Selfies, self and social media

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We live in a self obsessed and over exposed culture. Social media has created a framework to support our current insatiable desire for showing off. How did the previous generations use photographs before and how we do nowadays? I always thought that they immortalised precious memories to be shared with a very close circle of intimate relatives.

Now we parade and are under an avalanche of too many pictures that are either painfully trivial or almost inappropriately public. I wonder why? Insecurity? Comparison? Thoughtlessness? I guess most people are just carried by the popular wave….

The incessant social media addiction (and the secret of the owners’ financial success) that most users struggle with, is fuelled by pride dressed as either curiosity or attention seeking insecurity. You can only tell how bad you suffer as a social media user if you try to break free. This is a very revealing battle in our souls as Christ-followers. We struggle to make time for drawing near to God in devotion and intimacy, and often social media is a stealth thief of soul edifying moments.

This isn’t a vilification of social media. The context and culture of social media has pitfalls but can be brilliantly redemptive and positive too. The key is how we use it. We need to step back and evaluate. We need to filter and make wise choices. For some, social media is feeding the pride monster to such an extent, that signing off is probably best.

Our security isn’t rooted in likes and comments. They are like opiates. Short term and damaging solutions to much deeper problems. We all long for acceptance and freedom. Only in Christ we can discover the ‘real deal’. As we battle our insecurities, we do well to remember these old wise words written long before the selfie generation by Robert Murray M’Cheyne: “For every look at self, take ten looks at Christ.”

Refresh

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It’s holiday season for many of us. A great chance to refresh and recharge ourselves. I often thought that would come naturally but now I wonder if there is a science to that as well. Fancy that: preparing and executing a good rest…

There are some helpful thoughts here – written to Christ followers who were living under constant pressure. While their pressure would have been significantly different than ours – pressure is still pressure.

Hebrews 12:1-3 (ESV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Don’t believe the lies: often due to weariness and discouragement – it can feel like your life has become isolated. It’s easy to develop a victim complex. Throwing accusatory mental glances at all those who don’t do what we do, as much as we do, the way we do it…. Subtly selfish. Deeply toxic. Elijah experienced it – straight after his greatest victory for God. Our feelings can be terrible liars. The antidote is the act of slow reading and meditating on God’s Word. It will speak the truth about who God is but even more importantly who we are in His plans. Use this time of rest to embrace truth – a healthy truth that we are not alone in this race.

Declutter your soul: There are things we need to let go off.You can’t plant something new in a ground filled with rocks and weeds. Look at your soul as a planting patch and allow the Spirit to show you those things that are burdensome ‘baggage’. It could be unforgiveness, bitterness, frustration with people, an unhealthy sense of insecurity, lack of patience, anger… Bring them to the Saviour who died for these sins. Embrace grace. Gaze at Him and see His selfless love. Own it, deep down and let it shape your whole life: thoughts and words.Let this time, become a a significant occasion to fall in love with your Saviour.