Social media has become one of the most popular and widely used tools for communication and networking.
We have seen a tremendous shift from traditional social norms to virtual ones, with people spending more time connected online than ever before.
😲According to data from Statista, as of January 2023, there were 5.16 billion internet users. Out of that number, 4.76 billion were active social media users worldwide. This equates to 59.4% of the world’s population!🤯
This type of widespread access to the internet has created a new form of digital addiction and can lead to numerous spiritual dangers if not properly monitored.
When we talk about spiritual dangers on social media, it is crucial to understand that it isn’t limited just to religious content or topics…
Anything posted online can potentially be damaging if it goes against God’s values and teachings. This includes gossip, slander, envy, pride, idolatry, and other forms of sin that can be amplified online due to its wide reach.
Ready? Let’s go!
My recent sabbatical
Okay, let me be honest: I’m perpetually on a Social Media Sabbatical, LOL…
I recently took a Sabbatical from all my social media accounts, save for Pinterest (is this really social media? LOL, it’s so positive!) and YouTube (which I need to watch sermons).
This break allowed me to focus more on my ministry and prayerful reflection.
In addition to this newfound peace of mind, I also noticed an increased sense of joy as I spent more time in the Word of God and worshipped Him with more intention.
I found myself grateful for the moments I was able to be alone with God and listen to His voice rather than being distracted by other people’s voices, opinions, or agendas.
The spiritual benefits of a break from social media are undeniable. Not only does it provide us with an opportunity for self-reflection and prayerful meditation, but it also enables us to appreciate better the gifts that come with being a follower of Christ instead of allowing our faith to become diluted by worldly views and desires.
Let’s do an audit…. (super important)
It’s true that the dangers of social media can seem obvious, and you may indeed feel as though this isn’t imporant…so I implore you to hear me out. ❤️
I encourage you to do a personal audit on how you use social media. Do the self-audit as an exercise in self-reflection.
We all know that these dangers of social media aren’t limited to unbelievers. Many Christian influencers can be found engaging in petty arguments online or exhibiting passive aggressiveness and ill will toward others.😭
So as you read this, take a pause and consider how your use of social media conforms (or doesn’t) to the teaching of Christianity.
- Are you using social media to build relationships with others or tear them down?
- Are your posts uplifting and encouraging, or do they spread negativity and hatred?
Social media can be a powerful tool for spreading the good news about our faith and bringing people together.
But if we are not careful, it can also be used to cause division and hostility.
So again, take a moment to do an honest audit of your own use of social media, and ask yourself how you can use this platform for the glory of God.
This is important because Jesus said that “by our words we will be justified or condemned” (Matthew 12:37).
We are responsible for what we post and how it affects those around us.
Let us use social media as a means of spreading love, kindness, and grace to a world that is desperately in need of it.
Here are 12 spiritual dangers of social media that we should all keep in mind when engaging online:
Proverbs 11:13 warns us against spreading gossip as it only brings harm to others and ourselves.
We all know the dangers of participating in gossip, whether it’s by text or in person, but it can be even more damaging when spread through social media.
When you share a piece of gossip online, there is no telling how far-reaching that information can become and how many people can potentially hear about it.
The potential for damage is much greater with one post on Facebook or Twitter than with an intimate conversation between two individuals in person.
Additionally, there are also legal consequences to consider if the content posted online is false or slanderous, making this behavior even more serious on social media platforms than elsewhere.
Proverbs 16:18 tells us that pride goes before destruction, meaning it is important to stay humble on social media and not let the praises of others bring about feelings of superiority or self-importance.
In this digital age, likes and comments are a form of validation, especially for younger generations who grew up in an era where social media was prevalent.
It can be difficult to resist the urge to post things just to receive praise from your followers, but we must remember the dangers of yielding too much importance to our online presence instead of God’s opinion.
Moreover, when scrolling through our newsfeeds, it can be easy to fall into the trap of comparison with other people’s seemingly perfect lives, leading us to become proud of our accomplishments or resentful that others are achieving more success than we are.
Matthew 7:1 instructs us not to judge our neighbor but rather leave judgment in God’s hands.
It can be challenging to remember this when reading comments online from other users or engaging in debates over controversial topics.
It is important to remember that we cannot know the motivations behind someone else’s actions just by observing them on social media.
So, it is best to stay humble and approach conversations with respect and understanding even if we disagree with a person’s views or views opinions.
4. Slander & Accusation
Exodus 20:16 warns us against bearing false witness and slandering our neighbor.
This is especially important to keep in mind when using social media, as it can be easy to attack someone’s character without having the full story or facts.
Some people create pseudo-accounts to troll and create false narratives and this is absolutely awful!
We should also be mindful of making accusations against a person, business, or organization online without verifying the information first. This could hurt their reputation and sow discord between people or groups.
5. Vanity & Self-centeredness
Proverbs 31:30 reminds us that beauty is fleeting and vanity is empty.
Social media has become a platform for many users to gain recognition.
Still, if we are too focused on how others perceive us and our need for validation from them, we can easily fall into the vanity trap.
