One aspect of my faith that I have been more aware of and avoiding is idolising people and things above God and my faith. In this day and age, society and the world has developed and grown on such a big scale that on a daily basis we are met with the new up and coming people or things of this generation, such as influencers on social media, celebrities, new fitness regimes, guides on how to look perfect and so much more . At a passing glance, these seem perfectly fine and complimentary to our fast moving lives, but as young people in the generation of technology and social media, we can easily fall into the trap of spending hours and hours on social media. This is when it can become a problem as it is filling the time that we should be using to seek God and have time to develop our relationship with the Lord.
I have personally struggled with this and for many years didn’t see it as a problem or having a negative effect on my faith. But when I properly looked at my life I realised that I put so many things above my Christianity. In the mornings, I would aim to read my Bible as soon as I woke up but instead would sit on social media, scrolling through pointless unbeneficial content. ‘Just 5 more minutes’ ‘I just want to watch this one video and then I’ll read my Bible’ ‘oh this social media account is a Christian girl so technically its not doing any harm’ NO, this is toxic and stopping you from becoming the best person you can be and who God wants you to be. Imagine if you missed an opportunity that God had placed infront of you because you were staring at your phone and weren’t present in a moment. Viewing a picture of a person you wish you could be will not help you become a better person at all, it just fills your head with ways that you aren’t like that person (and in reality, they’re probably no where near as perfect as they seem on Instagram!)
One way I tried to put God over social media influencers that I liked and wanted to view was to find Christian influencers that I thought matched what I look for in my own identity and what I wanted to be like. For a while, this did help, but before I knew it, I started to idolise them over my faith, viewing them as basically the same thing as God because they were Christian too. This put me in such a difficult position as I wanted to be like them, instead of being myself. Christian influencers are amazing as they set such a good example, but there is a fine line between taking their advice and being encouraged by them, to wanting to be them. A practical way to prevent this if you find yourself in a similar situation is to have social media detoxes. This will allow you to re evaluate and focus on your faith for a bit, reminding you God should be your top priority and way through life.
Jonah 2:8 [NIV]
‘Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them’
Idolatry isn’t just based around social media, but can also become evident in your life and relationship with friends and family, another thing I have experienced. Attending a secular school or occupation can create problems in our faith when we prioritise our friend’s and colleague’s opinions and the identity that they want to give us over the identity we want for ourselves. In secondary school, barely anyone knew I was a Christian and I didn’t want them to know, as that didn’t fit who they wanted me to be. If you are letting people shape you into someone that takes you away from your morals and faith, then you are idolising them over who God wants you to be. It is perfectly fine to have non Christian friends, I have loads! But don’t let them define you, let God define how you are going to help them in your friendship and show them that your faith and relationship defines you and is the reason behind your amazing personality.
It is perfectly fine and expected for you to enjoy social media and look at influencers and people who inspire you, but there is a point where you have to ask yourself how committed you are to God and if this thing is holding you back from the life God wants you to live.