In the Old Testament, when God saved His people out of bondage, He saved them for a purpose. God led Moses to the top of Mount Sinai for forty days. During this time, God not only gave Moses detailed instructions for the tabernacle; He also gave Moses two stone tablets inscribed with special instructions we know as the Ten Commandments. Out of His love for His people, God gave them these moral and spiritual laws to keep them safe as well as set them apart.
In the same spirit, I want to suggest ten commandments for you to consider as you use social media. It’s pretty obvious these didn’t come directly from God. But the principles are definitely based on His Word. I borrowed these from a Christian author who I greatly appreciate and read all that he publishes. These are ten ways to protect your time, your heart, your body, and your soul, as well as deepen your faith through what you type, text, and tweet.
These are simply ten helpful suggestions for how you can use social media in ways that will show others your love for God while not allowing social media to define you or to take an unhealthy place in your life. Social media and technology are amazing tools, and with a little discipline and prayer, they can be a gift to connect with others and reflect your love for an amazing God. So just imagine they’re on virtual stone tablets. I will list the ten of them and then comment on them individually over the next few days.
1> Put God first in all you say and post.
2> Love others as you want to be loved.
3> Use social media to facilitate, not replace, real relationships.
4> Use social media instead of being controlled by it as an idol.
5> Turn your virtual other cheek to posts that offend you.
6> Do not post out of emotion.
7> Always reflect Jesus, loving God whether online or off.
8> Do not use social media to fuel temptations.
9> Form your own opinions; do not follow the crowd.
10> Do not base your identity on what people think.
Let’s dig into the first one…
1> PUT GOD FIRST IN ALL YOU SAY AND POST
Sounds easy enough, right? But if it really were that easy, you wouldn’t need me to remind you. So let’s think about ways you can remind yourself of what is fundamentally true.
We need to always remember who you are and whose you are. You don’t just represent yourself or your family; you represent Christ. Paul says it clearly: “And whatever you do whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17)
Too often we want to compartmentalize our lives. We’re tempted to think we’re okay because we do the church thing on Sundays. Then during the week, we do the work thing, and on the weekends we do our own thing. But in reality, because our lives belong to God, everything we do should be God’s things.
He should be first in all we do. If we’re watching television, going to the grocery store, studying for an exam, asking someone out on a date, updating our Facebook status, or tweeting about out latest business deal, whatever we do, we should do it for God. Notice the way Paul qualifies his instructions: “whether in word or deed.” Whether we are speaking or acting, shouting or singing, do it all for the glory of God. We could translate this into our social-media culture by saying, “Whatever you do, whether tweeting, commenting, posting, or uploading, do it all in the Name of the Lord Jesus.”
Before saying anything online (or in person), ask yourself whether you are truly representing and reflecting the love and goodness of God. If not, don’t say it. Ever. And don’t just think about the words you say; think about the pictures or videos you post. If in any way they don’t reflect God’s standards, don’t share them.
I love the way The Living Bible translates Proverbs 3:6. This should be our standard online: “In everything you do, put God first, and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success.”
In other words, “Thou shalt put God first in all you say or post.”