Additionally, spending excessive amounts of time online can lead us to become more self-centered as we prioritize our needs and desires over those around us.
Colossians 3:5 tells us that idolatry should have no place in a Christian’s heart or life.
It specifies idolatry as: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed.
Social media platforms can easily become idols to us if we spend too much time on them or compare ourselves and our lives to others based on what we observe on these outlets.
Additionally, there is a huge amount of celebrity worship on social media, with fans obsessing over their favorite stars’ activities and appearances instead of seeking God first in their lives.
7. Misuse of Time & Resources
Ephesians 5:15-16 cautions us to use our time wisely, as we do not know how long we have in this life.
Spending too much time online can waste both our energy and resources, as it is easy to become distracted by the endless stream of content on social media outlets.
Instead, using our valuable assets for activities that will bring glory to God and benefit ourselves or others around us would be more beneficial.
8. Unhealthy Relationships
1 Corinthians 15:33 tells us that evil or bad company corrupts good morals.
This warning applies especially to those looking for relationships on social media, whether platonic or romantic, as it is easy to be misled by a person’s online persona and not get the full story until it is too late.
Additionally, users should be wary of anyone asking for money or personal information, as this could lead to identity theft or other scams.
9. Content & Language
Ephesians 4:29 instructs us to watch our words and use language that builds up instead of tears down.
Social media can be a platform where hateful and divisive rhetoric is encouraged, so we must remember this warning when posting content online.
Additionally, Philippians 4:8 implores us to think about good things and fill our minds with positive thoughts. I believe this means avoiding postings containing obscene images, vulgar language, or explicit content.
10. Unattainable Standards
Social media can quickly become an unrealistic reflection of reality, as it is easy to post only those photos or moments in life where we look our best.
However, this can lead people to have unhealthy standards for themselves and others.
On this one, please look within and ask the Holy Spirit to help you navigate through this topic.
11. Loneliness & Isolation
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 tells us that two are better than one as they can help each other in times of need. However, social media provides a false sense of community.
Yep, many people rely solely on social media for companionship and find themselves feeling more isolated than ever.
I would say it’s important to use social media as a tool for connecting with others in the real world and spend time building relationships face-to-face rather than just online.
12. False Representation
We are not to compare ourselves with others, as everyone is unique, and God has given each person their own gifts.
Social media often presents users with an unrealistic view of reality, as people tend only to post their highlights or successes rather than their failures.
It’s important to remember that no one’s life is perfect, and we should never compare ourselves to those we see on our feeds because what they show us may not accurately represent their real lives.
- Take breaks or a Social Media Sabbatical – Take regular breaks from scrolling through feeds by spending time outside or engaging in an activity that does not involve a screen.
- Clean up your feed or timeline– Seek out accounts with positive messages from people who will encourage your spiritual, mental or psychological health.
- Narrow Social Media Platforms – Consider narrowing down which platforms you use by either deleting some accounts or limiting how often you use them.
- Be mindful of time (Set Quotas) – Set specific times during the day to check social media and be mindful of how much time is being spent online.
- Use Social Media for ministry – If you are led, remember that social media can be a powerful tool for ministry. If used properly, it can help reach people who would otherwise never hear about God’s love for them.
- Pray & engage the Holy Spirit- Seek direction on your social media use from the Holy Spirit. He will guide you on how you should use it and when to take a break from it.
- Be mindful of what you post- Ensure that your content is in line with your faith and does not contain language or images inappropriate for a Christian audience. Stop and think- Before clicking “like,” stop and think about how it will reflect on your faith. Will it glorify God?
- Be positive- When engaging with others online, always try to be positive and offer encouragement and support.
- Go on a short fast – Consider taking a break from social media and other forms of electronic media. This will give you more time to dedicate to prayer, reading your Bible, and engaging in acts of service. Fasting can help bring clarity to our thoughts, making it easier for us to discern God’s will.
- Set healthy boundaries- When using social media, limit whom you follow. You can regulate which accounts you interact with and avoid conversations that could lead to temptation or sin.
Social media and ministry
Social media has the potential to be a powerful tool for ministry, but if we are idle and careless with our use of it, it can lead us astray and disrupt our walk with God.
It is essential to be mindful of the spiritual dangers that I mentioned and use social media in a way that honors and glorifies God. By understanding the risks and exercising self-control, we can make sure to stay on the right path even when engaging online.
If we are intentional in our use of social media and remain rooted in God’s word, then we can avoid being led astray by the temptation of idle scrolling and aimless comparison. Ultimately, this will lead to a more fulfilling life filled with joy and purpose.
In conclusion, there can be spiritual dangers of social media if we let ourselves become idle on these platforms or consume content that is not edifying.
However, with prayerful discernment and mindfulness, social media can still be used for ministry and remain a helpful tool in our Christian walk.
We can truly bring hope and light to a world that is too often filled with darkness and despair.
The end goal should always be glorifying God through our words and actions, both online and offline. We should strive to be a source of encouragement in the lives of others by posting positive and uplifting messages.
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Christian Showmanship and the Pressure to Perform