43For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. —Luke 6:43-45
Over the last few years, whether we realize it or not, most of us have been educated on social media. There is both the positive and negative impact of social media. However, both results should give us pause to reflect on and work toward developing a biblical approach to social media, so we can grasp the benefits of Twitter and Facebook without the negatives.
Jesus told us, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). That is almost old school; perhaps now we could say, Out of the abundance of the heart, Facebook proclaims or Twitter tweets or Pinterest reveals. That would be wonderful if we were uploading good treasure, but I think we would all agree not all social media meets that standard of treasure.
Social media presents us with great opportunities to observe the condition of our hearts and the hearts of others. It also opens us up to many opportunities to exhibit Gospel-empowered living on a regular basis alongside Gospel-empowered proclamation. Let me share a few things that can guide us as we use these avenues of communication.
Perhaps the foundational question for us to think through is whether we consider social media as a form of entertainment (relaxation, fun, enjoyment) or a form of witnessing. I think social media should be a lot of fun, but as a follower of Christ, I must realize the fact that everything I communicate is ultimately less about my reputation and more about the reputation of Christ. And we must protect the reputation of Christ.
But in saying this, I must quickly mention two ditches we can fall into. The first is legalism. Legalism is rule-based religion. It causes people to lead fake lives. The other ditch is what I will call hyper-disclosure, where people want everyone to see every messy detail as the Holy Spirit does heart surgery on their lives. Yuck. Some things need to stay between a person, the Lord, and a few loving friends.
Let me briefly share a few practical checkpoints we can use:
Checkpoint #1: Check your heart.
Checkpoint #2: Check your tone.
Checkpoint #3: Check your message.
Checkpoint #4: Check your (unintended) audience.
If we keep our focus on glorifying Jesus Christ and use the above checkpoints, we can use social media as a powerful tool to reach people with the Gospel of Christ.
- How can I use social media as a tool to further the kingdom of God?
- Have I ever used social media to glorify myself? How?
Father in heaven, it is amazing to me that You use so many methods to reach people with the Good News of Your grace through Jesus Christ. Help me to use these most recent media tools to glorify You and not draw attention to myself. Thank You for the reminder that my purpose is not for people to be drawn to me, but to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.