For most of us, Facebook is the last thing we see at night and the first thing we see in the morning. We check it a couple of times a day, at least.
It is essential that we keep up to date with what is happening in everyone's world, "Did you see the selfie she put up yesterday?" If you're extra lucky you can see a picture of the beautiful hand-made sandwich from the bar across from his work. And you can finally keep up with the name of her latest boyfriend.
Facebook has killed off connecting with people. We don't need to ring and have a conversation about a friend's life. We don't need to write a letter to family overseas.
We can see all of their life on a handy little app that we can access whenever. People feel more isolated than ever before. We don't feel connected to anyone. We long for heartfelt conversations about our life. We want to feel validated as a person, that someone is willing to listen to us.
An opportunity to destroy
Facebook is the perfect opportunity for the devil to work his terrors on us. We begin to compare ourselves to our 'friends'—the pictures they take of themselves, the places they visit, the experiences they have.
Satan begins to suggest quietly that we're not as good as those we follow. When someone doesn't comment on our photo he starts to whisper how unimportant we are. He starts to break down the trust in our friendships so we begin to feel alone.
When we disconnect from our relationships, we also start to disconnect from God. He doesn't update his Facebook with irrelevant statuses or pictures from his latest holiday so it's easy to slip him from our minds. He doesn't put up inspirational quotes to help us through the day so we don't think to ask him when we have troubles.
Instead, he asks us to perform an action that has long been replaced by the touchscreens of social media: he asks us to pick up a book, physically turn a page and read the words in front of us. He asks us to disconnect from the favourite pastime of the world and return to his world.
A return to relationship
God longs to have a genuine relationship with us—a relationship that makes us feel loved, listened to and important. He wants a relationship where we're not simply another unimportant status for 'friends' to glance over. He wants a relationship where we can tell him about our latest boyfriend, what we did on holiday or how good that hand-made sandwich was.
But he also wants us to delve into the relationship with him and understand what he wants us to do, how he wants us to behave and how we can bring glory to him. And to make things even easier, God has given us the manual to do so.
So how do we begin to withdraw from the grasp of social media and return to the fruitful life God provides? Is it possible to fight the mutterings of the devil and retain or revive relationships?
Thankfully, the answer is yes! By withdrawing from the obsessive use of social media to keep up with the world and treating relationships with delicacy and importance, we can restore the joy of connectivity.
Start by reducing the number of times you check Facebook during the day. Instead of checking every hour, only check once on your lunch break. When you wake up in the morning, don't immediately reach for your phone. Spend the extra five minutes in prayer. Similarly, at night, let the last thing you do be prayer with God, rather than a final check of updated statuses.
Ring a friend and talk about their overseas holiday. Write a letter to a family member—we're so used to getting bills in the mail that pleasant mail is a real mood improver. And it makes the receiver feel important in your life.
From my experience, Facebook is a prequel to sin. I see pictures of my friends looking stunning in their bikinis and I reach for the ice-cream container. I marvel at the pictures of overseas holidays whilst munching on a chocolate bar. I feel less worthy of those who are out there doing things. I am trying to get my worth out of the world, rather than from God.
Turn around—walk back to God and let him fill you with importance and love. Go back to following God, instead of following the hundreds of friends you have on Facebook.
Emma Bamford from Melbourne is returning as a Press Service International writer for Christian Today. Emma is undertaking a part time theology course and is a qualified business marketer. A self-confessed Jesus girl, Emma writes to stir the heart of her readers into becoming more passionate and loving Christians.