The Bible is remarkable because even though it was written millennia ago, it is as relevant to what we are going through today as the day it was written. The questions that Christians face now about social media still can be answered by God’s Word.
Social media is unique because it represents us in our totality, we can’t as easily compartmentalize different parts of ourselves online. In person, we may act a certain way with our boss or our grandmother, and a different way with friends from church, and still a different way with our co-workers. We use a different language, we talk about different things, we may even dress differently. Social media merges all of those different compartments of our lives into one public face and what we get is this kind of Frankenstein personality.
Don’t we see that too often? Frankenstein feeds with Bible verses right next to cursing rants. At one point we may have pretended we could compartmentalize those two parts of ourselves, but social media shows we can’t be different people at once. If we are going to be Christians, then we make Jesus Lord over all of us, all our personalities, whether we are with grandma or that friend from college.
So what does the Spirit through the Word have to say about how Christians are to live on social media. Here are 10 commandments for social media found in Scripture:
Commandment 1: Fear God.
Paul wrote: “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1) When we allow part our lives to fall outside of faithfulness, if we neglect to submit part of our lives to Jesus, it’s because we forget to hold God in the reverence He deserves.
Our God is all knowing. Long before social media He knew we had the temptation to hold back from Him. But He demands all of us. Every minute of every day He wants us to hand over to Him. So as we go online, we do it with a healthy and reverent fear and by doing so Paul says we can perfect holiness.
Commandment 2: Speak with wisdom.
Matthew 12:34 says, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” When we are in the church building or with our Christian friends, it’s easy to say the right things at the right time, but when our whole life is exposed like it is on social media, eventually whatever is in our heart will come out of our mouth. So rather than just trying to hold your tongue, work on your heart and let that be demonstrated on social media.
Commandment 3: Flee sexual immorality.
Jesus said, “everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28) We may think that just because it’s behind a screen it is harmless. It’s not. It’s sin. And so whether we are posting hoping for people to lust over us, or lusting over what we see on social media, the Bible says flee. Do whatever it takes to get away from it, even if that means you just have to shut the computer off.
Commandment 4: Chase after humility.
The sin that most often springs from social media is pride. But pride gets it reward right here and right now, and then it fades away. You’ll get a few likes on your post, but what are those worth. God though rewards the humble for eternity. 1 Peter 5:5 says, “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”
Commandment 5: Build others up.
That includes our friends, that includes that politician we REALLY don’t like, that includes the poor social media manager on other side of the screen of a brand or a store that gave us terrible customer service. Christians cannot tear people down, period. And especially with other Christians, we are called in 2 Corinthians 13:11, “to strive for full restoration and encourage one another.”
Commandment 6- Speak the truth.
Talking about the devil, Jesus says: He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44). That’s not the company that I want to keep. As Christians, we must be diligent about telling the truth. We should be diligent about admitting when we get something wrong and we must not feed into lies, mistruths, or half-truths. We should be frank and honest about everything.
Commandment 7: Guard your heart.
Yes, guard your heart from things like sexual immorality, lying and pride, but also from something deeper that social media is great at sowing in your heart: worry. Paul writes in Philippians 4:7, “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Don’t let worry overtake you, but let the peace of God that surpasses understanding guard your heart and mind.
Commandment 8: Renew your mind.
Every day that you open up your phone, maybe it’s before you even get out of bed, remember that what you see on there can’t define your life. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Imagine what would happen if we spent the same amount of time that we do in God’s Word as we do scrolling on social media. (Or maybe we could do both at the same time with something like Rooted Daily, just saying…)
Commandment 9: Redeem the time.
“Look carefully then 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) Make the most of every opportunity that God lays out in front of you. If you feel like you’re just wasting time on social media, log off. God gives each of us so much time and He won’t give us anymore, so make the most of it!
Commandment 10: Love your neighbor as yourself.
The law said it. James said it. Paul said it. Jesus said it. Love sums up everything that God is about. So with every click you make and every word you type, ask: is this how I would want to be loved by others?
Just like every area of our life, when we are on social media, Jesus is still our Lord. Let’s act like it.