10 Commandments for Social Media (Commandment #1)

In recent days I have become increasingly burdened over some of the uses (or should I say misuses) of the social media avenues available to us. I am a firm believer that we as Christians should use every tool placed in our hands to get the gospel out to the world, but I also believe that it should be done in a way that honors God and brings glory to His name. As Paul exhorted us in I Cor.10:31 – Whether therefore you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, DO ALL TO THE GLORY OF GOD!  For that reason, as I was praying over this issue, I thought, why not approach this through the ten commandments which God has already given us … written with his own hand! I’m sure you’re probably already aware of the two headings of those commands. The fact that the first four are in conjunction with our relationship to God and the last six are in conjunction with our relationship to man. That’s why Jesus tied them together as the first commandment “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind & strength,” and the second which is“like unto the first, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Would to God we could see clearly that the demonstration of obeying the first commandment is evidenced in obedience to the second!

So, the Lord willing we will discover together the importance of applying the principles taught in these 10 commandments to our use of the social medias. Let’s get started! 

1) Remember “you are not your own” – keep a single eye to God’s glory & His reputation alone. I am the LORD your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.

ABOVE ALL ELSE is this – to recognize that all you do or say reflects on God. If you are His and claim His name as your own, then you are responsible to see to it that everything you do reflects His nature, His character, His reputation – goodness, righteousness & truth (Eph.5:9). We are told to “let our light so shine, that others may see (or in this case – read & observe, witness) our good works & thereby glorify God who is in heaven” (Mt.5:16). Is it not true that obedience to this one principle alone would wipe out at least half of what is displayed to the world on the profiles of professing Christians?! When will we learn, in reality, that “it is not about us?”

What Would Jesus Do? This phrase has become so commonplace on our lips or symbolized on a necklace, bracelet, a bumper sticker (or dare I even say tattoo) that it has lost its significance as proven by our actions. But in reality – this IS “what it all boils down to” as the saying goes. How much am I governed by His Lordship (ownership) over my life? If I go to church and close my eyes and raise my hands (as a picture of homage, worship & surrender) to Him, then should not someone expect to be able to see that reflected the rest of the week in my actions, my words, my value system? And, by the way, are they not right in looking for that evidence according to scripture … should not my walk match (or exceed) my talk? Are they asking too much? Are they being “unfair” or expecting more from me than that which God desires to see in my life? I think not. “Do you suppose, O man–you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself–that you will escape the judgment of God?” (Rom. 2:3) You then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” (Rom 2:21-24)

Doesn’t that last phrase place an incredible responsibility upon us as believers, as followers of Christ? If you are going to claim the name of Jesus, then live up to His reputation, His honor. Do not live a lifestyle (even in social networking) that reflects negatively on His glory! Does He not “lead us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake?” (Ps.23:3) Do you remember Nathan’s words to David when facing him with his sin against God with Bathsheba? “By this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme.” In other words your behavior gives ammunition to the enemies of God to bring ill repute on His name. So the question we must ask ourselves is this: As I let people into my “private life” through a social network, do they see a consistent, reputable testimony of God’s ownership over my life? How about my information page, my profile, my photos, my likes & dislikes … do these reflect and magnify in a positive way the name of my Redeemer, the one who led me out of captivity & bondage? I often tell teenagers, “I used to say, let me walk into your bedroom at home and look around for 10 minutes and I can tell you what you are “in love” with … the posters on your walls, the magazines, the music, the cleanliness (or lack thereof), & the clothes in your closet. All of these reveal where your value system really lies. But, I don’t have to visit your home anymore to discover this, do you know why … because you are my friend on Facebook, and I can now enter anytime, anywhere!”  It is usually at this point that things become very quiet & reflective in the room!

It’s true, our value system is revealed through the “windows” of our profile on Facebook. How does it reflect on the reputation of God, when we claim to be “sold out to Jesus Christ” and then write the junk we put on FB? Oh, the broken hearts … because “my boyfriend hurt me” … but then two hours later, when we’ve made up again, we have a mended heart and all in the world is well again! How silly, how 7th grade-ish (I know, I just made up a word)! But let me hasten to say, it’s not just junior high age that does this. I know some adults who are constantly telling to the world how their day is going … point by point, line by line, verse by verse. Really?! Do you really think the world needs to know that you’re having a sappy day or that you’ve got lots of laundry to do & don’t know if you’ll ever catch up! Really! I have a recommendation … get off of the computer and “git ‘er done” as they say! Come on, we have time to tell the world all our feelings today, but not enough time to get things accomplished (which will, by the way, in and of itself, many times, take care of those wimpy feelings).

I recommend a personal inventory. Go back, open up your info, your pictures, your likes & dislikes, your attachments, etc. and ask yourself, “Does this reflect well on the name of God?” Is this “what Jesus would do?” Do these pages allow others to “see your good works” and thereby “glorify your Father, who is in heaven?” Do people looking into the window of your life and testimony (through Facebook & other social media avenues) see a good, Godly, wholesome, convicting & challenging image of your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.(Col 4:5,6) Does your speech through the social medias have “grace, seasoned with salt” to make others thirsty for what you have, or does it make them say, “If that’s Christianity, I want nothing to do with it?”

 A final question befitting the first commandment: Does my reputation (revealed voluntarily through social media) testify that I take seriously the first commandment – to have NO OTHER GODS before Jesus? Maybe in order to be objective in this search we should begin by doing two things: One – pray (& mean it) the prayer of Ps. 139:23,24 – Search me, Oh God … , and Two – ask others (Godly, wise advisors) their thoughts as they look on our profile (Pro.18:17; 12:15; 21:2). Do these two things seem a bit “scary” to you? If so, then I would say perhaps that is God’s way of letting you know already in your conscience that there are some things that need to be cleaned up or perhaps removed all together.

Oh, and let’s remember … this is only commandment #1. One down … nine to go!                Blessings,  Tim

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