Would the apostle Paul have engaged social media for the sake of the expanding the message of Jesus? Based on the way he creatively utilized the pax Romana (Roman peace), along with Greek culture and language, the answer is, I believe, a resounding yes.
Can you imagine Jesus giving us a few tips on our use of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube? Based on his Sermon on the Mount, the following are a few parameters He might recommend to us:
- Be careful not to show off or pretend. The definition of hypocrisy is to pretend to be something we are not or to present an idealized version of ourselves that is not true. Jesus calls us to avoid being “showy” or doing anything “spectacular” to call attention to ourselves.
- Seek the notice of our Father in heaven. Our goal is to impress Him, to hear Him say, “well-done” at the end of each tweet, and at the end of our lives. Our eyes are to be on Him, not on followers, retweets, shares, or likes.
- Ensure your goal is God’s glory, not building a name for yourself. Jesus calls us to do good works that cause others to praise our Father in heaven — not us (Matthew 5:16).
- Build a private, secret prayer life. Jesus says: “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen. Then your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:6). Without a secret prayer life, the gap between our public self and our private soul widens dangerously.
- Be broken and humble. Jesus turns the value system of the world upside down. He is on the side of the crushed in spirit, the brokenhearted, the powerless, those who can’t help themselves. By God’s grace, we need to be those kinds of people on social media in the way we relate to others.
- Do not judge. We are not to make final judgments on anyone, nor to speak as if we can know people’s real character. Beware: There is a morality that hardens. Jesus commands us to pray for our enemies – and that includes our political, personal, and theological enemies.
- Avoid harsh words and bitterness. These two sins have killed more people than drugs, alcohol, or tobacco combined. The Evil One always tempts us to use our power without prudence and thoughtfulness (See Moses in Numbers 20). This always results in disorder and greater chaos.
- Pray for His Name, His kingdom, and His will to be done on earth. The ultimate government we long for is Jesus’ government. Our daily prayer must be that Satan and all other earthly rulers (regardless of the country or political party) will be displaced by Jesus’ kingdom. This perspective keeps us prayerful and patient.
- Keep Jesus as your number one goal. Jesus needs to be our treasure before any work we do for Him. Set up a firewall so that building a platform and interacting with followers does not distract you. Thou shalt have no other goals (or treasures) besides Him.
- Love. If you find yourself too busy to love people, please slow down…for His sake. Take a break. Plead with God for mercy. Without Jesus’ love coming through us, regardless of the size of our ministry, we have gained nothing (1 Cor. 13:1-3).
What might you add to this list?