Christians and Social Media - What Does the Bible Say About Social Media?

spiritual growth Jun 30, 2021
christians and social media on their phone

When you think of social media, you may love it or hate it, or maybe you have a love-hate relationship with social media like me.

I hardly used social media for the longest time. I felt awkward posting about my life, or I felt too much pressure to capture the perfect photo with the perfect lighting, outfit, and smile.

But with my Christian social media account, I continue to pray about how God wants me to use social media.

In a world where people spend hours a day on their phones, where do we draw the line?

And as Christians, are we supposed to be using social media? What does the Bible say about social media? Is it possible for Christians to use social media for God’s glory?

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the 10 pitfalls to avoid as Christians using social media, including:

  • How to determine if you are spending too much time on social media
  • How to spend less time on social media
  • Whether you should do a social media fast
  • What the Bible says about social media, including bible verses about social media
  • How to determine if you are obsessed with social media & what to do about it

What Does the Bible Say About Social Media? Bible Verses About Social Media

If you’ve been reading the Bible, you’ve probably realized that ‘social media’ is not in the Bible.

Can you imagine Jesus walking around texting and scrolling on his phone? How many legit followers do you think he would have compared to the number of people who call themselves Christians?

Since Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok didn’t exist when the Bible was written, we have to turn to other scriptures that are relevant to Christianity and social media.

With anything in life, including social media, we are called to do everything for the glory of God.

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31 NLT

As a Christian, we are called to follow Jesus, not the world around us. Being a Christian means being a follower of Christ, and Jesus wants us to follow Him in all areas of our life, including social media.

“Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?” – Luke 9:23-25 NLT

In this Bible verse above, Jesus raises the question, ‘what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are lost or destroyed yourself?’

In an Instagram-obsessed world, there is more focus than ever on the number of followers you have. Somehow, there’s a view that the number of followers you have on social media dictates your identity, worth, and status of success.

But the number of followers you have does not determine your worth. Jesus tells us that gaining the whole world (i.e., lots of followers) means nothing if we aren’t following Him wholeheartedly with our life.

What is the benefit of getting thousands of followers if you lose yourself in the process?

Jesus also warns us not to love the things of this world, because everything in the world is not from the Father.

“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 everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions—is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does the will of God remains forever.” – 1 John 2:15-17 CSB

When you look at the majority of posts on social media, it’s easy to see what Jesus is referring to. It seems like everyone is posting and sharing content that shows off their body, their beauty, or their possessions.

But Jesus calls it like it is – lust and pride. And since these things are not from God, we are called not to love or participate in these things on social media.

Instead, the Bible urges us to set our hearts on things above, not on earthly things that consumes the world.

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” – Colossians 3:1-2 NIV

After scrolling on Instagram, you can see how easy it is to fix your thoughts and heart on things of the world that are not godly.

Determining our reason or motive for using social media is also important. And Paul also warns us in Galatians that as servants of Christ, we are not to seek the approval of man.

“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

It is so easy to get caught up with what other people think on social media. Whether our intentions for using our Christian social media accounts are good or not, we can start to over think what we post if we feel like we aren’t getting enough response from people.

How come this post didn’t get as many likes? Why is nobody commenting on my post? OMG will someone hurry up and like it already?

It’s easy to start posting things on social media to gain others’ approval, but the Bible tells us that if we are focused on pleasing others, we would not be servants of Christ.

Christians and Social Media - 10 Pitfalls to Avoid When Using Social Media

We’ve already discussed how important it is to truly follow Jesus by setting our hearts and minds on things above, not of this world.

Below are 10 pitfalls to avoid when using social media, including what to do if you are obsessed with social media and whether you should do a social media fast.

1) Showing Off Your Body or Possessions

Social media has become a contest for who has the best assets in life. And by assets, I’m talking about your body and your possessions.

Social media has become a way for people to post photos that say, “Hey, look at me, I’m hot. Check out my toned abs and perfect body.”

Or, “Look at my new car, I’m so cool. Yeah, I’m rich. #blessed.”

We discussed what the Bible says about focusing on worldly things above, and that we are not to fix our eyes on lustful things or one’s possessions.

And depending on who you follow, it seems like more and more people are showing off their body on Instagram. And sadly, I see too many Christian influencers posting photos that show off their curves.

But as a Christian, do you really think posting provocative photos or photos that show off your body are glorifying to God? Do you think it’s better to post photos that show off your body, or to show what’s on your heart?

The Bible calls us to honor God with our bodies, and to be modest in our appearance.

