I did something most people would consider a little radical last week…
I deleted my twitter, suspended my Instagram, and erased Facebook’s main app from my phone. The only social influences I have left are Snapchat (to keep up with my mom and sisters in Ohio), Facebook Pages (to manage my page), Facebook Groups (to manage my Young Wives Club), and Pinterest (to have recipes and craft projects at my fingertips). I would even delete Pinterest if it weren’t for it’s practical uses around my home and Snapchat if my family didn’t sent me updates on life from a far.
So, why would an 20-something, in a day and age where nearly all communication and news take place on these high-traffic sites, step away from “the outside world” into what many would deem “isolation”? Either it’s a really good reason, because I’m sure you don’t see many other 20-somethings, 30-somethings, 40-somethings, or even 50-somethings, signing up to nuke their accounts in groves, or she’s trying to avoid someone. And I can promise it’s not the latter Here’s why:
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith… Hebrews 12:1-2a
Oh, the great black pit of social media sucks in even the best of us. Good news, bad news, opinions, gossip, tips, warning, deals, shopping, games, the neighbor’s kid, everything we can desire or hope for is found within the ever widening confines of Social Media. This outlet for continual human interaction and emotional boosts can come off as a nice little place to rest and spend time, but it so easily keeps us from the most important thing in this life: Jesus Christ.
The NCV starts off Hebrews 12:2 with, “Let us look only to Jesus.” The more social media consume us, the less the Holy Spirit can be active in our lives. The more we are in tune with the daily whereabouts of our social community, the less Christ is the focus of our eyes. It doesn’t always seem like scrolling a timeline in our free time is a bad thing, but when it becomes our preferred use of spare time and something we cannot part with, it has risen to a place in our lives that surpasses our Sweet Jesus.
How can we be good runners in this race if Jesus Christ is not at the forefront of our minds? How can we be faithful, running this race with endurance, if we are more caught up in the things of the social world than the things of the Spirit world?
…Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame… Hebrews 12:2b
We don’t really have to guess whether or not the cross was an enjoyable experience, but Christ faithfully died – physically, emotionally, and mentally – in that moment so God’s power might reign supreme. One of the big factors building up to that moment for Christ was his deliberate seeking of what God had for him. (Read more about that here.) He intentionally sought out the will of his Father and drew his strength from God alone. With such a task before him, there was nowhere else he could have turned to be ready to the sacrifice. Those deliberate moments required stepping away from the crowds, away from people he cared about, and surrounding himself with the Father. Had he done otherwise, his mission could just as easily have been blurred.
Can we fully immerse ourselves in God the Father if we are immersing ourselves in Facebook, Twitter, and the like?
…and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2c
This is where it all climaxes. It’s when we are told, “Well done,” and invited to sit at the Table.
Christ did what he was called to in order to be faithful, even when it was physically excruciating. He didn’t flinch when the call to go involved a physical, emotional, or mental sacrifice. He went and that faithfulness rewarded him a seat eternally at God’s table.
You and I are all called to make much of God and little of ourselves. I can guarantee that no part of that call includes saturating ourselves in the continual, digital companionship of others. So often I hear people ask what, specifically, God has called them to. We are in an age where we don’t know the specific call of Christ on our lives, so we guess. We assume that one thing over another is the path he has for us, or we toss aside his “input” altogether and just wing it. I know, without a doubt, because we are not spending ample time in the presence of our Maker, we are left on the outside of the picture wondering where we are to go next and if we want that to change, it’s going to take something radical.
It might even take permanently separating ourselves from the “social world” and “isolating” ourselves in a place where we are intentionally, regularly, and consistently seeking God for what it is he has for us.