In these series on Facebook we have highlighted two potentially dangers with Facebook and other social media:
1. On Facebook I can recreate my world through my words to gain approval
2. On Facebook I can escape the limitations of my body
As we conclude I want to reiterate that for many of people using Facebook is not a problem. For many it is all blessing.
But there are dangers in social networking. And to those who face those dangers the gospel provides a better and richer alternative.
Facebook is the place were I show my face or my image. For some of you it is the place were you recreate your image and your world through your words. The gospel is the place where God turns “his face towards us” (Numbers 6:26). It is the place where he recreates us in his image and recreates his world through his words.
2 Corinthians 3:18: “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
Through Facebook you can show your face or image to the world. Through the gospel we see the face of God, the glory of God. And when we see it we radiate that glory just as Moses did long ago when he saw God on Mount Sinai. Through the gospel we can reflect the glory of God to the world.
Through Facebook we can recreate ourselves. We can recreate our own identity to win the approval of other people. Through the gospel God recreates us in the image of Jesus. Jesus makes us approved by God. And we are being transformed into the likeness of Jesus with ever-increasing glory. Look at your Facebook page: Do you really want this more than the glory of God?
Remember the medium is the message and Facebook was designed by a teenage nerd. It reduces your life to the preoccupations of a student nerd. You are encouraged to fill in your relationship status because students define you by your “availability”. The medium encourages you to express your personality through lists of books, movies, TV programmes. This is what nerdy students do. You are encouraged to poke people – poking is what teenage boys do who do not know how to talk to girls! The medium is the message. Your life is being squeezed down into these select, nerdy categories. You can give your time to this – or being transformed into Christ’s likeness with ever-increasing glory.
2 Corinthians 4:5: “For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.”
Through Facebook we can promote ourselves. We gain friends. Or we gain followers through Twitter. We engage in self-evangelism. Through the gospel we promote Jesus as Lord. We gain followers for Jesus.
2 Corinthians 4:6: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
Through Facebook we recreate our world through our words. Day after day, endless words pouring out, trying to create an image of ourselves that others will approve. And God speaks four words, “Let there be light.” Two words in Hebrews. And there is light. God speaks and the universe comes into being. This physical, substantial, real universe. The kind of universe you can hit with your hand and it hurts because it is really there.
Through Facebook we reveal our “face” and look at the “faces” of other people. Through the gospel we see the face of God. The Bible is the true Facebook, the book in which we see God’s face. Prayer is the ultimate instant messaging. The church is the real social network. The gospel is the place where we see “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
Think about what you have written and read on your Facebook wall this week. Think about the tweets you have followed this week. Imagine reading them in six months time. I am guessing, but I suspect that most of what is written will be drivel. Trivia. Empty. “Eating egg on toast. Yum.” “On my way to the station.” “Great party last night.” “Jack just fell over. LOL.” “Love the photos. You’re so gorgeous.” Poke. Listen to the prophet Isaiah:
A voice says, “Cry out.”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
“All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the LORD blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God stands for ever.” (Isaiah 40:6-8)
The Facebook comments wither and the tweets fall, but the word of our God stands for ever.