the Lord – because those who don’t believe are watching us. They can see whether or not we are truly living differently. If we seek authenticity in our walk with the Lord – then we should be seeking His Word and not the latest TikTok trends. 

Our Gospel authenticity should affect what we post on social media.

“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” -Luke 6:45

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” -Colossians 4:6

One of the most common aspects of social media today is sharing others’ posts. This is often a meme, video, or photo. More often than not, the post being shared is someone else’s words or thoughts, that you happen to agree with. It is incredibly easy for us to share a post, meme, or video filled with vulgar content and shrug it off because we weren’t the ones to originally post it. We must understand as Believers that just because we weren’t the ones to originally say it doesn’t mean we aren’t sharing it out of the abundance of our hearts. We must let the Gospel impact what we share.

The reality is people who are not Christ-followers watch and see what we post. What we post as Christians can mold their view of Christianity from a distance. Jesus Himself notes that what is spoken, which for us can be extended to what we post, is out of the abundance of the heart! If what we speak (which we referenced earlier) and what we post on social media is what is truly in our hearts, may the words that come out of our mouths and may the posts we press send on be seasoned with salt! May grace abound, and not the darkness of our sin. 

Our Gospel authenticity should guide what we view on social media. 

“Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.” -Psalm 119:37

“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” -Ephesians 5:4

This is one of the hardest parts of social media – controlling what we see. In the age of numerous unsolicited advertisements and algorithms – it is getting harder and harder to control what arrives on the screen before our eyes. But that shouldn’t stop us from taking the steps we need to avoid taking in sin through social media. This may include unfollowing or removing accounts that are causing you to stumble. If simply removing accounts doesn’t help the situation, it is time to delete the app and seek accountability. 

Gospel authenticity in our social media use is hard enough for us adults, let alone our students. We must model this as Christians so that the children and teenagers who look up to us can see the Gospel being lived out in every part of our lives. May we treasure being faithful in all areas of our walk with the Lord and not the glory that comes with Facebook likes. 

Instead of spending time scrolling endlessly, may we live with thanksgiving being endless in our hearts. Scripture calls us to speak boldly, not for our sports team, not for our opinion, and not for the latest TikTok trend, but for the Gospel of Christ Jesus. Our social media interactions should reflect a life that has been transformed by the Gospel and is seeking to live authentically for His glory.

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