This morning I realized I had finished my current Bible study and needed to find something new to start. I browsed my shelves for a few minutes and several books struck me as potential candidates. When I came across an old book my husband brought with him when we got married, I pulled it out and my mind was made up. I would read Radical by David Platt. Even as I have been drudging through doubt, anxiety, guilt and emotional evisceration, I am something of a masochist by nature (somehow I derive satisfaction from making everything harder on myself), so, naturally, I had to pick the most difficult material to swallow available to me on a whim.
I said a prayer about “please, God, open my mind to receive, etc., etc.” and cracked it open to the first chapter. Before I was even able to finish the introductory chapter, the Spirit dragged an old beaten horse up from somewhere and hit me over the head with it yet again. I’ve tried and tried to throw this stupid horse off, but he keeps reappearing sounding a lot like the old coot from Monty Python & The Holy Grail saying, “I’m not dead yet!!”
The horse’s name is Social Media. I like to get on the horse and ride around doing a parade wave to show everyone how cool I am.
Well, here I was again face to face with the Social Media horse, wondering what I was supposed to do with it. No, I knew what I was supposed to do. Sure, I had tried to tame it, put a bridle on it and reign it in from time to time. I tried to steer it and make it understand who’s boss. But to no avail. In the end, every time God brought Social Media back to me, He made it clear that I was supposed to kill it.
I’m a big believer in doing the next right thing. Psalm 119:105, you know it by heart, says,
“Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
Back in the day, it was pitch dark outside at night. (Still is in some parts of the world.) Lamps would be used to light the way, but you would literally only be able to see your hand in front of your face; just enough light to take the next step safely. God’s Word being a lamp is a metaphor the Psalmist is using to show that God is only going to shed enough light for you to take the next step. Apart from following through on the next step He’s showing you, you can’t move forward safely. Sure, you can go running off in the dark, but, you aren’t an idiot, right?
This next illuminated step of killing Social Media has left me standing in the same spot for months. And I mean that quite literally. I keep what I call a “Journal of Directives.” Every time the Holy Spirit tells me to do something, I write it down. The last entry I had in my journal was in February–three months prior. Times before, I had heard Him telling me to kill Social Media, but never wrote it down. I told myself, He can’t mean that. I’m using Social Media to encourage SAHMs and direct people to my website where I write about truth. I have good things to share. But here I found myself again. Even as I wrote it down this morning (FINALLY), I did so with a question mark–still unwilling to totally surrender it.
But after a good half hour of contemplating deactivation routes, temporary hiatuses, or methodical redirection, or even a simple “I’m leaving!” post for the people I would never make contact with again, I decided it was time to burn it down and walk away. I had just finished reading about Luke 9, where Jesus tells a man he can’t even say goodbye to his family before he follows Him. In Luke 9:62, He says,
“No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
If I had even stopped to let people know I was disappearing, I would have been exactly the rearview-gazer Jesus as talking about; not inherently because it was Social Media, but because this was the plow that God was handing me, the next right thing, the next illuminated step to safely follow Him.
In my experience, the only right way to live is in immediate obedience. All other times that I have tried to put off a directive from the Holy Spirit has led to a stock-still spiritual inertia that eventually takes supernatural power to overcome. Because ignoring the next thing God is telling you to do means choosing immobility and, worse, a slow and steady dimming of your sensitivity to His voice, eventually leaving you with a useless lamp that you let burn out, standing in darkness.
Social Media has created in me an insatiable appetite for approval, a comparison of myself to the world, a thread tying me to should-be-dead relationships, an escape from responsibility, an inability to use time effectively, a distraction from true community, an attitude of self-promotion, and so much more. All things that needed to be put to death if I was ever to move forward with God. Not to mention the fact that it isn’t even REAL LIFE!
You may be tempted to argue what I’ve seen many argue for Social Media: that there is a positive side to it. However, I am here to tell myself and you, I don’t believe it. I want to believe it, but even the arguments that say it is a platform for Christians to share truth are giving Social Media more credit than it’s worth. If you are a Christian arguing for this position, I pose to you the same question I was faced with myself: Are you truly using your platform to promote the Gospel or is it secretly for yourself? I would dare to say that the cases of sincere Gospel-promotion devoid of a heart seeking worldly affirmation are radically few. Perhaps there is some genuine truth and concern for the lost sprinkled in there, but, in reality, we are ALL riding the Social Media horse hoping someone will notice our parade waves and think we’re cool.
As a Christian, you may not feel convicted by any of this and that is fine! Killing Social Media may not be the next right thing God is showing you to do. However, if you aren’t hearing His voice, I encourage you to ask Him for that supernatural power it takes to overcome spiritual inertia so that he CAN reveal to you the next step of obedience. On the other hand, you may understand exactly what I mean when I say God keeps bringing the same issue back up. If that’s the case, don’t put your hand on the plow and look back. Obey immediately. THAT is when you finally begin to experience the promises of God in real time instead of glazing over them as mere abstract concepts in church. Don’t take 40 years wandering through the desert on what should be an 11-day journey as the Israelites did in Exodus through Deuteronomy. Just buck up and do it.
As Christians, we will never become the radical enough to change the world if we don’t start by changing the first thing God shows us. And if you never obey God’s first directive, let alone the lifetime of directives following, you must ask yourself if you truly are a follower of Christ. Because that is criteria number one. In John 14:15 Jesus says,
“If you love me, keep my commandments.”
And 1 John 2:3-5 says,
“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him.”
If God is telling you, as He has me, to kill Social Media, do it. If He’s telling you to make an apology, do it. If he’s telling you to sell your possessions and give to the poor, do it. Sure, doing the next right thing may mean giving up comfort, financial security, reputation and status, dignity, or your livelihood, but, in the end..
What does it profit a man if he gains comfort, money, status, and dignity and loses his soul?