Social (ME)dia is “All about that LIKE”! People post status updates and photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter returning often to see how many people “liked” or commented on the post. Especially for teenagers, in a “peer pressured” world, the desire to be “liked” is highlighted all the more. Social media has become Social (ME)dia!
Probably my favorite story in the Bible is the Prodigal Son (Luke 15). Remember the story. This is the part I want to concentrate on this morning.
“Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends.” – Luke 15:25-30 (ESV)
Now imagine for a moment how that story might have taken place in the 21st Century. Imagine the younger brother, his friends, and his relatives posting updates and pictures on social media about this amazing party with the hashtag – #LostButFound. Now, imagine the only one not enjoying the biggest party this village has seen in years. The older brother is around the corner at the local Starbucks, stewing over a $4 latte looking at all the pictures and comments. His younger brother is receiving all this attention. The town has gone overboard in celebrating the return of this wasteful younger brother. Then, the rage of envy and jealousy overwhelms this older brother as he takes to social media – “My younger brother finally decided to come home, dad threw a party. Are you kidding me? Seriously. I’ve never had a party! #Where’sMyGoat!
Yes, I have taken creative liberty with an old story, but it’s all too real for the social media generation today. Please “Like” Me! Our self-worth can easily be caught up in how many friends, followers, likes, comments, and shares we receive on our posts. We become envious, jealous, and prideful about what we see on social media. Its true, social media has changed the game! Too often, we see the superficial world created by these social media platforms and fall prey to envy, jealousy, and pride trying to one up each other in the attempt to receive some sort of emotional high from the online attention in the form of a “like”. The “PLEASE LIKE ME” world of social media is poisonous to our soul.
I recently heard another preacher say, “I wonder if social media has become like a mirror.”1 Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all, but today it goes something like this:
Facebook Facebook tell me how I should really look.
Instagram Instagram tell me who I really am.
Snapchat, Snapchat tell me if I look fat.
Twitter, Twitter, I’ll let you define my character.
Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Quit looking to social media to define you. Quit looking at others to define you. Quit looking to the world to define you. Look to Jesus who will supply every need of yours.
Social Media can suck you into a superficial world (me-world) or social media can be used as a supernatural tool! (we-world). We have an awesome opportunity to use social media to reach people everyday for Jesus. We have a responsibility as Christians to use the resources around us to impact this world for God.
Romans 6:13 reminds us, “Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.”
Let’s discover the “WE” in the “ME” of Social Media:
4 Ways to use Social Media to Glorify God
1. Post who you really are
Do our posts reflect a “like” (love for God)?
Do our posts reflect our beliefs/values?
Do our posts glorify God?
2. Encourage others
Do our posts build up or tear down?
Do our posts make peace or war?
Do our posts “love one another”?
3. Teach others
Do our posts share what we are learning about God?
Do our posts invite others to learn about God?
Do our posts bring people closer to God?
4. Fast from Technology
How do you spend your time on Social Media?
Are you addicted?
Fast from it for a period of time (daily, weekly)
Social Media can become a place consumed in a “PLEASE LIKE ME!” World. Listen, God doesn’t just LIKE you God LOVES you! But if all you’re doing is counting your “LIKES” on Social Media, you might be missing out on the LOVE of Jesus Christ! Don’t miss the party! Amen.
1. Robert Madu, Catalyst 2014 Speaker