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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Bible in a Social Media World





What did we ever do before Facebook? It’s fascinating just what a role social media has in our lives today—tweeting, status updates, blogs we follow; even the long lost friends we’re suddenly back in contact with. Christians use it for fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism purposes.


Yet, at what point does it takeover? At what point does it begin to usurp God and become part of Satan’s grand plan to dilute our worship, growth, and usefulness for God’s purposes?


Well, we could start with the Bible.


Does the Bible run second to Facebook or Twitter from a personal discipleship viewpoint? We ought to believe that being Christian is being a Bible-believing or Bible-reading Christian—there is no other sort.


We could continue by seeing how far social media takes us away from our families and contact with real people in a face-to-face sort of way. Do we prioritise a rectangular screen and a keyboard over the needs of others in our midst that rely on us?


If we agree that Facebook and Twitter and the like are good, we, imperfect human beings, will take those aspects of the good and warp them if our desires aren’t reined in.


Steps to Bible-First Christianity in a Social Media World


What are some ways that can help us re-centre on the Bible first?


First of all, we can commit to some Bible reading plan—a discipline whereby we commit to God that the Bible will come first, before our time on social media.


Next we could ensure we spend some time in prayer and quiet consolation, contemplating the day ahead, that’s in progress, or just gone—choosing to gain bearing and perspective from our Lord who is uniquely interested in our journey. It may surprise us to discover afresh—not everyone we socialise with on social media sites is that interested in us, personally. It’s a poorer form of fellowship.


God-fellowship will always be superior. This is because God speaks in amplified ways through and into our spirits when we venture, personally, with him—without others. Nobody grows spiritually without some alone-time with God.


If we find we are glued to the computer screen, magnetised to updates as they come in, or anxious to post or assimilate certain posts—and we find we spend more than two hours a day on our preferred social media—we might consider limiting our time to one full hour or two half-hour blocks.


***


The social media revolution has many good things about it. But it can significantly detract from the spiritual life. Bible-believing Christians (are there any other kind?) ought to reflect, often, on the competing forces that dissuade them from the Bible so as to be edified by other means—the Bible must come first.


© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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