It's Wisdom Season - Let' Grow Wise Together
I’m back from my social media hiatus, and in what I’m calling “Wisdom Season.”
I have a book of wisdom reflections coming out in Fall 2023, and you can pre-order it here.
Thankfully, this devotional book focuses on Christ as the Source of all Wisdom, not my own wisdom. I confess up front that apart from Christ, I am the queen of fools.
While I was away from social media, I thought a lot about … you guessed it, social media, especially from the perspective of Kingdom Wisdom. I jotted down some things I wish I had known when I joined social media ten years ago, as well as a few things I’ve learned along the way, and I want to share them - free of varnish - with you now.
If any of these resonate with your Christian social media experience, let me know in the comments below so we can grow wise together.
Here we go…
Get wisdom, get understanding;
don’t forget or turn away from the words from my mouth.
Don’t abandon wisdom, and she will watch over you;
love her, and she will guard you.
Wisdom is supreme—so get wisdom.
And whatever else you get, get understanding.
In this age of platform seeking, if you’re going to “build a platform” at all then build it on the solid rock of the Kingdom. If we ever needed the Kingdom perspective and the rich, healing Word of God today, we sure need it now.
Strive to be more Encourager than Influencer. In teh Age of the Infuencer, ‘cultural influencers’ are making the next generation of acolytes in their own image, with loyalties to many different things - from products to politics to ideologies. I’m also observing that some saints are embracing the opportunity to prepare the next generation of Christian disciples, both on and off the socials. There seems to be a solid connection between the local/immediate/practical, the invisible Church, and the global nature of Christian social media encouragement; that connection is our collective focus on the Word of God and our unity in Christ. I want the eyes of the Spirit to see this more.
There are peacemaking Christians on the socials who build up by constantly pointing to Christ; He’s the center of their social media posts. Some folks have many followers, and some are comfortable with just a few. Some have built big platforms by strategy, others (like me) by accident and grace, and others are genuine encouragers who prefer a lower profile. I’d love to see these folks deepen our collective biblical literacy and multiply the wisdom. They’re rare gems on social media, as they follow the biblical injunction to encourage and build up the saints in an environment that tempts us to tear down constantly. This is building a biblical reputation - not a cultural one - and it’s the one that will last.
Some have built platforms that mostly air opinions or magnify our personal or cultural criticism of others. The spiritual trip-wire in this ‘war of words’ is that when writing about the shortcomings of others, our own self-righteousness becomes the center of our posts. Entire platforms have now been built by biting and devouring, tearing down and destroying, while at the same time remaining blind, dishonest, or indifferent to our own hypocrisy and shortcomings. This is not building a biblical reputation focused on Christ, but rather a form of general popularity that’s temporary, momentary, and gone - like the grass of the field.
Timelines have a way of revealing souls. If we listen closely to the various grievance industries, they will reveal their wn insecurities, resentments, and weaknesses in what they boast about and eschew.
Cottage industries have risen from the platforming of grievances, an institutionalization and industrialization of criticism. For example, the social justice and anti-social justice cottage industries created two sets of parallel elites dependent on each other to exist. Discernment should cause us to ask if their work opposing each other is merely symbiotic and parasitic, or does it lead to an affirmation and renewal of Kingdom ethics and values? We could do this with any number of Christian industries that focus excessively on error, yet dismiss the Kingdom’s unique power to impact, change, heal, and unify.
Building on the shifting sand of our own personal opinion, our own hot takes, and the delight of clever smackdowns stimulate the ego and the numbers, but does not necessarily grow the Kingdom or help saints to mature. The more we give ourselves over to the monomaniacal pursuit of exposing and correcting, the less time we spend on our mission to expand the Kingdom of God.
What would happen if we took the Kingdom more seriously than we do the socials? If we took extended breaks from listening to and crafting and shaping our own voice, to focus on the Voice that should be shaping and correcting ours? While we are away, go visit the sick and shut-in. Help another saint in need. Memorize Scripture. Start a Bible class. Build something useful for a family. Attend a seminary course. Pray. Stick close to a healthy local church that keeps the Kingdom of God in constant view. Stay on the ground where the Kingdom is tangible, growing, expanding, healing, and living every day.
If I were starting out on social media today, knowing what I now know about God, man, and the Kingdom of God versus false Kingdoms devoted to self, I would tell myself to pray constantly for discernment, and mostly follow those who are doing likewise. Find those whose primary interest is knowing God and making him known. While acknowledging that it’s Christ Himself who ‘keeps His own’ until the end, we are still called to discern false narratives from true, and to combat the idols that creep into our hearts. Continual spiritual refreshment is the platform on which Christian endurance is built.
For over a decade, there has been an undue emphasis on one’s ‘authentic self.’ Interestingly, the same generation that clamored for ‘authenticity’ also created the concept of carefully cultivated social media and even public images that often don’t reflect their reality. If I am honest, my authentic self is not my best self. My ‘authentic self’ is geared toward self-promotion, self-exaltation, and vainglory. Maybe God wants the Christian to reflect our redeemed self, pointing others continually to Christ. This is work that only we can do, and work that we are called to do - to display the glory of God to a conflicted world that wants and rejects him at the same time.
That’s it … ten little nuggets.
I created this substack based on some of these observations. It is designed as a place where I can share unfiltered thoughts with people who understand this: even though Christianity is at a crisis point on many levels and in many places worldwide, the crises still present a myriad of opportunities to proclaim the Kingdom.
This stack focuses on the theology and practice of Christian perseverance - that Christians receive a faith worth sacrificing and dying for, and that we find True Life in the Bible’s particular range of ‘dyings’ - whether that’s dying to self, or dying at the hands of those hostile toward Christianity and its transformative, life-giving message. Regarding endurance, learning to be wise in an age of deep folly, distraction, and global blindness to Truth is key to learning what we need to know to move forward in unity, love, and Truth.
I have so many shortcomings that I know writing about wisdom is risky. Lately, as I’ve been taking stock, I write with newfound fear and trembling.
If you’re like me, you recognize that we have a long way to go yet in Kingdom endurance, but by grace we have the opportunity to go and grow together.
With that, let’s continue our discussion of the ‘hows’ of Christian perseverance through the Church’s history, in the contemporary world, and in each of our unique local church contexts.
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