Today you are going to log into some sort of social media — likely you’ll log into a number of accounts. Your eyes will gravitate to different functions of that media. You’ll check notifications. You’ll look at your feed. Inevitably, you’ll take stock of social capital. How many followers do you have today? How many friends? How many likes/favorites? You may even take a moment to check your Klout or find out what your SumAll score says about you.
Social media is a narcissists playground. And if anything is true about social media it is that it is the well-tilled soil to cultivate generations of narcissism. The invention of social media is not altogether different from the invention of the mirror. Both were intended to be utilitarian devices; both end up as tools of self-absorption.
Sadly enough, not unlike a mirror, social media can be manipulated. You can purchase a mirror that makes you look more slender than you really are, and you can build a social media profile that is far more impressive than who you are in person. The inverse is also true. When you stroll through a funny house, you will often see your reflection in mirrors that uglify or distort your true person. Likewise, we will often stroll through social media and see things that are not true of ourselves and, also, are not true of others.
The reality is you’re looking into the wrong mirror to measure your worth.
You see, both a looking glass and social media are not accurate representations of who you are. They are but “dim” representations (1 Cor. 13:12). There are many in the world who do not have the foggiest idea of who they really are. It’s because they are always looking into imperfect mirrors.
If you know Christ, and if his Word is in you, then you have hope. You have an idea of where your true net worth comes from; you have a real mirror to look into. God says his Word is a mirror (James 1:23). And reading 1 Corinthians 13:12 rightly should lead us to a forward looking understanding of what it means to be face to face with ourselves when we see the enduring love in which we abide. If we are united to Christ, new creations, and heirs of eternal life, then we don’t just look into the mirror of the Word that is law, but we look into the mirror of the Word which is gospel. We see Christ face to face; we see love; we see grace; we see forgiveness.
Sure enough, social media can and will tell you something about yourself. But it is truly a one-dimensional impression, just like a mirror. It’s a flat picture of who you are. It’s a virtual image. Your social media worth is not your true net worth. It’s also not where your true worth should be found.
It’s true that as time has passed, the line has blurred between virtual avatars and the true image and likeness we bear. What happens in the virtual ether transfers into real life and vice versa. But whether it be in the real life looking into a mirror or the virtual life looking into a social media mirror, you have to remind yourself that your truest self — the most accurate picture of yourself — is not one that can be manipulated, uglified, or distorted. Your true self is rooted, beautified, and clarified by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Just remember this, when you encounter God face to face, he’s not going to see notifications, favorites, likes, and retweets. He’s going to see Jesus. Jesus stood in your place at the cross. And the cross is the only event truly worth notifying others of, favoriting, liking, and retweeting. It’s the only noteworthy news because it is the only truly good news.
Is that convincing to you? Convincing enough to diminish the worth of your social capital so that the worth of Christ may be elevated in your eyes?
Anything that takes the place of God becomes an idol. And anything that is elevated above God becomes an idol. It’s all too easy to turn social capital into an idol. It’s easy to look onto a profile and determine a person’s worth by what they’ve said, quoted, gif’d, instagrammed, and who follows them or who they follow. What’s worse, you don’t just diminish your own worth, but you slay other people’s worth by letting something so artificial become so pivotal.
Friend, you are worth far more than your social stock says you are.
This post first appeared at Joey’s blog and is posted here with permission.