It is a strange thing when we Christians feel as if Christ’s influence should not extend to any portion of our lives. It is strange that it seems inconvenient to us that we should not only have to refrain from major offenses–murder, adultery, lying, stealing, and the like–but also surrender our daily happenings to His will. For instance, according to God’s desires for my life, I must speak kindly to my husband. I must not be quick to anger when someone nearly kills me on the highway (welcome to Pennsylvania). I must budget my money in a way that evidences Christ as Lord over my life. I must pick up the laundry and wash the dishes with a contented, even cheerful, heart. This is Christian duty–allowing Jesus Christ supremacy over the “little” things.
Because of the importance the internet has gained in our culture, I’ve been reflecting on what exactly Christian duty looks like in the realm of social media. The medium of the internet, this paradoxical barrier between and connector of people, often falsely emboldens us to good and to bad. I might feel more comfortable posting my scripture of the day into a status than I would be say, sitting and sharing with a friend, “What did you read in your devotions today? This is what God is teaching me.” I might be equally comfortable telling ALL OF MY FACEBOOK FRIENDS (can we just reflect on that for a moment?) some very personal details about my life that would probably be better kept to myself, but never get real with the people I’m living life with on a day to day basis. How is it that when I can sit down and have access to the attention of 200+ “friends” instantly, the best I do to use this influence for Christ is to “keep it clean?” To borrow a biblical phrase, brethren, these things ought not be so!
It’s not that I think every post should be Bible-related or a call for prayer. (If that’s how the Lord leads you personally, then by all means soldier on.) But at the very least, I think Christian duty in this area of life should follow the rules of all other communication. My posts and reposts should encourage, challenge, and have some substance of worth. I should eschew the propensity of young women Paul writes of “…going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.” (1 Timothy 5:13) I must, if I call myself a disciple of Christ, “do all things without grumbling or disputing…holding fast to the word of life.” (Philippians 2:14-15) There should be reserve and modesty in my online conduct, because when I identify myself with Christ, my behavior puts His reputation on the line. An ambassador doesn’t live and speak however he wants. Neither should we.
And if I sound preachy, it’s because I’m trying to get my own act together as God conforms my will to His. And when I am a hypocrite, please call me out on it. The stakes are too high to turn people off to the gospel because I want to do things my own way. I must admit though, it’s a strange spiritual lesson to learn, that sanctification extends even to Facebook.