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

When we show off our body on social media for whatever reason, we are not honoring God with our bodies. Our bodies were meant to glorify God, not to be shown off in a lustful or provocative way.

Instead of posting and sharing your assets, when was the last time you posted something that shows your heart? When was the last time you posted something that shows your inner beauty instead of your physical beauty?

And to be honest, I used to be the girl that tried posing in all the right angles to get my butt to look extra big. But as I went to post, I asked myself, ‘Why do I want to show off my butt? Why do I want others to know how big my butt looks?’

And God showed me that when I was trying to post provocative photos of myself, I was really trying to gain the approval of others because I was insecure about myself.

A true woman of God knows that her beauty and worth comes from God, not from the number of people who like your photo on Instagram.

If you’re not sure if a photo should be posted, ask yourself, ‘am I sharing my assets or am I sharing my heart? Is this post glorifying me or is it glorifying God?’

2) Focusing Too Much on Your Self

During one of Christine Caine’s podcast episodes about social media, she pointed out that selfies are by nature, self-focused. And society is obsessed with them. They are all over social media.

But when we post too many pictures of our self, and end up talking about our self, what kind of message are we really saying?

Social media screams, “Look at me! Look at me! Look at how amazing my life is!”

But as Christians, our response to anything in life should be “Look at Jesus! He’s the reason my life is so amazing!”

Ask yourself, “Does my social media turn all the attention to me? Or does it turn people’s attention to Jesus?”

It’s also important not to let Instagram define your worth.

Ask yourself, “Do I rely on social media likes and followers to define my worth? To feel wanted? Loved? Pretty?”

Sister, no matter how many comments or double-taps you get on a photo, your worth and beauty are not defined by social media.

Your worth, identity and beauty are all defined by God who created you. If you’re struggling to feel happy in your own skin, spend less time on social media and more time with the One who thinks you’re wonderfully and remarkably made.

Once you start to see yourself how God sees you, you will become less worried about the number of likes you get and won’t feel the need to cry every time someone unfollows you.

3) Focusing Too Much on the Number of Followers You Have

Even if you are using your Christian social media account as a way to spread the love and truth of Jesus, we need to be careful that we aren’t becoming obsessed with gaining followers instead of making followers of Christ.

Even though social media isn’t in the Bible, we see an example of what happens when a person focuses too much on the number of accomplishments they have compared to someone else.

In 1 Samuel 18 below, Saul became jealous when he saw the number of people David had killed.

“Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!”

This made Saul very angry. “What’s this?” he said. “They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next they’ll be making him their king!” So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.” – 1 Samuel 18:6-9 NLT

Even though Saul was the current King and had killed thousands to protect his Kingdom, he became jealous when he realized David had killed more people.

With your social media account, ask yourself, “Am I more focused on gaining more followers, or making followers of Christ?”

Again, Jesus warns us not to love or focus on things of this world. As Christians, we constantly need to remind ourselves that our mission is to point others to Jesus, not ourselves.

4) Comparing Your Life to Others

It’s easy to start comparing your life to others on social media. Everyone’s highlight reel is right in front of you, showing off their best life – their best relationships, experiences, physique, possessions – you name it.

Even if you’re happy with your life, it can be so easy to start comparing yourself to what others have.

After scrolling on Instagram or on Facebook, I realized I didn’t feel good after being on social media. I felt jealous. Insecure. And a tad bit envious of the relationships, vacations, and bodies I saw in my news feed.

Comparing myself to others on social media was something I struggled with for the longest time. And it’s still something I have to continuously take to the Lord to make sure I’m thanking God for all that he’s given me, instead of coveting what others have.

The Bible makes it clear that we should not covet or be envious of what other’s have. And we should not focus on accumulating all these possessions.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” – Exodus 20:17 NIV

If you find yourself feeling insecure or comparing your life to others’, you can read more about how to get out of the comparison trap and how God showed me how to be happy for others instead of feeling envious.

Whenever you start to feel jealous looking at others’ feeds, pause, and pray.

Thank God for blessing them with what they have, and pray for that person to glorify God with their life. And thank him for all that he has given you, and pray that he will grant the desires of your heart with the things you are still waiting for.

5) Spending Too Much Time on Social Media

The Bible urges us to make the most out of our time on Earth, and not to be idle.

If you’ve been using social media for a while, you’ve probably realized how easy it can be to spend a half hour or even hours, mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, watching reels and people’s stories.

