Breaking the Last Socially-Acceptable Addiction
Updated: Nov 30, 2020
Most American Christians have an addiction and we all know it. The addiction is social media. You don’t think you do? Here’s a simple test;
When you’re out with friends at a restaurant, is your phone usually out on the table, face up?
When you’re with friends for the evening, do you check your phone in their presence?
When you use the restroom, do you check your phone?
Do you find yourself checking your phone in worship services, or as soon as you get out?
Still think you don’t have an addiction?
Are these activities a sin? Actually, they could be and here’s why. Let’s assume the best. Let’s assume you are not the kind of person who is posting photos or tweeting daily about your family, vacations or the latest restaurant you experienced. You aren’t checking multiple times daily to see how many “likes” or new “friends” you have. So, that kind of narcissism probably may not be your problem.
But, if you are on your phone/computer for an hour or more every day, just to find out who is doing what, and it’s not for business or ministry, it could be a sin for you. Why? Because the time you are spending on your devise, is a distraction from the mission God has given you!
We are stewards of our time on earth. And every hour we waste entertaining ourselves is an hour lost forever.
Now, I’m not against vacations. That’s a break from the pressures of life, a time to catch up on your sleep, have meaningful conversations with your family and friends and prepare yourself for whatever is next in your life. And watching T.V. or going to the movies occasionally is simply part of life.
But, checking your phone constantly to watch videos and photos, or news of celebrities, add nothing to the kingdom – zero!
Here’s the problem with this 21st century addiction. We have the ability to control our behavior, but we lack the will to stop, because we don’t see the consequences to be all that severe.
Here’s the last nail in the coffin: If we spend more time on social media than time with God or serving others, I’m confident it is a sin for us!
“You shall have no other gods before me.”
Mastering Social Media The rest of this blog is edited from an article in Relevant Magazine.
A key element of the gospel is the laying down of the self—promotion, absorption, advertisement, esteem, advancement or wasting time watching others do it. So, what should you do? Should you stop cold turkey from posting pictures to social media? The answer isn’t necessarily to get off social media. No, the answer is stewardship of your time and use of social media.
Here are a few steps you can take to help take the focus off the self:
1. It takes work.
If you’re one who is on social media on a daily basis, it will take re-conditioning. That is, you’ve created in yourself a habitual routine. As with any habit, it may take you just as much time breaking your routine as it took creating it. So, here’s and idea; try uninstalling just one of your social media apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram. Then next month, consider uninstalling another. Let people know that you’re unplugging and why, so no one is offended when you don’t respond to them or post anymore. Manage people’s expectations! Once done, you’ll probably have the cravings to download them again, but don’t.
Give it time, as these withdrawal symptoms could last from a few weeks to a few months and beyond. Instead, download a Bible app or podcast apps from pastors you admire.
2. Limit the number of people you follow.
(This is Clare) I only have my immediate family on Instagram. I don’t think I need to know what all friends, or my friends are doing daily.
3. Limit the number of times you post anything.
Ask yourself why you are about to post that photo. Who cares and why should they care? The content that you share simply feeds some other Christian’s addictions. It’s also a form of pride. Nobody every puts a photo of their son going into rehab, or about the fight you had last night with your wife. It’s all about what an exciting life you have. Pride. So, ask before you post anything, ask yourself, “why?” Is what you’re about to post important enough for you to take the time to post it and for someone else to read it?
4. When hanging out with friends and family, do your best not to think about how you can take a picture just to post it to social media.
If you are going to take a picture, simply take it to save it for the memories – not to brag. Just enjoy the company of your friends and family and the memories.
5. Keep your phone in your pocket or purse when meeting with friends and family.
When that phone is laying on a restaurant dinner table or coffee table, you’re subconsciously telling those you are with that you do not value their company as much as you value the digital company in your phone. Regardless if you check your phone or not during your time with them, you are communicating to them, “I have other important friends.” Other than some rare experiences when you may need to be available for a call from a babysitter, you do not need to keep your phone visible to others.
I hope these ideas have been helpful. Make social media a tool not a master and both you and God will be glad you did.
6. When you go to church, leave your phone in the car.
They are still printing paper Bibles. So, if you find yourself checking your phone or wanting to, during worship services, remove the temptation!
How following Jesus works in real life.
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