Join us for a bonfire next Friday, November 9, 7:00-9:00pm. Snacks and hot drinks will be provided. This event will take place at the home of the McDonalds’ in Abasand: 207 Atkinson Lane. Depending on the weather, we may also roam inside for some games. Bring a friend and wear something warm!
This last Friday we had the privilege of listening to youth leader Emmanuel DeJesus teach a Biblical perspective on social media and entertainment. Like many contemporary topics, the Bible does not speak directly about things like Instagram or YouTube. But when we take the time to understand those modern inventions, we realize that they are simply modern channels for timeless, human habits. What are these habits we speak of? They are the words of our mouth. They are the things we choose to behold with our eyes and hear with our ears. They are the things that flow in and out of our hearts: joy and jealousy, pleasure and pain, gratitude and bad attitudes, etc.
We were reminded that social media is simply a modern form of paper. People have always expressed their thoughts and feelings to others in some way, but it has only been in the last century that our method of doing so has developed from paper to computers, and now to handheld devices that are connected with the rest of the world in an instant. This brings huge blessings, but also can be dangerous. Think about how quickly and permanently the things we share are out there for everyone to see! And think about what we often see on things like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc! Often there is much anger, division, selfishness, competition, pride, wickedness…should we be surprised? This is natural for humans in our state of sinfulness.
“For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.” -2 Timothy 3:2 (NLT)
We must be careful how we use social media, as a tool for good purposes rather than for wickedness, oppression, or selfish gain. Emmanuel took us to a few places in Scripture that we would hopefully choose to let shape our interaction with technology today. Firstly, we must remember that it is our heart that produces either good or evil words and actions. Listen to Matthew 12:35-36 (NLT):
“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.”
Whoa! Nothing we say on this earth, either verbally or on the internet, will escape God’s notice…shouldn’t that motivate us to be thoughtful! What kind of words does God want us to speak? What kind of words would be pleasing to him and helpful to others?
“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” -1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT)
“Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.” -Psalm 96:3 (NLT)
These are just a few examples of practical wisdom that the bible offers which should shape our interaction with social media. We ought to be encouraging others and testifying to God’s work in our lives, directly and indirectly. But what about entertainment, things like movies and music? If social media is largely a platform for expressing our thoughts and feelings, entertainment is where we largely consume other people’s thoughts and feelings in some way.
Most of us could spend hours watching Netflix, playing video games, reading a book or magazine, etc. But how many of us desire to spend lots of time with God in praying and Scripture reading? Sometimes the main issue when it comes to entertainment is the type of content we are taking into our hearts. It may be violent, sexual, deceptive, etc. But sometimes the main issue is that we simply treasure entertainment over God.
“Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.” -1 John 2:15-17 (NLT)
The Bible warns against the dangers of loving the world and the things in it. That doesn’t mean that everything in the world is bad, but everything in the world is certainly passing away. However, God and his kingdom will never pass away. Those who do what pleases him live forever. And how can we do what is pleasing to him? Only by trusting Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sin and letting him give us a new heart. If you try to do what is pleasing to him only by relying on your own strength, you won’t be able to do it. Jesus has to change your heart from being evil to good, then good fruit will come out of your heart and life.
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” -Galatians 5:24-25 (NLT)
Have you placed your faith in Christ? Do you do so daily? When you do, he gives us his Spirit to lead and guide us into all truth and a life that pleases him. This includes how we use social media and what kind of entertainment we consume. Only in Christ can we have a new heart that produces new fruit.
To summarize, here are the key takeaways:
- Jesus can give you a new heart that produces good fruit. Trust in him for salvation.
- Be thoughtful about how you use social media. Seek to encourage and witness.
- Be thoughtful about your selection of movies, music, etc. There can be danger for your soul in both the quality of entertainment, as well as the quantity of it.
- All of these matters must be dealt with between you and God. If you compare yourself to others, it will lead to confusion or pride. If you humbly ask God for his direction, he will give it to you and you will have true peace.