Why I Won’t Kiss Facebook Good-bye (But thought a lot about it.)

How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?  
John 5:43

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God. 
1 Corinthians 10:31 

I’m done. I deleted it. My Facebook account is goneThat was a month ago. I saw Lynn today and asked if she’d had second thoughts, if FOMO (“fear of missing out”) was getting to her. Never, she said. I was hooked and now I’m free

Addiction comes when a person engages in a pleasurable activity, but with continued action or use the activity becomes compulsive or harmful. You post a pic and look for likes. The number in the little red circle on the little blue square goes higher, higher, higher. Breathless, now you press it. The buzz of praise feels good. But it’s fleeting. More, more, more. So pose the kids and post again and push the little blue button for more.

Some of my friends don’t ever drink. They can’t safely have even a sip. Some say they can’t ever bring Cheetos home because they’d devour the whole bag alone. And I have friends who don’t ever go on Facebook. One look and temptation would have it’s way. Facebook is addictive for some.

Christians’ chief end is to glorify God. In our joy and in our love. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love. And if I have a thousand friends and three hundred followers but have not love, I am nothing.

And if your right eye causes you to sin, flee. Fly you fools, warned Gandalf. But if Facebook helps you to chief end-makes God look big and extends love’s hug-by all means, use the tool.

Use The Tools

3 Right Reasons To Use Social Media

We use tools help accomplish tasks. The right tool for the job, we say. Tools are a means to an end. Facebook is a tool. We’d best treat it as a means to these God’s good ends.

1. Give Grace
For the Christian, the purpose for any post or tweet or like or comment is to give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29). Our main motive for any comment- because God knows motives are mixed- must be to give others grace. So when a friend’s birthday notification shows up, give grace. Dig out an old photo and make her day. Or scrolling shows a friend’s died dad a year ago today. Send a card. Build each other up

2. Give Thanks
The right end, the will of God? In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Are your posts and comments an overflow of a thankful heart? Do your posts express entitlement and discontent or gratitude to God and friends? Do you thank God for the kind soul who drove your lost wallet home and paid your Girl-Scout cookies forward? Do you thank the one who write posts that encourage and instruct you in good? 

3. Give Glory
In all we meet, at all times we are to adorn the doctrine of God our Savior (Titus 2:10). That, by the way, takes manifold, glorious forms. Photos of funky fall fungi or brilliant spring tulips both point to God’s glory as Creator. So can status updates of cancer-cured or God’s-with-me-in-my-weakness. And just plain merry old posts, like when a kids says your do looks like a Chia Pet and your sap turns to amber candy. I share those. Because a merry heart is good medicine and laughter is God’s gift. 

Fly, You Fools

3 Reasons To Flee Facebook

Facebook’s temptations are many. We all stumble in many ways, and are tempted in different ways. Some fall to sloth’s drift-along ease and some to the pride’s self-adulation.  Others are prone to pride’s flip-side, to the self-pity and envy that come with comparing.

1. Undisciplined Drift
Distraction and entertainment and floating along are not Biblical virtues. They are marks of the godless. For people will be lovers of self…without self-control…swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. (2 Timothy 3:2a-4) Disable, delete, disconnect- because the disembodied can’t show love as well as real bodies. Deanna has four kids under ten. They need her now, and Facebook takes her downstream away from her kids. Deanna is not on Facebook.

2. Green With Envy
My friend Jess has told me how envy sneaks in whenever she joins the Facebook fray. The athletic kids, the bouquet-bringing husbands, all the witty words provoke Jess to envy. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passion and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy…Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another (Titus 3:3). Jess is guarding her heart from envy’s bitter root. Jess is not on Facebook.

3. Slaves to Man’s Praise
For by what a man is overcome, but this he is enslaved (2 Peter 2:19b) That slavery bit- that’s why fast from it time to time and nearly kissed Facebook good-bye. Because I know my sinful, selfish, double-minded heart. I love to be liked. I like to be shared. I feed on comments and replies. I know this. So Abigail fasts from Facebook. And follows some Facebook rules.

Facebook Rules

I’ve learned that these self-imposed boundaries help me use social media as a grace-giving tool:

1. Not before the Bible. I won’t log into Facebook any day until I’ve spent time in the Word. First things must come first. Or I might drift.

2. Not in the bed. Fight both urges: To intimize technology and technologize intimacy. Enough said.

3. Not if I don’t know you. Following lives of friends we really see, gives us a place to start when we meet face to face. Following others on-line lives can show genuine care.

4. Not at work. Some can. I can’t. When I’m paid for my time, Facebook is shut.

5. Not for debate. Multiple friends- mostly men-have told me that divisive debates about politics and faith have ended their Facebook lives. It has not been a Gracebook. So I do not debate. 

My Facebook use must keep in step with these or comes the kiss of death. For me, it’s the slave to praise piece. I must constantly be on guard, and asking, Is this post, this tweet, this like meant to scratch my itch for man’s praise? Is that what’s driving me?

Jesus’ words to the Pharisees are a splash on my Facebook face: How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? (John 5:43) And Paul’s words shock me, too: that the true Jew-the real believer- is the one who receives his praise not from men, but from God (Romans 2:29). And, Woe to you if all think well of you. 

I want God’s doxa– his praise- more than man’s. But I am sorely tempted here. It’s why I take time to read posts like this and reflect on them. Because I don’t want to be addicted to man’s praise. I want to give glory to God and give grace to others. I will not be mastered by Facebook.

Used, Not Mastered 

Bruce Hindmarsh is an author and professor at Regent University. He says God can be found on Facebook and in all other on-line technology. I agree. He says, We’ve got to live in the presence of God online and off…My world of email and texting and Facebook is not simply a secular world. God is there. Scripture and prayer and Christian fellowship, all the things that constitute the Christian life, are present in my digital world. God is there.

But Facebook is not for everyone. I close with a loose paraphrase of Paul’s words to the Roman Christians, 

One person believes he may comment and post on anything, while others only scroll or will not log on. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who has a strong Facebook presence, has it in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then whether we log-on or whether we delete our account, we are the Lord’s (Romans 14:2-4a, 6-8).

Nearly as many people are killed in car crashes as by drug overdoses. Danger inherent doesn’t mean we stop driving. It means we’re mindful when we get in a car. It means we buckle-up and don’t text and use turn signals and lights at night. For many, though, Facebook is more like drug than driving. Euphoria and rock-bottom at the touch of one little blue button. 

But we are the Lord’s. And by his power alone, we will not be mastered by anything, including Facebook (1 Corinthians 6:12). Social media will be one of many means to God’s good ends. 

We’ll use it to give grace and glory. Or if temptations rise high, we’ll delete the apps and fly. 

All to the glory of God.

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  1. I enjoy Facebook, for me, it is an opportunity to connect with family who do not live close by. It is a wonderful avenue to share what the different Churches are doing, especially with community events. And I pray on Facebook, when someone asks for prayer, I will post a prayer for them. It is a social outlet to SHARE JESUS!!

  2. You use it so well, Ms. Michele! Thank you for being a faithful example of encouragement and building up the body on Facebook. You bless me and so many others.

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