Social Media & the Believer Day 3: The Dark Side of Social Media
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2, ESV)
Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. (2 Corinthians 10:12, ESV)
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10, ESV)
Comparison truly is the thief of joy, and social media has only amplified the problem. Our feed is seemingly full of people with better jobs, homes, cars, families, relationships, vacations, appearances, and more. It’s an endless barrage of content telling us who we should be, what we should look like, and what we should have. The name of the game is comparison—and we need to find a way out of it.
Comparison damages our self-esteem. We hear often that social media and cyber bullying are having long-lasting effects on today’s youth, but the truth is that it’s hurting all of us. You aren’t pretty enough. You don’t make enough money. You don’t have a nice car. You’re not parenting your kids correctly. You don’t have the right political views. On and on the list goes of what we don’t have, and very quickly we can spiral into discontentment and discouragement. We have taken our focus off of what God has given us and onto what the world tells us we don’t have. When we evaluate how we compare ourselves to others, it typically doesn’t align with what we need but with what we want. When we shift our eyes back to God, we will very quickly see that He has provided us with everything that we do need. We lack nothing when we have Christ.
Comparison damages our relationships. Through social media we only see the surface level. No one shares their mundane day. No one shares the picture of their messy house. No one shares the picture of themselves stressfully working through their finances. We only see the good days, the picture-perfect family, and the fun vacations. This view makes it seem like everyone else is living a perfect life and we are alone in our inadequacy. Under the surface is a much different story. That is why this comparison game is dangerous. It can fracture relationships and breed disunity among believers. Inversely, when we find our contentment in Christ, we will see growth in our relationships.
Comparison damages our relationship with God. With our eyes set on the standards of the world, we stray further and further away from Him. Instead of allowing Him to transform us, we seek conformity with the world. The more we look to social media for validation, the less content we are with our lives. We have to break this cycle. Stop searching for the life you “need to have” according to the world’s standards and start seeking Him. The more you seek Him, the more you will find yourself.
God restores what comparison has damaged. When we choose to look to Him rather than to social media, we open up our hearts to be mended. Rather than feeling inadequate or jealous, we can feel whole in Him. When we are in Christ, we are to be set apart from the world. The standards of the world become meaningless to us. Instead of living in the comparison game, we can live in peace and contentment, knowing that we have all we need.
My challenge to you today is to write out the things you want right now, no matter how superficial they may be. Then write out the things God has in mind for you and the requirements He has set in place. Compare the two lists for a little reality check. Now, determine a few ways that you can shift your focus back to the Lord and away from social standards. May we all seek to be transformed by God, and then watch the world fade into the rearview mirror.