Recently, I went to the movies with my family. After purchasing our tickets, we made our way to the line for some food and drinks. There was a delay in getting our food out to us. I grew impatient and was about to grumble a few words under my breath when I remembered the shirt I was wearing. I had chosen to wear a shirt with my church’s name on it for this occasion. Right there, the Lord convicted me. I was a visible representative of my church. My response in this moment would serve as a reflection on my church, for good or ill.
The Call to Represent Christ
Representing the church in this public setting reminded me of our calling to represent Jesus Christ in both the public square and private spaces of life. 2 Corinthians 5 shows us as Christians we’ve been called to no longer live for ourselves but for Christ (verses 14-15) and we are now new creations in Christ (verse 17). This transformation is due to the ministry and message of reconciliation of God through Jesus Christ (verses 18-19).
As those living for Christ and being in Christ, we now represent Christ. This is what the Apostle Paul means when he says, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us” (verse 20). I am convinced the place where we neglect to live out this calling is the place where we need it the most. It’s not in the public square but right on our mobile devices and computers: social media. We need to represent Christ well on social media by the time we spend, the content we share, and the disagreements we have on our accounts and profiles
We Can Represent In Our Time
Before we consider how to represent Christ in what we share on social media, we first need to examine the amount of time we spend on social media. Countless times I’ve logged into Facebook with the intention of a quick status update. However, half an hour later I find myself still exploring Facebook pages and status updates. Maybe you can relate. Without realizing it, the 5-minute check-in on social media becomes a 55-minute exploration of the latest news in the lives of friends, family, and celebrities. In the time we could spend studying the Scriptures or speaking to God in prayer, we’ve chosen to surf social media.
This is a problem of misplaced priorities. We need to repent for the unwise stewardship of our time and resolve to represent Christ well with our time on and off of social media. That means abiding by Psalm 90:12, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Because social media intake will look different for each individual, seeking the Lord out for wisdom is a crucial step. But one encouragement we can all take to heart is we can represent Christ well as we do not let social media take over our prayer time.
Like Jesus, who rose early in the morning and departed to a desolate place to prayer (see Mark 1:35), we want to make the most important connection of all and that happens through prayer, not social media. Let’s take the time to converse with the Lord before we converse with others on Twitter or Facebook.
We Can Represent With What We Share
A second way to represent Christ on social media is by paying attention to what we share. Sadly, as Christians, we do not always hold this perspective when we post on social media. Social media is flooded with faulty sentiments that fail to reflect the truth and false statements of things the person quoted never said. Yet, in my experience, the biggest group of people who share such posts are those who profess to be Christians. This is concerning. Christians should be the last group of people who share posts and updates with no regard to the source.
As the people of God, we believe the Bible is God’s Word. In an age of skepticism and relativism, we trust the Bible speaks absolute truth. When we hear the Scriptures preached, we would do well to follow the example of the Bereans. Acts 17:11 describes these people as noble because “they received the word will all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” These believers examined the Scriptures to see if the teaching of Paul lined up with biblical truth.
As people called to shine the light on truth in a dark and deceived world, the credibility of our witness can be impacted by what we share on social media. If we want to represent Christ well in our use of social media, we will evaluate what we share. If we are going to share the truth with the world, then we must make sure we are not spreading lies on the worldwide web. We will check the sources to confirm statements are true and quotations are verifiable.
We Represent When We Disagree
The truth we share on social media cannot stand alone, though. When disagreements and controversaries arise on social media, the truth needs to be spoken but it needs to be truth spoken “in love” to use the language of Ephesians 4:15. At times this may mean refraining from posting or tweeting back right away and applying James 1:19, to be “quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger”. When we view our disagreements with others on social media as an opportunity to represent Christ, we will enter discussions with the goal to speak to the other person, not to speak past them. We will seek to win the person to Christ, not to win the argument for our own sake. That is how we can represent Christ even when we disagree on social media.
Display the Gospel
Our Facebook profiles tell what role our faith plays in our everyday lives. Our Twitter accounts show others what our thoughts are truly fixed on. Our Instagram photos reveal the image we are really conforming to. May our social media use as Christians display the gospel as we spend time, post, and discuss as representatives of Jesus Christ!
Short Bio: Theron St. John is a committed follower of Jesus Christ. He serves as the Associate Pastor of Youth and Family with Blue Ridge Christian Union Church in Shelbyville, Indiana (USA). He loves to spend time with family and is a grateful son, brother, and uncle. His favorite pastime is reading and writing. He blogs at www.entrustedbygod.org, where he teaches everyday people how to live as faithful stewards in an entitled culture.