I heard someone say the other day that Facebook is for complaining, Twitter is for contending and Instagram is for comparing. I think it’s true. As we scroll through the Facebook feed, there’s a lot of ranting (along with good things too). Twitter is a place to call-out someone or something happening and weigh in on it, it seems. But Instagram— is the place of comparison. It’s a rolling stream of perfectly staged, cropped, filtered and executed pictures (along with much of real-life, which I enjoy).
I use all of these forms of social media. And I like them. This isn’t a word against social media. It’s a caution for us to keep it real. Social media has created jealous behavior over illusions. Some of these things we find ourselves jealous over don’t even exist. Those perfect selfies took 20 takes. The outtakes are the reality. And the only real filter in our lives is the Holy Spirit. A picture of our lives filtered by the Holy Spirit is a picture worth posting for the world to see. But that can’t be captured in a selfie. That has to be lived out for others.
Our daily lives are all outtakes with limited, perfectly-staged and executed moments. Social media has elevated the causes of discontentment. It used to be the neighbors’ green grass. Now we can view everyone’s green grass. But it’s not really how their grass looks—the broken down house and lives in the background have been cropped out. The filters made the grass an amazing green when it’s really dried up because they haven’t been watering it—but the pics don’t show all that.
However, discontentment is not caused by social media. Theodore Roosevelt said that, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It’s true if it causes discontentment or jealousy in our lives. It’s not true if we are comparing ourselves to someone we desire to be like in their walk with Christ and their life lived for Him. In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul said, “Be followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” I’d love to have followed Paul’s Instagram! Comparing my life to that kind of example (and I have those real-life examples all around me—some are even on social media) does not cause me to be discontent or jealous, but rather to be excited and encouraged to strive to live my life to the fullest for the Lord—every day! So all comparison is not bad. It’s those comparisons that cause discontentment. Are you experiencing those social media comparisons of the picture-perfect farmhouse and letting discontentment find its way into your heart?
Maybe you find yourself struggling with discontentment today, but it has nothing to do with social medial. It’s your friends’ real lives and your actual neighbors’ amazing grass and shinning new car and six-figure job or new career and their perfect marriage and the dream house full of kids, etc. that has you stumbled. Those kinds of, “the grass is always greener” comparisons will cause every single one of us to be discontent. Discontentment is a downward spiral. No matter what we get today, it will not be enough. It will never be enough. We have to stop when we find ourselves going down that road and repent.
Paul said, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (Philippians 4:11). That’s an example to follow considering all that Paul endured. “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” (1 Timothy 6:8). God is our Father and He is a good Father. His love for us is over us always, evidenced by the Cross and promised to us for all of eternity. “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
The key to contentment is found in Christ alone. “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2.
Who we follow on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram is inconsequential in comparison to following Christ. When our riches in Christ are the filter through which we see everything else, it all looks much different! “Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.” 1 Timothy 6:6 #godlinesswithcontentmentisgreatgain