Why not start by asking the Holy Spirit how much time he wants you to spend on social media today?
The use of technology in our culture is such a blessing and a curse these days.
I think we could all agree that so many bad things stem from the internet. Porn addictions, trafficking, bullying. Self-esteem problems, comparison, jealousy. Conflict, debates, fraud.
It’s enough to make us wonder why we’re even online at all!
But every time I’m ready to toss my phone in a locked drawer and never look back, I remember the good things that are also born from the web. Connection, ministry, friendships. Networking, opportunity, awareness. Bonding, empathy, prayer. I met one of my very best friends through Twitter, of all places.
The internet can be both a playground for the enemy and a battleground for the Christian.
But to fight effectively, we must be dressed for it.
Ephesians 6:11-12 (ESV) says, “Put on the whole armor of God, thatyou may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
When you wake up in the morning and start to scroll Instagram, you’re probably not thinking about putting on the armor of God. You’re probably not considering, especially in your early morning or late-night sleepy state, that you’re wading into a territory full of spiritual authorities.
I’m not saying the internet itself is demon-possessed, but I am saying there are demonic influences lurking in every corner of the web. We’re naïve if we think it’s neutral. If you’ve been online for any given length of time, you’re familiar with the ads that can pop up. Even if you’re not looking for anything dark or twisted, it can find you within minutes.
Participate in Moderation
Does this mean we never get online? Of course not. Most jobs require internet access and email now. Some even require a social media presence. But there’s a way to participate in moderation and not trade your soul in the process.
You might be thinking “trade my soul? That’s a pretty dramatic claim for social media usage.” But is it?
Think back to how many times you’ve been in a great mood, gotten on social media, and had that good mood immediately crash? How many times did you subject your spirit, mind, and emotions to the trap of comparison, envy, jealousy, or greed—simply by scrolling other users’ feeds? Maybe you’re not stumbling—even accidentally—into anything inappropriate, but I can just bet you’ve had thoughts like these:
Is her house always that perfect?
She just had a baby a month ago and she’s skinnier than me—and my kid is six.
My teenagers never want to hang out with me. What does she have that I don’t?
Why is she married and I’m still single? She’s not prettier than me.
That girl is so gorgeous. I hope my husband isn’t following her.
She always posts her aesthetic daily quiet times, and I haven’t cracked my Bible in a week.
Must be nice to get to travel all the time. How are they so rich?
She’s selling so many _________.
Tell me, if that isn’t trading your soul, I don’t know what it is! Anything that leaves you feeling prideful, discontent, lustful, judgmental, envious, jealous, bitter, insecure, resentful, angry, or less than is not something worth spending your time on. And it’s as easy—and as hard—as not opening an app.
Check Your Screen Time
As a practical step, I challenge you to check your screen time in your phone settings and see how many hours a day you’ve allotted for social media or other internet time that steals your joy—then aim to cut that number in half. Instead of defaulting to picking up your phone and scrolling at that next red light, at your kids’ dance practice, or while waiting for your TV show to resume—why not default to prayer? Why not default to just being…observing…basking in the moment? Being still before the Lord?
If that’s too big a leap to tackle cold turkey, then go ahead and pick up your phone—but go to your Bible app instead of to social media. Play Christian podcasts or sermons instead of listening to endless TikTok trends and reels. I dare you to do this and track the results for even a few weeks. You might just be surprised by how much more peaceful you feel.
Remember when I said the internet can be full of blessings and curses? The blessing side is truly incredible. Today, we have access to not only the full Bible online and through apps, we have endless commentaries available. We have the Bible in multiple languages. We have devotionals and uplifting content right at our fingers tips, literally 24/7, in a variety of formats.
Which basically means we have no excuse to get on our phone and lose the war.
Trust me, I’m challenging myself right along with you. As an author, I need to be online, accessible, and promoting my books. It’s what my publishers require, and it’s what helps sell books. Sometimes, I genuinely enjoy it and connect with the nicest people. Other times, I get sucked into that negative list I just gave to you, feeling jealous or insecure or discontent. I wonder why her reel got thousands of views while mine can’t crack five hundred. I wonder why she’s a best seller and I’m not. And on it goes.
Instead of going to the places online that bring me life and joy (like iBelieve!) I, too, tend to go straight toward the muck that’s just going to upset me.
Thankfully, the Bible doesn’t tell us to armor up and leave us to figure it out alone. It gives specific instructions. Look at these verses:
Ephesians 6:13-17 (ESV) “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…”
We’re to arm ourselves with truth. Righteousness. The Gospel of peace. Faith. Salvation. The Word of God…is this painting a picture yet?
Arming for battle requires intentional action—we can’t be lazy about it. Think about what a belt does—it cinches up, right? So are you cinching up your heart and emoions with godly truth? Or are you letting your thoughts run wild with speculation and assumptions?
Are you regularly putting on (reminding yourself of) the righteousness of Christ? Are your feet ready to bring the gospel message of peace everywhere you go (1 Peter 3:15)? Are you using faith to shield your vulnerable heart from the flaming lies of the enemy? Are you protecting your mind with the helmet of salvation?
And perhaps the most convicting of all—how can you wield the sword of the Spirit when you haven’t read your Bible? You can’t fight with a weapon you don’t know. If you aren’t hiding Scripture away in your heart, your poor soul has no chance in fighting back against everything social media throws at you. Ironically, we’re not taking time to read the Word because we’re too busy on the internet.
It’s a vicious cycle, but one you can break right now, today, without guilt or shame. This isn’t legalism. This is wisdom. Start being aware of your soul while you’re online. Do you feel peace? Are you making friends, connecting with other believers, and refueling your heart with things of the Spirit? Are you partaking in the blessings?
Or are you constantly holding up a measuring stick that you’re falling short of? Are you tempted toward sin and wallowing in a sea of insecurity? Are you jealous and angry and bitter?
If so, make the necessary adjustments. Remember, there’s no set time limit that works for every believer out there. Why not start by asking the Holy Spirit how much time he wants you to spend on social media today?
As a Christian, you can absolutely get on social media. But don’t trade your soul to do it.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Rodion Kutsaev
Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of over twenty romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her hubby, two daughters, an impressive stash of coffee mugs, and one furry Schnauzer-toddler. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored to truth. When she’s not composing her next book or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can be found somewhere in the vicinity of an iced coffee. She is a regular contributor to iBelieve.com and offers author coaching and editorial services via Storyside LLC.