When I first got an account on Instagram, I didn’t think about it. I had a friend pressure me into it, telling me it was way better than Facebook. I said, OK, and signed up. And like most things in life, I was slow to the trend. I missed the first wave of blogging, I was a latecomer on Facebook, then poky to Instagram, too.
Most of us who are on social media didn’t put a lot of thought into it before joining–especially if we’re under 40. I jumped on because I wanted to connect with people, plain and simple. I thought it would be fun to share pics of my kids with people I love that live far away. Because none of us can see into the future, we didn’t really know what we were signing up for. We didn’t know how social media could rewire our brains and change the way we interact with the world. We didn’t know it would turn every experience into a spectacle to be consumed by our “followers” and ourselves, as Tony Reinke points out in his fantastic new book. We also didn’t know that Insta would become a place for words and massive influence. Micro-blogging, not merely pictures.
But now that the dangers are apparent and now that the potential influence is also made plain, I have a proposal for us:
Let’s go on the offensive for Christ.
Let’s stop letting the tail wag the dog. We are Christians after all! We have the Spirit of the Living God inside of us––the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. And, we have Good News to share! Do you believe that the Gospel is meant to illuminate every corner of the world? Do you think the light of Christ is able to penetrate even the shiny veneer of curated perfection and curated imperfection of Insta? I surely do.
Many of us sense the pull toward sin in places like Insta so we think the only option is to quit. And don’t get me wrong, fleeing temptation is right and essential. But, in the same way we don’t sever a friendship simply because we struggle with envy toward a sister-in-Christ, so too, severing Insta may not be the best approach for dealing with our sin.
Consider: if you were the devil, how would you shut Christians down from proclaiming Christ in a place where millions of women have gathered? Perhaps by making them think that they’re too sinful to do so. That what they really need to do is run away from the battle. If Christian women won’t engage on Insta, I guarantee you plenty of pseudo-Christian women will. Not only will they, they already are. And, if we’re being honest, they’re winning. They’re luring many Christian women into twisted and perverse ways of thinking about themselves and the world around them. They are glorifying sin and rejecting God’s word.
Friends, would you commit to join me in shining the light of Christ on Instagram? I know many women are already doing this. Many are intentionally speaking the truth in love about Christ. But what if we invited more and more regular, non-famous Christian women to join this mission? What if we strategized and planned, not how to grow our own platform, but how to make him known far and wide and build up his people?
I’ve taken the liberty of writing up a manifesto for us:
- We commit to make Christ known on Instagram, sharing the Good News of the gospel as it applies to our own lives and the lives of our readers, trusting that the gospel is the power of God for salvation to all who believe (Rom 1:16).
- We commit to loving people by being truthful about sin, defining it the way God defines it, not sugar-coating or ignoring certain sins or giving ourselves or anyone a pat on the head in response to sin which could endanger our own or their soul (Mark 8:35-36).
- We commit to loving people by always pointing them to the Way, the Truth, and the Life found in Christ (John 14:6). We will not condemn people in their sins, but will warn them, holding out the hope of the gospel for those who will receive it, inviting them to receive the same grace that we ourselves have received (John 3:17; Col 1:28; 2 Cor 6:1).
- We openly acknowledge that we are not our own. We were bought at a great price and we belong to Christ (Col 1:15-20; 1 Cor 7:23; 2 Pet 2:1). Therefore, our words and our pictures and everything we do is under his authority and must be brought under submission to his Book, the Bible.
- We commit to gracious speech, seasoned with salt, so that we may know how to answer those with questions (Col 4:6). We will not be needlessly inflammatory and bring reproach upon Christ by our careless words or smugness (Matt 12:36).
- We commit NOT to fear anything that is frightening, especially the disapproval of the women (and men) on Insta (1 Pet 3:6; Gal 1:10). We fear God alone, which makes us unshakeable and untouchable in regard to the opinions of others (1 Pet 2:17; Rev 14:7).
- We commit to being accountable to our local church authority and the admonitions and counsel of Christian women in our lives (Heb 13:17). We invite those who know us in real life to observe and critique our use of Instagram (Heb 3:13).
- We understand that we will fail in these endeavors. We will be fearful when we should be courageous. We will be harsh when we should be gentle. We will glorify ourselves when we should be glorifying Christ (1 John 1:8-10). When this happens, we commit to pray, “Whatever it takes, Lord, keep me yours forever.” We commit to walking a life of daily repentance and forgiveness, of turning from our sins and once again walking in obedience with Christ (Rom 6:1; Rom 16:26; 1 Pet 1:14).
If this resonates with you, I encourage you to share it with others. Strategize with your fellow sisters in Christ. And above all pray! Pray that Christ would be seen and known and loved! Pray that God would use the weird place of Instagram to shine the light of Christ, so that people are truly transformed and set free from the bondage of sin and the worship of self! Pray that no one would be enslaved to Insta, but that it would be a tool in the hands of our sovereign, loving God to spread the good news about Jesus far and wide.
Let’s take #InstagramForChrist.