20 April 2024

Spirituality and social media: Living life in constant communication

Calum Montgomery

A photo shows a person looking at the camera while holding a mobile phone and a large 'like' symbol.

Calum Montgomery reflects on spiritual focus in a social media age.

Social media creates connections. It can build a space to share and support each other and to show friends and family what you’re doing or where you are. But we can become focused on living our lives in constant communication with the world, anxiously waiting for the next reply, the next ‘like’, the latest celebrity story or viral video.

How many of our days start by checking social media, before taking a break at lunch and having a quick look, replying to a notification that comes through later, then checking to see how many views our story has, before going to bed and having one last scroll? The digital age we live in makes it so easy to be contactable 24/7, but it also throws so many distractions at us – even as I write this, I am finding myself becoming distracted!

God designed us to live in constant communication with him, not our social media feeds (see Acts 17:26 and 27). There are many ways social media can cloud our expectations. As I reflect on my own relationship with social media, I can easily fall into judgement or longing for what other people have, wishing I had their experiences, becoming jealous that I wasn’t there or asking how they got to do that rather than being happy for their experiences.

Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:16: ‘Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live’ (The Message). Social media doesn’t always make that easy. We can end up trying to build our lives and experiences to be more Instagrammable rather than trying to live more like Jesus. We only want to post the perfect moment; we want to show the world our best bits, so the blurry photo of a boring afternoon doesn’t get posted. But God wants your blurry, boring afternoons. He asks for our praise in those moments. God calls us to ‘pray all the time’, to be in constant communication with God and live our lives with him by our side.

Psalm 145:18 says: ‘You draw near to those who call out to you, listening closely, especially when their hearts are true’ (The Passion Translation). Just as we wait for the next ‘bing!’ from our phone, God is wanting us to draw close to him. He longs for us to turn to him so he can help, forgive and heal us (see Isaiah 30:18). We need to try and live with God, waiting expectantly for his word, waiting to hear his voice and then acting on it – if we are focused on waiting for the next DM (direct message), we can miss God calling our name.

By no means is any of this saying we need to delete all social media because it distracts us from God. It’s just something as Christians we need to be aware of. Social media can be an incredible tool for ministry. It widens our potential church family from those in our church to the whole world; we are able to be inspired by others who share God’s work in their areas on the other side of the planet. It also provides us with a really easy way to share the good news by sharing or posting the simple message that our God loves and wants to be in relationship with all his children.

As I reflect on my attitude and approach to social media, I’d challenge you to do the same. Simply ask: ‘Where is my focus?’

Written by

A photo of Calum Montgomery.

Calum Montgomery


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