These days we find ourselves in a technology era, one that I never imagined. There are so many social media sites that I cannot comprehend the number of followers on each of those sites. But whom are we following when we go online? Whether it is on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or even WordPress, we should be careful whom we follow.
The word follow is an interesting word. It can mean successive events but it can also mean to “go or come after, move behind in the same direction.” (http://www.dictionary.com) So, if you are following someone on social media, is your goal to emulate them? Do you want to move behind them in the same direction that they are going? If you are following those who are famous or rich, perhaps that is your goal, to be like them. But that is not the One we are called to follow.
This is what Jesus said when He called His disciples. He did not say to seek fortune or fame. Rather, He said to deny yourself and to take up your cross and follow Him. The cross was a place of shame, a punishment that was undeserved and yet our Lord and Savior suffered the humiliation of the cross. But here we are in this modern era claiming to have X number of followers and to be following X number of people. Our statistics seem to matter more than the example of those we are following. I follow a lot of people who read books similar to what I read, including authors and publishers and other readers. Does that make me not a follower of Jesus? No. But it does show where my priorities are. Reading is important to me, books matter to me, so those are the people online whom I follow. I also follow other Christians online, like the pastor who discipled me almost five decades ago and the current church that we attend. Jesus does not have a page for us to follow, does He? Of course not because His Book, His pages, are written in our hearts. So, when we follow Him, we are expected to follow His example. He gave without thinking of the cost to Himself. We should do likewise. He completed the ministry that the Father gave Him to do. We should do likewise. No matter how many days that God gives us on this earth, our calling is to find God’s purpose for our lives and fulfill it to the best of our ability. My greatest desire is to follow Jesus, no matter where He leads and no matter the cost. I want to wake up every morning with His Name on my lips and His sacrifice in my heart. I don’t want to be a statistic that says “Oh, me? Well, I’m a Christian. I follow Jesus.” I want to really choose to make Him the most important person in my life, my reason for being.
This is my prayer for me today and I hope it is your prayer, too. When you go online to the various social media outlets today, I hope that you will take a serious look at who is following you and what kind of example you are setting there. When you write posts, are you making sure that what you are saying is edifying, true, kind and necessary? When you respond to posts, are you responding in a way that shows you care for that person? I’m convinced that if Jesus were literally born into this age, He would be on social media but His would be a presence that called people to Him because of His great love. We are His hands, feet, eyes, ears and fingers typing on the keyboard. Are we showing His example to the world online? Are we being His witnesses as He called us to do?