Jan 28, 2012

Facebook for the Glory of God

Recently, I've had to evaluate my use of Facebook. It was one of the things that I knew God wanted me to examine when I committed to being more focused this year. I put it off for a while because I was scared of what God might ask me to do. I have enjoyed Facebook and still do. I have seen it used for good in my life and the life of others. But I have also seen it steal my time and destroy the lives of others. So my questions were: Is it possible to glorify God with my Facebook account? And if so, how can I do so? 

I know that as a Mom in the trenches of early motherhood it is so important that I really monitor what I allow myself to take in. I'm talking about Facebook, Blogs, TV, radio, podcasts, etc. I'm beginning to understand that as Moms of little ones we are prime targets for the evil one.  Satan knows that we're often physically, mentally, and emotionally fatigued. He knows that our most common struggles involve comparison and guilt and discontentment, battles of the mind. Do you remember the children's song, "Oh, Be Careful Little Eyes What You See?" Well, I've been singing it to myself lately. For the most part, I can choose what my eyes see and what my ears hear, which in turn effects the way my mind thinks. I don't want to take in any negative or ungodly words and thoughts if I don't have to. I want to take in things that encourage me to keep moving forward for the glory of God.

Unfortunately, not everyone on Facebook is there to glorify God. And, up until recently, I wasn't there to glorify God either. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't there to dishonor God in any way, I just didn't see the connection between God and Facebook. It was like I separated my spiritual life from my online social life. It wasn't until I asked God to help to me honestly examine every area of my life this year that He began to reveal the link between His glory and the cultural phenomenon of social media.

So, with a heart determined to glorify God with my Facebook account, here are a few of the things that I believe will help me to use Facebook for the glory of God:

Make sure that my heart is not craving Facebook above God's Word. Just like feasting on junk food will ruin my appetite for real, whole food, so feasting on Facebook will ruin my appetite for God's Word. It will make God's Word seem less appealing. I've become so accustomed to being stimulated over-stimulated with technology and information at my fingertips that I've somehow lost the discipline of being still and knowing that He is God (Psalm 46:10). I've lost the will to think deeply about my own life because my minds is so used to lazy, uninvolved thinking. My earnest desire is to make time to dwell and think upon God's Word without a divided or distracted heart (Psalm 119:36-37). I never want to lose my appetites for God's Word. So I need to be connected to Him before I can be connect with the rest of the world. 

Make sure that everything I post on Facebook is God-glorifying. I believe that God has given us technology such as Facebook to glorify Him and encourage each other like never before. Why would I waste my words on vain things? Why would I use Facebook as a place to bring another down or to complain? I'm not saying that I shouldn't post about my day or my kids or the ins and outs of my everyday life. In fact, reading about how someone's toddler smeared toothpaste all over the bathroom floor reminds me that stuff like that happens when you have little kids, and it's okay! I know the kinds of things that encourage me, and I want to encourage others in that same way.

Hide people that constantly post negative things or who are involved in regular Facebook drama. I'm not a person who likes drama in my everyday life so why would I subject myself to it on Facebook. I believe that there is a time and place for controversial conversations and Biblical admonition. I have found that those things happen best in a safe and loving environment, one that invites, "I love you. I care about you. I desire to honor God in word, thought, and deed. Let's talk about this." Facebook is not always safe and loving. I've seen many careless words lead to harsh judgements, disputes, and anger. That type of dialogue feeds the flesh. I'm trying to starve mine.
P.S. And if any foul language crosses my news feed, it's an automatic hide!

Create groups to better manage what I view on my news feed. I've created two groups: Family & Mommy Friends: Family because many of them I don't see on a regular basis; Mommy Friends because God has given me a heart for Moms, and I desire to serve them with encouragement in any way that I can. And, of course, I love reading about pregnancies, births, and adoptions of friends across the country and across the world! It's not that I don't browse the general news feed sometimes, but my time is limited so I have to be more purposeful in the way I use Facebook. My most fruitful connections are with those who can encourage me in my current season of life.

I know this is not an exhaustive list. But these things are the things that have stuck out in my heart and mind as I have tried to honor God with my Facebook account. It's funny to think that just a few years ago, topics like these were irrelevant. Today, however, we would be fools not to consider the spiritual impact of social media on ourselves and on our world. 

I remember reading this article by John Piper back in 2009 called, Why and How I Am Tweeting . For further encouragement in your own personal use of social media, I would highly recommend reading it!

What are other ways that we can use Facebook to glorify God?



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