A few weeks ago I began a move into a role where most of my thought is focused on what it means to be a follower of Jesus online. It’s confusing – in a year when we’ve been forced to screens I’ve realized we don’t truly have this figured out.
As I’ve prayed, sought Jesus, and wept over what I’ve seen – recently I’ve seen a call to an exodus of Facebook and social media platforms for “Parler” – network focused on “free speech.” This post isn’t from the perspective of a conservative, evangelical American (for these are worldly labels which will fade away) but rather from a sinner who has been and is being radically changed and redeemed daily by Jesus. I’m a work in process, we’re all in process, and I am for you. So, here are two reasons why you should leave Facebook or social media and two reasons why that would be foolish.
Two reasons you should leave:
1. I would be led to sin
This is a good reason to exit. Just because a space needs Gospel witness doesn’t mean God is calling you there. If you have found yourself entering into anger, hatred, bitterness, malice, slander, or other forms of sin – an exit seems to be wise. (Though – we should be careful not to determine we will never again enter a space – who is to know where God may call us tomorrow for His purposes.)
2. I am not prepared to be there.
Paul calls the church to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry.” Jesus called us to make disciples of all nations (let’s redefine that: online, offline, workplaces, cities, townships, provinces, neighborhoods, etc.) Maybe your exit is intentional to prepare yourself for what God does have for you there.
Perhaps it is not an exit from a social platform itself but from engaging with that platform. Maybe you scroll, read, and reflect on what you see so that you may pray, fast, and seek wisdom for how God wants to use you there.
Two reasons you should stay:
1. Christians aren’t called to country clubs
If I’m only ever around people like me I’m not following Jesus I’m following a religion. Jesus doesn’t lead me to others who are like me, He leads me to others who need to know Him.
Social media connects us in ways we’ve never been able to be connected. But it’s a battle, friends. And for some of us, myself included, we’ve let Satan deceive us into thinking we need to flee or believe if we lose arguments it’s pointless.
But more often than not, Jesus isn’t calling us to win anything (He already did that on the cross). He’s calling us to live radically changed lives that proclaim His goodness and power over sin and darkness. Power that isn’t manifested through law but Spirit.Jesus is calling us to live radically changed lives that proclaim His goodness and power over sin and darkness. Power that isn’t manifested through law but Spirit. Click To Tweet
2. I’m actively listening and seeking reconciliation
Let me be clear – I’ve never seen Facebook as a main form of communication. But everybody talks. Social media gives us ears to hear in new ways that we can use as a springboard into Spirit-filled conversation. We can hear their pain, cries for help, hopeful pleas, and what others are celebrating.
As we seek to be light that listens we can engage lovingly and invite others into true relationships as we are equipped and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
At the end of the day, if I retreat to the parlor, it should be to fill my mind and heart with Jesus and the people present there should be challenging me to look more like Jesus not freeing me to speak more like my chosen affiliation.If I retreat to the parlor, it should be to fill my mind and heart with Jesus and the people present there should be challenging me to look more like Jesus not freeing me to speak more like my chosen affiliation. Click To Tweet
This isn’t a call to stay in places where I am led to sin – but if my table only ever looks like me I’m going to be in for quite a shock when I actually experience the table of Jesus. (And just so we are clear – we don’t wait for rapture or death to taste His Kingdom – God isn’t in waiting mode He’s in movement mode. We’re just the ones who’ve retreated from His gentle Hand because we love wearing our blinders.)
“For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!””
Romans 10:13-15 ESV
So if you flee, flee because the Spirit is convicting or leading. But don’t flee because you are following your flesh. This is a challenging season – but take heart. In this world, we will have trouble. But Jesus has overcome this world.