Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Our Use of Social Media

Philippians 2:21

For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

facebook_icon112015 Ray McDonaldSocial media has connected a boat load of people in the last few years.  I have a Facebook account – a Twitter account – a Linkedin account – and a Google+ account.

I have numerous friends on Facebook (and that term is used at various levels on Facebook).  There are so many friends that we have to put them in categories like folks who went to our High School – folks who are family – folks who are from our church – folks who live in our community – folks we really don’t know – etc.  We can determine who sees our posts – no one but you (if you pick this option why are you posting on Facebook – lol) – everyone – our friends only – and we can even break some friends down into a group called acquaintances and block them from seeing what other friends see.  It can get confusing. We have a news feed where we see what our friends post.  There is a private messaging portion of Facebook as well.  You can post pictures and videos too.

twitter100x100-Black-BackgrOn Twitter we can follow some folks and some folks can follow us.  On Facebook we can leave long messages.  On Twitter we are basically limited to 140 characters per post (I say basically because some Twitter Apps or Apps connected to our Twitter account will accept more than 140 characters and let people know that there is more to read after the basic characters (YouVersion.com is a program that allows you to Tweet longer Scriptures than 140 characters for instance).  Twitter is supposed to be short thoughts and people come up with loads of shortcuts to get their message across in 140 characters.

Google+ is an app that allows a variety of options to communicate with friends.  I use it mainly to set up video hangouts with my friends (basically a video call from device to device).  You can put your friends into circles and message them in groups if you wish.  I also post my blog page on this and other formats.

I have apps on all my devices.  I have them on my cell phone – my iPad – my laptop – and my desktop.  All sync with each other and keep me connected to loads of people.  These and other social media apps connect us with others.  I don’t always appreciate what I now know about well over a 2,000 people – but I do appreciate the occasional note of wisdom and update on friends and family that I might not hear any other way.

Social media can be very self-focused.  It can be very friends focused.  We can use it to encourage others or we can use it for negative cut-downs too.  Some things are good and some things are considered spam or very negative.  Here’s a question that came to my mind – would Paul have used social media? Was that sacrilegious?  I hope not.  I happen to think that Paul and other disciples would have used social media if it were focused on Jesus and spreading His word.  If they could have used it to glorify God – I think they would have used it.  I know some pastor friends of mine that use social media to share church events – announcements – spreading Scripture and more.  Tools are not bad.  We can use most tools for good or for bad.

OK – so you’re asking – if you’re still reading – how does this fit into a devotional thought today – right? Today’s passage says for everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.  Most things can be used to God’s glory if we are focused on Him and not on self.  Today’s passage is from a section of Scripture that almost sounds like something we might read on social media today.  Philippians 2:19-24 – 19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24 And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.

Paul was encouraging his readers and also praising God for Timothy.  One might see this as a letter (or section of Paul’s letter/Epistle) of recommendation for Timothy.  I have seen others speak highly of their favorite friends on social media.  I have seen others strive to encourage us on social media to live by certain morals – ethics – and Scriptures.  Social media can be a useful tool for spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It can also be a huge waste of time if we allow it.  It is our choice how we use it if we chose to use it!

Here’s today’s question – are we using all things including social media to glorify God?  Or are we trying to put the focus on us?   For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.  We need to strive to be more like Timothy – living our lives – even on social media – to glorify God so that others see Jesus in us.  We need to strive to be more like Paul – when posting (writing) – being an encourager of others.

Hope I didn’t stretch too far today for a connection!  During our Prayer/Fast that begins on February 7th – I will be fasting from social media except as a teaching tool.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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February 1, 2016 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , ,

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