But just like any form of entertainment – Netflix, video games, or books, – it’s important to identify how much time you are spending on social media and whether it’s affecting your ability to get other things done.

It’s important to make sure you aren’t spending too much time on social media so it doesn’t prevent you from doing the things in life that are actually important.

And it’s important to identify why you are on social media in the first place. Are you looking to connect with others? Check out your friends’ latest trips and pictures of your family? Are you using your Christian social media account to share the love of Jesus?

Pray and consider how God wants you to be using social media, and whether you’re spending too much time on your phone that you could be using to accomplish what God is calling you to do.

6) Relying Too Much on Instagram for Connecting With Others

God created us to be in relationships with each other. Jesus models how to be in fellowship with each other, he was always making time to enjoy a good meal with his disciples or other people he was ministering to.

While social media does make it possible to connect and engage with people all over the world that you may not have otherwise been able to meet, it should not be used as your only way of connecting with others.

No number of likes, comments, or DMs will ever replace the joy and love you experience when bonding with someone in person.

As people use social media more and more, is it a coincidence that we are living in one of the most loneliest generations ever?

Social media does not replace relationships that you have with others in community.

The Bible tells us that meeting together in community is important, and as human beings who were created to be in community, to crave connections with others, we need to make sure we are making time to connect with person in real life, not just through a screen.

And as human beings, we all crave and need relationships in life, and relationships require communication. Using social media too much can prevent you from being able to communicate effectively to relationships that you have with people in person.

Check out this blog post to learn more about making new Christian friends to do life with.

7) Becoming Obsessed, Addicted, or Making Social Media an Idol

Is it possible to become obsessed with social media? Can you become addicted to social media?

Yes. Just like anything else that you over use or come to rely on, you can be addicted to social media and end up with an obsession.

According to the Addiction Center, it is estimated that as many as 5 to 10% of Americans meet the criteria for social media addiction today. They define social media addiction as:

“a behavioral addiction that is characterized as being overly concerned about social media, driven by an uncontrollable urge to log on to or use social media, and devoting so much time and effort to social media that it impairs other important life areas.”

Social media can be so addicting because dopamine is released when you use social media, whenever you get a notification, like, or comment. But over time, your brain rewires itself to crave the rewards that social media provides.

This results in an addictive habit or need to use social media to continue receiving the pleasure or rewards from social media.

Becoming addicted to anything or anyone is dangerous to our health, and when we become addicted or obsessed with social media, we are essentially making it an idol by putting it before God.

“You must not have any other god but me. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.” – Exodus 20:3-5 NLT

Nothing and no one in this world should ever come before God in your life, and if you spend more time using and relying on social media than you do with God, then you may have a problem.

But how do you know if you have a problem? How do you know if you are using social media too much?

If you are unsure if you are addicted or obsessed with social media, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is social media the first thing you look at waking up in the morning, and the last thing you look at before bed?
  • How many hours a day do you spend on social media? Note: If you have an iPhone, it tracks the time you spend on each social media app for you. There are also other apps that track the time you spend on social media.
  • How many times a day do you reach for your phone and open up social media to see if you have new likes or notifications?
  • When you’re with other people in person, are you spending time on social media in front of them instead of engaging in a real conversation with the person sitting across from you?
  • Do you get stressed out or anxious about getting more likes and followers?
  • Do you revolve your day around posting on social media and responding to comments?
  • Are you able to get through a day without being on social media at all? What about a few days?

For more information on social media addiction, check out Addiction Center.

Do you want to spend more time with God instead of social media?

Download your free, Spiritual Goals Worksheet for examples of how you can spend more time with God and how you can strengthen your relationship with God.

8) Conforming to the World Around You

Jesus calls us to follow Him and only Him. No matter what everyone in the world is doing around you, if it contradicts with God’s Word, you shouldn’t do it.

It’s so easy on social media to get caught up in what is popular and what others are doing. If someone has 100,000 followers, or even 10,000, it doesn’t mean you should follow them and start doing what they do in life.

As Christians, God created us to stand out, not to blend in or conform to the world around us. And this includes how we present ourselves on Instagram.

The Bible tells us that we are the salt of this Earth, that the world needs us to be different.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” – Matthew 5:13 NIV

But to be the salt of this Earth, we need to make sure we don’t conform to the world.

When we conform to the world and what others are doing around us, we become less effective in accomplishing what God has called us to do. And we become less effective with sharing the love and truth of Jesus Christ.

If you say you are a Christian, but you look and act like the world, how are you setting an example of what a follower of Christ should be like?

