Adam Alter, a New York University professor said, “…when you get a like on social media, all of those experiences produce dopamine, which is a chemical associated with pleasure.” Consequently, we are not up against our own willpower, but a chemical change in our brains. For some of us it will take professional help to be delivered from a social media addiction. In a few cases it may require medication. However even with medication we must eventually come to the realization that God is the only remedy strong enough to free us from technologies’ trappings.
10 Things Social Media Can Never Offer
1. Social media can never offer the full truth.
We live in an age of relativism, where truth, morality, and knowledge are dependent on the individual’s experiences, there are no absolutes. That is very apparent than on the internet. Social media has become a confused mixture of differing philosophies on everything from sexuality to politics. So, if we look to social media to determine what the truth is, at best we will be confused. To know truth we must know God through Jesus Christ.
John 14:6-7 NIV Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
2. Social media cannot offer us worth.
Here are some of the thoughts of a cyber junkie; I need to update my status, post a pic, and comment on that photo. Don’t forget the hashtags. Did I get any comments today? Who liked my pictures? How many shares?
Like a drug addiction social media will become your go to when you have free time, down-time, or no time. The notification sound like Pavlov’s dog salivating at the sound of a bell keeps luring you back. Depending on the response to our post or comment there is the potential to become puffed up with our social media status. If you are honest, likes on social media are a confidence booster, but a negative, nasty comment and few or heaven forbid, no likes shatter us. Basing our worth on the inconsistent feedback of our social media relationships will only leave us perpetually stuck in a performance trap.
God’s security, on the contrary, is not based on anything we do. It is abundantly available to us, with no strings attached.
Matthew 10:29-31 NIV Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
3. Social media cannot love us.
The true meaning of love is given in scripture as inspired by the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 TPT Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. Love never stops loving. It extends beyond the gift of prophecy, which eventually fades away. It is more enduring than tongues, which will one day fall silent. Love remains long after words of knowledge are forgotten.
If we turn to social media and the emojis and gifs to feel loved, eventually we will find our love lacking the love we desire. If we are going to truly know love we must look to the word of God and not our phones, and tablets. God will love us if we never post another picture, update our status, hashtag, or tweet.
4. Social media takes away precious time.
Although social media can make our world smaller, enabling us to connect with distant friends and loved ones, it can also drive a wedge in our relationships. If we allow it to, social media can deceive us into believing that the information on our phones is more important than the person we are spending time with. Whether we are with our kids, our spouse, girlfriends, or our Father in heaven, we must value that time as special and deserving of uninterrupted attention.
Some ways we can do this are by imposing no-device zones in our homes, having device-free dinner times, and simply turning our phones off. We must be intentional to prioritize the time we have with those we love the most.
Psalms 90:12 NIV Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
5. Social media can’t fill us with hope.
In recent years we’ve weathered the tumultuous changes in our world on social media. We’ve shared our hurts and thoughts and openly grappled with our whys? on social media. In some cases, we have vented and found emotional support and encouragement. There is nothing wrong with finding encouragement through our social media channels, but we cannot place our hope in people, whether face-to-face or online. God is our source of hope, not people, though, He can use them to encourage and uplift. Hope is found in God.
Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:30-31 NIV Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Social Media has also become a great way to readily access information. If you are looking for a great restaurant, ask a question on Facebook. If you need a new hairstylist, look on Instagram. We can even find new careers on social media.
The information found on these platforms also delves into deeper topics like, faith, race, and morality. We can find information on whatever we desire to know more about. And whereas this is a useful tool, we must remember that knowledge “puffs-up,” but wisdom, which is the application of knowledge, comes from God.
Proverbs 2:6-8 NIV For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.
7. Social media can’t offer us Christ-like character.
When it comes to character, James gives a vivid description of just how it is cultivated in our lives.
James 1:2-4 NIV “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Since social media most often entails the highlight reels of our lives, maintaining our platforms doesn’t afford us an opportunity to grow in Christ-like character. On the contrary, character is developed in the unseen parts our lives. It is in the countless prayers we plead over our loved ones, the service we give without thanks, and the forgiveness we offer when it is undeserved. This is the character that social media cannot give to us.
8. Social media can’t offer us (the right) identity.
Social media allows us to present only the best parts of our lives. Consequently, we post pictures of our homes when they are clean, share our food when it is delicious, and upload selfies when we are fabulous. Rarely do we see updates of people at their worst. But our identity is not rooted in a perfect presentation. Our identity is found in God alone.
To relegate our identity to a perfect public persona is to be confined to a box. God’s idea of us is far greater and it encompasses everything about who we are.
9. Social media can’t offer us contentment.
It is amazing how we usually see the things we are longing for on social media. The dream vacation, the wonderful man or woman and 2.5 kids, and the perfect job all is happening for someone else, not us. We used to peek over the fence to envy our neighbor’s grass; we now have a front row seat to all their life updates by way of social media.
This is not leading us one step closer to contentment. On the contrary, it is pushing us further and further away from it. If we are going to know contentment, it may require us to take periodic breaks from social media to live lives of gratitude.
Philippians 4:11-13 NIV I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
A10. Social media can’t offer us God
If we truly had a revelation of who God is, it is possible we would have no desire for social media at all. Scripture describes Him as light, living water, hope, peace, truth, a provider, a wonderful counselor, omniscient, omnipotent, merciful, just, loving, and so much more. If we had an awareness of all that He is, we would be lacking nothing.
Somehow this truth has been lost, leaving many to believe the lie that social media is something we cannot live without. If this is a reality for us, the only way to view God as greater than the temptation of social media is to spend time in His presence. Through prayer, Bible reading, and meditation on scripture; we realize there are several good things God gives that social media cannot. Time, we spend with God is always time well spent.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.