Man, it sure has been a long time. The last time I sat down to write something for the blog was back in October. One of the main reasons I've been so MIA these last several months is L I F E. Being a full-time graduate student and a preschool teacher has been no walk in the park. A lot of the time that I used to spend working on content for the blog or sharing it on different networks has been taken up by assignments and cutting out our next craft for the letter R.
But there's another reason. This time during grad school has been absolutely physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting. I've been brought down to my lowest and rejoiced from the mountain top. I'll spare you of the details because they're not that important right now. But one of the main questions the Lord has been asking me over and over and over during this season is "How are you, Allison, living out your faith?" How am I actively living and showing the love of Jesus Christ in my life?
Dang. That's a great question.
Ever since I started this blog and got a Facebook account, I would've answered this question by pointing out the Bible verses and song lyrics I shared, how many views my latest blog received, and how many likes my prayer received on Instagram.
Share Jesus? Check!
Because this past weekend was Easter, I kept seeing the quote all over social media that said, "Jesus died a public death so we should live a public life for him." When I first read this, I thought 'Phew! I'm safe! I don't need to change anything!" But as I sat in church on Easter Sunday and reflecting on the past three months, I realized that I have a lot that needs to change.
We often say that Jesus is our example and we need to imitate Jesus in all we do, including how we share the Gospel with others. But I think social media has changed the game entirely. Like myself, I think we sometimes believe that sharing a Bible verse or writing some thoughts on what Jesus is teaching us recently on social media means we have checked the box of, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you..." (Matthew 28:19-20)
But does typing "Amen" and sharing equate going and making disciples of all nations?
Before, I would say yes but now....I'd have to say no.
The first problem with my perspective is the lack of action. The first word in the Great Commission is GO. It requires action. It means walking away from the screen and engaging with those around us. Going costs us something. It costs us our time, our pride, and our comfort. Sharing something on Facebook or writing that blog post isn't costing me much. It's costing me time but what about my pride? No because I can word things in a certain way so that my pride is well-intact. What about my comfort? Again, no, because I am currently in my pj's and sitting on my bed in my house with heat and air and everything I need and could ever want.
This blog and the posts on Facebook and Instagram do not mean I am going and making disciples.
Social media and missional living do not exactly go hand in hand. I'm reminded of what Jesus said as He was teaching on serving and He said, "But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing." (Matthew 6:3). Then later Jesus says, "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:6)
Then the whammy, verse 1: "Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in Heaven."
To respond to these commands from Jesus we must examine our heart and our motives...
Are we posting and writing and sharing so that Jesus will be seen or so that we will be seen?
Jesus knew what was coming when he said to "be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others." We live in an age of oversharing where we check-in at church, we post our sermon notes, we take a picture every time we read our Bible and share it, we post a song or Bible verse with someone in mind that really needs it, and we absolutely ignore those people in the grocery store, the doctor's office, and the homeless man on the corner.
Your social media posts aren't sharing the Gospel with the mom in the grocery store just trying to keep it together as she shops. My blogs aren't reaching the man at the doctor's office who just found our he has cancer. Our lives, our actions, our words, our facial expressions, and how we GO reach those around us.
Activity on social media does not equate missional living. Every time you share the Gospel does NOT need to be posted on Facebook. Don't take a picture with that man you just gave a meal to. Don't share a photo of your cup of coffee you had with the caption, "I love spending time discipling others." I say all of this because I would've done something like this and I HAVE.
Living a life publicly sold out for Jesus is not about what you post but who reach that is right in front of you.
I don't say all of this to discourage you from posting Bible verses and blogs and all of the above because they DO serve a purpose. I have talked with so many people who were challenged or encouraged by something I wrote or shared on Facebook or Instagram or the blog. But they are not to be my priority. Social media is not supposed to be my priority. The people that I come in contact with every single day that are hurting or struggling and going through absolute MESS are to be my priority over how many views my blog post received.
Social media is not your ministry. Your life is.
This doesn't mean I'm saying goodbye to writing and sharing. But it isn't going to be my priority. The people around me in my community need to be my priority. I need to live by GOING and moving out from behind a screen.
So, I will ask you the question Jesus has been asking me the last few months:
How are you living out your faith? How are you actively living and sharing your faith in Jesus Christ?
I am currently a teacher and life-long student of Scripture learning more about life and Jesus's marvelous love and boundless grace.