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What is social media costing you?

Prefer to listen? Listen here!

Social media has evolved drastically over time from a means to connect and build community with others to being used to promote a business, model or even shop for clothes/products. Since social media is so accessible via our computers, iPads, and phones you will find yourself sometimes being inundated with social media notifications which at times can be overwhelming. Or just out of boredom in your spare time or at work, you can find yourself scrolling through social media newsfeeds for hours! When using social media, it is important to ask yourself the blunt but honest question – What is social media costing you?

Question your desire to use social media

I’ll start off by saying that the use of social media is not a sin, but it is important to use it with wisdom…

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere

James 3:17

One must ask themselves, why am I using social media? More importantly…how is social media using me? Are we glorifying God through our social media posts/stories or glorifying ourselves and others? When writing a post or sharing a photo, what are your motives…is to share an experience, share joy/encouragement or is to gain more likes and be validated by your followers? Your conviction regarding social media will not be the same as other people, the Holy Spirit will minister to you personally and it is important to listen. Here are a few pros and cons of social media, hence why wisdom but also discernment is important with its use.

What do we know about social media?

Pros of social media

  • You can share life updates with community and connect with friends and family
  • A platform to build your brand/business
  • You can share motivational quotes and church scriptures
  • Keep up with new releases of songs from your favourite artists

Cons of social media

  • It can be VERY addictive (check your phone screen time and hours spent on social media pages)
  • Comparison is rife – this can have an effect on your mental health for example how you view yourself, body image etc
  • It is a highlight reel – people tend to show the best parts of their life yet rarely share their downfalls, insecurities or failures
  • Dehumanisation – it is easy to put social media influencers on a pedestal and forget they’re human too

These lists are not exhaustive but highlight a few key things to consider when using social media.

How do you feel after using social media?

What emotions do you feel after using social media? Is it exhaustion, FOMO, low self-esteem, peer pressure? It could be the case that the frequent use of social media is stealing your joy. It is very easy to idolise social media and dedicate all our time/energy to it but we must remember that it will not satisfy us, “my people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water,” Jeremiah 2:13. In the presence of God, there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11) and anything that removes Him from His rightful place in your life needs to be questioned. Going forward how can we cultivate a healthier view of social media and be a good steward of it?

  1. One thing is moderation, know yourself and your personal limits “I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but I will not be mastered by anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12.
  2. Decide how you want to portray yourself on social media, you DO have a choice to be authentic or to conform to what may seem “popular”.
  3. Filter out followers who are not adding value to your page or who could cause you to stumble in your walk of faith.
  4. Finally use your social media in a way that is seasoned with grace and salt, always remembering who you are in Christ and trying not to be lost in today’s culture.

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone

Colossians 4:5-6
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Chinedu Agwu
Chinedu is from London, and currently works as a teaching-focused university lecturer and freelance medical writer. She is passionate about social justice and community impact projects, empowering young people and reading books in the book club she co-founded with her friend. She likes to use her gifting in written and oral communication to share the gospel and build faith in others.