Friday, January 16, 2015

Facebook and Christianity: Lovers of Self


2 Timothy 1-4 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.
In the Bible, it states that when the end of the world is near and when Christ is about to return, there are certain signs that we are to look to.  One of the signs that we look for is in the attitudes and views of the general population.  For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.  When I look at the above statement and look at Facebook, I can not help but see that much of what I saw on Facebook was in step with the above statement.  The question I ask here is, is Facebook truly an appropriate pastime for the Christian?  I have found, through my analysis that Facebook is a site that mirrors the above endtime message and is one that Christians  may want to pay attention to.  Character building is among the tasks at the forefront of the Christian's life mission.  Does Facebook come in the way of your character?  Reflect and pray on it, and ask yourself (and the Lord) if Facebook is truly a place for a Christian to spend their time.

Lovers of Self

There is no denying that the popularity of Facebook is based on showing one's life off to others.  There is no doubt that many who are on Facebook love themselves so much that they want to thrust their lives into the faces of whoever will take notice.  Facebook's crowing feature is probably that it lets you share your "love of self" with the rest of the world.  Some call it 'sharing your life' but, the reality is that Facebook is a way in which you can take loving yourself to the extreme.  Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  (Philippians 2:3-11).  

Boastful

Facebook was built for boasting.  In boasting, we long to be liked by others.  To achieve popularity with our fellow men.  Much of what is boasted about is not Godly in any way.  Many may state that they like to share their love of God with others, yet I can not help but wonder, are they doing it to share Christ or are they doing so to boast their faith and get likes.  Is that much different than how the pharisees boasted of their faith in God?  As Christians we are not supposed to boast.  The Bible is plain about the subject.  Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches.  (Jeremiah 9:23).  We all have traits that are gifts from God.  Yet, we are to see them as gifts and not as something we should be arrogant about.  We are not to use our skills to make others feel inferior to us. 

Arrogant

Much of what is on Facebook is pure arrogance.  How many people have you seen who outright state that they are better than another or would do a better job at doing something than another who has been given the task?  Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5).  Christ calls us to be humble, yet humbleness is almost impossible when surrounded by a crowd of people who are constantly sharing their own perceived greatness with the rest of the world.  We are called to honor our elders and give those who are in power respect, yet how many people speak words of hate towards politicians and those who they do not agree with?  The amount of hate speech that is on Facebook is numbing.  To let it enter your mind partitions your thoughts away from thoughts of Christ.  If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.  (1 John 4:20-21). 
What would Jesus say about using Facebook?

Lovers of Pleasure


 Many consider Facebook to be a pleasure, something that is entertaining.  How many people can not go a few hours withing logging on to check their account, to share their lives, or to boast about their accomplishment?  How many people log on to Facebook to complain about the lot that they have been given, or to complain about others?  How many people state that they hate their leaders, their bosses, their jobs?  How many complain about how they have been mistreated in life?  Does that seem in step with a Christian life?  I can not help but shake my head.  As a Christian, I feel that there is no place on Facebook for me.  What we behold we become, and I have seen much there that I would not want to infiltrate my mind. 

How many parents ignore their children by logging onto Facebook?  How many people check their Facebook when driving?!  How many people log in during school and work and ignore their teachers?  And, yes, even in Church, people log onto Facebook!  Facebook is addictive, just like other substances, and is seen as a pleasure by billions of people.  Many will fight tooth and nail to state that they are not addicted to Facebook and should not give it up.  Yet, such pleasure turns out to be a curse, and slowly breaks down one's life.  Time wasted on Facebook could instead be used to study God's word.  It could be better used to uplift people and witness for Christ.  Instead of the hundreds of hours that people invest in Facebook, they could instead use that time to teach their children temperance, humbleness, and other virtues.  Children that watch their parents use Facebook and then are given access to Facebook are at a huge disadvantage.  They are taught to boast about their lives, to be arrogant, lovers of self, and lovers of pleasure.  What a horrible lesson for a child!

Without Self Control

I can not even begin to count how many times I have been on Facebook and have seen pictures of people parading about in various states of drunkenness, showing off debauchery or outright boasting of sinful pleasure.  All of this is a slap in the Lord's face.  As if it was bad enough to sin, it is even worse to parade that sin in front of the world and dress it up in a prideful manner!  We are called to be temperate.  We are called to be a "peculiar people."  Christians are called to go away from the cares of the world, not towards it.  Facebook is of the world.  There is no way to deny it.  Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17).

Lovers of Money

 Many use Facebook as a conduit to brag about their lifestyles.  Many share their jobs, status, wealth and their prestige to others without even thinking about how others in a worse position feel about it.  Many lose their jobs and are at a difficult time in life, then look upon Facebook to see the bragging of friends that have achieved much worldly success in life.  The result is intense jealousy, anger, and self loathing.  Yet Christ teaches us that it is not worldly success that matters.  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7).  Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21).  Facebook, on the other hand, makes us feel that is the treasures of Earth that matter.  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  (Matthew 22:37).  No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24) How many people dwell on the heavenly things when they are on Facebook?  How many people can put away pride, arrogance, love of self when they log into a website that is designed to exalt the self?  Facebook, is, in sum, a stumbling block for many Christians, and a place where many of God's children would be better off not visiting.

Pray about your Facebook use.  Is it making you spend less time with God?

If Facebook is taking time away from God and a life that represents a Christlike existence, then maybe you should consider leaving the site.  Ask yourself: Do you think Jesus would have used Facebook?  If so, would have he spent time on the site every day?  What do you think Jesus would have thought about Facebook.  To be honest, I really can not answer that question myself.  However, I do know that if Jesus was on Facebook, he would not use it to boast.  He would not use it to be arrogant.  He would not use it to glorify himself.  Once you stop doing those things, you find that Facebook is completely useless.  Spending time on the internet to glorify yourself is a massive waste of time.  It is no better than a yelling match, because many only care about glorifying themelves and are bent on looking better than their contemporaries. 

If you are spending a lot of time on Facebook, ask the Lord to help you with leaving.  Take note of how you feel when you spend a few weeks off Facebook.  Take note of how you feel when and if you go back.  Chances are you will not like Facebook as much the second time around.  I, too, went back to the site, and was more disgusted with it than ever.  I now see that it is no place for a Christian to spend their free time.  If you want to share God with others, do so in person, at church, or create a ministry through a website.  You can also write letters to prisoners or share the gospel with your family via e-mail and even in person!  The internet makes many of us scared to interact with others.  Many use Facebook as a way to communicate with other people because they have grown afraid to interact with them in person.  Learn to talk to others face to face.  Realize that we may never see some people again on the Earth but in Heaven we will be united with those who we missed out on seeing.

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