Shall I use social media? Shall I get off Facebook? How can I get my child to stop spending so much time on social media?
This question has come up countless times in my interactions with people who desire to follow God. Some say FB is evil. The question really is: Does it have a hold over you and your life? Is it a servant to you or a master over you? Has it taken captive of you or have you taken captive of it?
God can use anything or everything. Just don't let anything use and control us and our live
God can use anything or everything. Just don't let anything use and control us and our lives."
I have no problems using social media for now because that is one of the ways I connect with many friends and kingdom folks all over the world. Having said that, there are so many better channels that I use to do that anyway.
With social media, I get onto it to post updates and sometimes keep in the loop of what is happening around the world. Sometimes it is interesting to read certain posts or articles, watch certain videos and sometimes just to touch base with others. But I usually blitz past most trivial stuff and don't hover around for hours on end.
I use it to update some friends about my life and ministry, and also to keep tabs with happenings in the life of my friends too. We all know the "friends" we have on FB are not by real definition "friends". Certainly, our friendship and relationships with others should go beyond social media. Social media certainly does not define who we are or who we should be at all.
As a follower of Christ, I use it for God's kingdom influence as much as I can and also for casual updates (it is not all that serious, it is about life and how our life reflects the Kingdom ways). As for me, social media is NOT my life and it will never be. That's simply because I do not post ALL of my life stories there and definitely not here on world wide web too. It will be pretty shallow of me if my life only consists of the things I do that are posted on social media.
IDENTITY. You can have a social identity but not know WHO you really are.
Who am I really? We are our thoughts, our emotions, our love, our being, our WHO, our whats, our ifs, our whens, our hows, our values, our intentions, our will etc.
The big question is DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE? Are you easily swayed, influenced by the latest fad, trend and happening? God is rock-solid and immovable in His character and in who He is. If you are a follower of Christ, is your WHO YOU ARE anchored in WHO HE IS?
Many young people (and old as well) enjoy social media and sometimes get lost in social media. As a follower of Christ, It is dangerous to not know your identity and be on the social platforms allowing it to shape your thinking and the decisions you make in life as well as the choices you act upon.
Trivial as social media might be, it is a powerful influence and platform if you use it rightly for the right causes, such as outcry against animal abuse, fight against human trafficking and other social injustices etc. Businesses and events companies also use that as an advertising platform to publicise their products, to garner sales and to promote their events. Many communities also form on FB and people from all walks of life become one as they share common interests like gardening, babies, pets etc. News, information and ideas are passed along through social media.
However useful a tool and platform it might be, many are very much swayed and influenced and end up spending countless hours on it and even fall into some form of addictive behaviour, obsession with games and stalking or trolling others . Because it is a public platform anyone can get on it, vices and evil can also thrive on it. Hence there is a certain age limit on users. However we all know young kids who get on it usually do not enter their correct age and use a fake age instead, and that leaves them vulnerable on the open platform.
The truth is there is so much happening on social media you cannot keep up. You will spend your whole life keeping up if you don't have a God-given purpose you are living for in life. There is so much KEEPING UP OF APPEARANCES on facebook, instagram, YouTube, and all the other social platforms, that one has to keep that up if you are a "social celebrity" of huge following, or of many "likes", or a "public figure" of some sort or if you desire to be one! It is pretty much like Hollywood stardom style competition out there.
Innate in us all is a desire to be "liked". In fact how Facebook, Instagram and all the social media platforms work and thrive is based on this very basic human need. This is the user behaviour psychology behind most recent designs of smart phones as well. Each swipe and scroll is meant to make you swipe and scroll more.
There are also studies and documentaries on how the algorithm of these platforms work in order to get you going back. Ever wondered what happens to you after you create a post? As any normal behaviour, you go back to check on how many likes you get. And it makes you keep going back on to check. All these is tracked and is factored into the algorithm of some of these platforms, and it affects how much and who your posts will appear to. It does not take a scholar to realise this. What this can create is "an addictive behaviour" - every time you go back in and you get more likes, dopamine (a type of neurotransmitter which you body makes) is released in your body.
Dopamine plays a big role in how we feel pleasure and "happiness". Dopamine affects mood, sleep, behaviour, drive, learning, motivation, heart rate and even kidney functions. Too much creates addictive behaviour similar to drug misuse and abuses. The lack of it causes many mental health disorders and issues like depression, ADHD etc as well as drug addiction, misuse and abuse. Any wonder now how easy it is for one to fall into the additive behaviour of social media usage and excessive smartphone usage?
Deep down within us as created by our creator is an innate desire for love and acceptance. Too much and things can get out of hand. Too little and it can create huge problems too. Alas, can facebook and instagram and online gaming and the things we derive pleasure from in this world etc fill our desires to be "liked" and satisfy our cravings for LOVE?
Do you know you are deeply LOVED by the one who has given His life for you and for your sins? While we were still in sin, God sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. (Rom 5:8) He became the substitute for us, and satisfied the judgment upon sin. He who knew no sin became sin for us.
May you encounter the love of God through Jesus. His love is like a mountain - unshakable and immovable. When you encounter the Love of God, He will wash away any rejections and fill you with such security. And to as many who would believe and receive Him, He gives us the right to become children of God (John 1:12). To the lonely, the despised, the dejected, the outcasts, regardless of our current status, He secure us in His great love as we are born again into the family of God and in His kingdom, through whom we as disciples are commanded to show and demonstrate God's love to one another and to those who have yet to know Him.
I AM. I AM is the biggest revelation to Moses by God in the burning bush when he was sent to the Israelites. Moses was a man whom God spoke to face to face as a "FRIEND". He said to him to tell the people he is going to speak to "Tell them I AM has sent you." (Exo 3:14). God's name is "I AM" - I AM WHO I AM is the Hebrew translation. He can be your closest friend and fill the emptiness of life and it's meaningless pursuit.
So if you are searching for the meaning of life, and why you exist, and who your "friends" really are, you could start with your Creator God who created you, who knows you and who understands you and why you were created. You can know Him for yourself and have a real relationship and real friendship with Him. And you can walk with Him to discover your life's purpose and find great fulfilment in being who you are and how you have been uniquely created!
O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
2 You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3 You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
4 You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
5 You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!
7 I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
8 If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave,[a] you are there.
9 If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night--
12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
17 How precious are your thoughts about me,[b] O God.
They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!
May you discover the love of God, grow deeper in it and forge a deep friendship you can have with Him beyond just the "friends" we have on our social platforms!