“Why Are You Trying to Fit in When You Were Called to Be Set Apart?”
During my recent social media sabbatical, I was blessed to have the Holy Spirit speak to me in a profound way.
Being part of the virtual world has given me the opportunity to see people not take a stand so that they would not be persecuted. It has introduced me to people who proclaim Christ, yet, they stay ready to argue, fight, and beat you down with their words when you do not agree with them. It also revealed that if there is something that is popular in the world- i.e. social issues like voting or people choosing to change their gender- that you better tread lightly if you do not agree with popular opinion. God forbid that you have a thought about these matters based upon your God-given faith, because even some of those claiming to be your brothers and sisters will attempt to slaughter you with their tongue when you step outside their lines.
Becoming entangled in this World Wide Web- now I understand the spiritual significance of this name- also has brought me before many prophets who are not really prophets according to Scripture. Additionally, it has been a huge part of my fellowship with others as well as my ministry. It has played a significant role in my life. Unfortunately, it has been too significant and that is for reasons that run deeper than status updates or “likes.”
My foray into social media land began innocently enough. It started off as a vehicle that I sometimes used to connect me with friends and family. I was quite happy with my 75-person Facebook friends list. I enjoyed catching up with people and seeing their life through pictures. I love captured memories. At that time, 100 people was my cap. Then, I started to use it for ministry to support the work God already had established through my YouTube channel. Using Facebook, provided me a bigger stage, a larger presence. That previous cap was raised to include more people. Then, I began to hear about all of the business benefits. Cap? What cap? I need to take over the world. I can’t do that with a “friends” list in the hundreds. I must be as active as possible. “Stay before the people” as I would often hear in the world of new age ministry as well as entrepreneurship. I have to stay involved by any means necessary.
The issue with all of this, as I discovered during my Facebook break, is that it was all a smokescreen. Feeding my God-given need to connect with others, particularly, being apart of some type of sisterhood, was at the core of my true reasons for using the platform as frequently as I used it. Engaging with other people on-line helped to ease some of the pain that I often feel when I think about my off-line sisterly relationships. It served to fill a void in my life. While wanting human relationships is not a bad thing in and of itself, because God built us to be relational, my problem even pre-social media is that my desire for human connection sometimes overshadows God’s call for me to exercise discernment.
There is a reason Scripture warns us about the company we keep and the places and things we entertain.
After having God speak to me about this matter, I began to reflect on a number of choices I have made lately. Whether it was to associate myself with off-line groups, or to sugarcoat and PC my way through controversial topics on social media, I am not pleased with what I see. For a while, I have been waging this war between conforming to the world’s standards and publicly embracing being set apart. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Is there not a way to walk in my purpose but not make people mad while doing so? Am I truly ready to die so that I may live?
Following an unnecessary back-and-forth with a Facebook “friend” about a topic on which we actually agreed, I received my answer. I didn’t have a choice. No amount of “likes,” or “friends,” or business was worth me compromising my faith. If He who I follow stood for something and faced persecution, who am I to expect anything less? It also was after this disconcerting interaction that I realized how much I am not feeling a lot of what is said to be Christianity. Social media has made it extremely easy to get a view into where people are in walking out their salvation in repentance and love. It is not a pretty sight. It is one often filled with harsh words, hard hearts, and no humility. Is social media to blame for what I see as the watering down of Christianity? Of course not. That’s like saying guns kill people when people kill people. It’s the people who are proclaiming- some falsely- the name of Christ who are attempting to cast a shadow on His name. It is up to me, and my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, not to fall for this trick of the enemy. His light can never be dimmed.
We cannot base our opinion of Christianity, good or bad, on what we see on this web of deception. Nevertheless, we must walk in discernment when deciding who we will let into our space. Just because someone claims she is your sister, it does not make it true, and it does not mean she should have access to your world. Moreover, just because someone has a different belief system than you, it doesn’t mean God did not mean for you to connect in a meaningful way. In whatever it is we do as believers, we are to do it as if we are doing it unto Christ. Keep your eyes open and your heart willing to go in the way God leads you. He may be taking people, places, or things away from you, in order to protect you and take you somewhere that you cannot see with your current cloudy vision. That’s what He showed me during my social media break, and I am so joyful for it. Be it in an on-line setting or an off-line association, I was called to walk in love, yet be set apart, and that is a beautiful thing. It is a blessing, not a curse.
How about you? Are you allowing Him to move you in all areas of your life instead of being moved by man? What is holding you back?
If you would like to connect with me further, please visit me on Twitter at NowWithNicole.
photo credit: ”Preserve me, O God- for in thee do I put my trust.” – Bible via photopin (license)