It was only a two-month hiatus from Facebook. The plan was to take a break and relax at the [metaphorical] beach. I would sip on pina coladas while my mind was cleared from all the cutter Facebook brings. Everything was fine the first week. Soon enough, to my shock, I began to notice that I was not quite at the beach, as I presumed. I then realized that the beach and pina coladas were a mirage. And so, for the next 8 weeks, it turned out that God had me in a dry desert so that he could wrestle with me about some deep things in my life that I had not noticed beforehand.
Sure, God could have told me what he wanted without leading me off Facebook and into a lonely desert. Still, sometimes the volume of distraction is too loud for us to hear Him. Sometimes we need silence. Sometimes we need to be led out into a dry season. No one enjoys the desert, and rightly so. There are times in the desert when all you hear is your own darkness, Satan’s calling, or worse…nothing at all. However, it is in those places that God can work on us and mold us into better soil. God did a good work on me in the desert. I did not enjoy it for a second, ha. But I was humbled and it was good.
In that time of silence He also allowed me to take a step back so that my eyes would be a little further opened into the subtle nuance of toxicity that Facebook and social media carry. Funny, because we almost need it just to survive in the modern world. But remember, Satan is always at work accomplishing his goals. Through both small and large means:
1) Facebook Can Give You an “I am God” Complex
Since society can date back, three components have had the largest impact on connecting and shrinking the world: Communication, Travel, and Technology. There is much good that streams from these three avenues. Facebook, although while yielding similar positive outcomes, gives us so much knowledge of others and a more holistic view of our surroundings that it makes us feel “bigger” than we are. Facebook gives us a false sense of omniscience and omnipresence.
This directly clashes with what we’ve known historically and even today. Our bodies, the natural world, and the Bible have constantly shown us how small and finite we truly are. All the while Facebook puts everything at our fingertips. I can find out where the grandparents of my friends live and who my old high school girlfriend is dating now. What was defined as stalking 25 years ago is now a regular stint on a cell phone app. We can find out almost anything about anyone anywhere. Do you not think this sense of power has crept into our spirit or Spirit? It is hard to worship God when you have an elevated opinion of yourself. Humility is steadily becoming a foreign concept. Soon we’ll have to visit museums just to see it.
Our confidence should be in the Lord not in ourselves (Hebrews 4:16, Psalm 44:6).
2) Facebook Gives a False Sense of Meaning
The human heart always searches for fullness and meaning. It’s a natural progression that we continually strive for no matter the obstacle. Even someone who commits suicide is looking for fullness because they believe that there is a state they can be in that is better than their current state. We search for fullness everywhere but can never seem to achieve that satisfaction so we always go on to the next best thing in line.
You can try to find fullness in something or someone, but it will ultimately fail you. Luckily most of the time there will eventually be clear evidence of this case.
The deadly thing about Facebook is that its failure to satisfy is extremely unclear. Facebook has an infinite amount of sectors to possibly make us happy for a while. With so many options we’ll continually go from page to page, video to video, event to event looking for the “next thing”. The scary realization is that we can literally go on and on surfing through Facebook without ever hitting a dead-end. “Hmm, ok I didn’t reach 100+ Facebook likes with that picture, lets try another one that I’ll post at this particular time when most people are active.” We believe that if we could get a few more likes then what doesn’t satisfy us will finally satisfy us. Weird.
We have become a society who, instead of viewing meaning outwardly, has turned into finding meaning within ourselves and our own abilities and what we achieved and in doing so we have slowly forgotten that we do not stand as Ultimate.
This ends in weakening our view of friendship and love. There is a serious lack of depth and root. Thus our framework of how God carries out His love for us and how our relationship with Him should look is weakened as well.
3) Facebook Draws An Aroma of Negativity
From political posts to social posts … Darkness lingers via different sources. It is tiring and exhausting to see debates and arguments carried out online. With an increase in societal issues and political shifts, we are constantly bombarded with hot topics that many people who suddenly think they have PhD’s on the matter feel the need to comment on. Your Facebook feed sadly becomes a wall of illogical reasoning that is filled with emotional bias and slander.
From jealous whispers to pictures of superficiality … On a daily basis we are called into a world of discontentment. Social media has traces of a popularity contest which ostracizes and cause depression. Comparison robs us of joy. That negativity can build if we do not take a break and treat those thoughts. Otherwise we can end up in an emotional prison robbed of purity.
4) Worst of All, Facebook Can Hinder God From Speaking to You.
47% of all Internet users are solely on Facebook. Entertainment is one of Satan’s favorite substitutes for joy. With quietness and alone time God is better able to speak to you. It is not a simple a + b = c equation just to get God on your personal Snapchat. But if we put ourselves under the umbrella of His presence and His Word then it allows us the opportunity to truly hear from Him. Facebook is a loud tool that has the ability to keep the volume on high if we allow it the power. It is not hard for Satan, once he grabs a foothold, to keep that volume increasing until you quirt God altogether.
We all have struggles, fears, addictions, pride, idolatry, doubts, depression and stress; we are all broken … but we need quality time with God for Him to be able to clean some of that “junk” out. As an old pastor once said, “Many people want to be good but no one wants to be holy. The holy live in eternity… all others live in time.”
Let us be watchful. Some of you may not even relate to the desert. Some of you relate and have been in the desert for months. Some for years. John the Baptist was in a lonely desert for 20 years with God, then preached from 6 months, and Jesus called him the greatest man to ever live! This concept of Facebook is very easy to miss. I had to learn the hard way until God shook me. I speak as a dying person speaking to other dying people. There is a partial element to Facebook that is a silent, life-sucking toxic environment that will trap you in boredom and, in turn, limit the potential that God desires you to have. Let us be watchful.
Hebrews 12:1b – Let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.