avoiding social media idolatry

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With the advent of social media, much has been made of social media influence. People have taken to social platforms like moths to incandescent light bulbs, mostly for personal interaction and exploration, but also to construct platforms of their own to strengthen their brand and following. Building on a foundation of Facebook and Twitter, many have added a blogging platform such as WordPress or Blogger, Google+, LinkedIn, Flickr, and so on. And it all gets measured for total influence by Klout, or so that platform claims.

We fret and stew about how we can choose, deploy, and leverage the various platforms to maximize our social influence. But for those of us who ostensibly follow Jesus, we too often forget one thing: following Jesus. Seeking to be influenced by him. Dying to self and living to Christ. Somehow faithfulness to Christ gets lost in the clutter of all this choosing, deploying, and leveraging. We become better known for our carefully constructed online persona than our real relationship with Jesus.

So the presses roll out our books, the conferences feature our most recent insights, and the media swoons over the latest polling data over whose church is largest, most innovative, smallest, most humble (as if that is possible to measure), wealthiest, most giving, poorest, most sacrificial, et al. Meanwhile, little is written or said about what is most important. A vital, real relationship with Jesus in which we daily follow him faithfully with or without recognition, with or without resources, with or without social media influence, with or without invitations to write, speak, or pass on insights to a larger audience.

This is not an indictment against developing a platform for the message God has deposited into your life. My point is to remind myself and those listening in not to allow the platform and accompanying accolades to become an idol.

Let’s simply remember to continue worshipping God and following hard after Jesus.

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