Does your Instagram feed promote worldly desires? Or is your feed and content set apart for God’s glory?

9) Relying on Instagram to Get God’s Word

I love how more and more people are not afraid to share the love and truth of God through Christian social media accounts.

But even with all the bible verses and cute Christian quotes on Instagram, it’s so important to develop your own relationship with God instead of relying on these Christian influencers to hear from God.

You cannot live on the bible verses, Christian memes, or other cute sayings that you see other Christians post on social media.

Each one of us needs to know how to read the Bible and study God’s Word for ourselves. God’s Word is the main way we get fed on Christians, no amount of cute Instagram posts or stories will ever compare to reading God’s Word for yourself.

And you need to make sure you are going to God’s Word as your source of truth and for direction. Just because a Christian influencer posts a specific bible verse or message doesn’t mean it aligns with God’s Word. And it may not align to God’s will for your life at all.

God has a unique plan just for you, and if you rely too much on what others are saying on social media, you’ll miss out on hearing how God wants to speak to you directly through his Word.

10) Using Social Media As A Way to Rest

We were created to rest. We see how important observing the Sabbath and resting is to God as he reminds us quite often in the Bible. And it’s not a recommendation, rest is a command!

God tells us he wants us to rest, but he doesn’t provide a lot of insight on how to rest. But he does tell us that he wants to refresh us.

It may feel relaxing at the end of a long day to curl up on your couch and spend some time scrolling, but do you honestly feel refreshed after being on social media?

I don’t know about you, but being on social media only leaves me feeling more drained and tired. For me, social media does not provide a rest for my brain.

Maybe you enjoy watching reels of cute dogs and babies, but start paying attention to how you feel after social media when you try and rest. Does it drain you? Give you energy? Make your head hurt?

Getting a break from screen time is a good thing. Do whatever you have to do to turn off notifications, your brain and body will thank you.

How to Spend Less Time on Social Media

If you think you have a problem using social media, it’s important for you to pray and ask God if you should spend less time on social media and how much you should use it.

Social media can be used in a good way that honors God, but if you’ve identified problems with your social media habits, it’s best to take it to God like any other issue in your life and pray about it.

Pray and confess that you have a problem. Whether you’ve been comparing your life to others, have been making it an idol in your life, or have been using it in a way that isn’t pleasing to God, confess and acknowledge it before God.

And repent.

Delete any posts that are not pleasing to God or that do not align with God’s Word.

Set a timer to limit your time on social media, or delete the apps altogether if you feel like you need to take a break for a while.

Ask a close friend or mentor to be your accountability partner to help you spend less time on social media.

Should You Do a Social Media Fast?

I’ve heard of other Christians doing a social media fast, when they take a break from using social media for a certain period of time.

Pray and ask God if you should do a fast by taking a break from social media for a certain period of time. As you pray about whether you should do a social media fast, it’s important to understand the importance of a fast.

The Bible tells us that fasting and prayer are important to draw closer to God.

If you decide to do a social media fast, make sure you spend time in prayer to make the most out of the fast.

Just like a person that decides to fast from food, the goal is to turn to God during those times where you feel tempted to eat.

In a social media fast, turn to God in prayer whenever you feel tempted to go on or check social media. Ask God how he wants you to spend the time that you used to spend on social media.

How Long Should a Social Media Fast Be?

Pray and ask God how long your social media fast should be. Some people fast for a week, while others decide to do a 30-day or 40-day social media fast. I’ve even heard people fasting from social media for 6 months or even a year, but choose a time frame that God puts on your heart and is realistic for you.

Is Social Media Beneficial to Christians? How Christians Can Use Social Media for Good

As Christians, we have the responsibility to go out and make disciples, to share the gospel and love of Jesus with others around us.

And if you're wondering how social media can be beneficial to Christians, just think about how many people around the world social media reaches.

And since we can reach millions of people all over the world through social media, it’s pretty fascinating to think about how you could be using social media to spread the love and truth of Jesus.

In our world where many people use Instagram to promote themselves, we should use social media to promote Jesus. To promote kindness and love. And to promote God’s truth.

We are called to be the light of the world, and our Christian social media accounts are no exception.

When I realized that I could help share God’s love and truth through social media, I finally had a good reason to use social media. And as a blogger and author, I get to reach the women that God wants me to reach with the stories he’s put on my heart through social media.

If I can encourage you, give you hope, or point you to Jesus through my social media, then I feel like I am using social media in a way that glorifies God.

 With Love,