Jesus Wouldn’t Like my Instagram

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I’ve had a lot of time to reminisce this Thanksgiving break, particularly over the past year. A lot has happened and I’m proud that I (actually) accomplished a few of my New Years goals. But sadly, a few important ones that had to do with improving my relationship with Jesus for 2014 were epic fails.

A big one for me this year was to “divorce my phone.” I’m on it all the time. It’s the first thing I look at when I wake up and the last thing I look at before bed. What am I looking at most of the time, you may be wondering?

Instagram.

I love admiring (envying) the beautiful travel photos Travel & Leisure posts. Which reminds me, I need to go to Italy ASAP! I want every article of clothing Negin Mirsalehi wears in every one of her pictures. How is her hair so perfect? I get motivated to hop off the couch and go for a run after Kayla Itsines posts another rocking bod picture.

Let me preface, Instagram or Facebook isn’t bad, but I’ve noticed lately how unhealthy this has become for myself. I become so consumed with me. Why do we have to remind people of ourselves constantly and bring the attention back to us? Sure, it can be used for good or for inspiration. But it is a fine line to cross.

“The most miserable people in the world are those whom worship themselves, because it is an unquenchable thirst.” – Marian Jordan Ellis

In Genesis, it says God created us to be image bearers where we reflect the glory of God. But Satan deceives us and gets us to focus on ourselves. He makes us want to give ourselves the glory and attention when we are called to give God glory in everything we do. Instead of being a reflector of God’s glory, we become receptors; we want the glory. Satan gets us to turn our eyes to our own lives and wants, and we become so obsessed with self.

Satan at first was an angel created to serve God but the Bible says he fell from heaven due to his pride. He wanted to be God instead of serve Him. He wanted the glory for himself. And the idol of self leads to destruction.

We were created to give God glory, not to give ourselves glory. That’s the problem with Instagram, we make it all about ourselves. If Jesus looked at my Instagram, He probably wouldn’t like it. He would probably wonder why I care so much to post pictures of what I’m doing all the time, what am I trying to prove to people? He would probably ask me what is my hidden motive to posting this picture or that picture?

I probably waste hours upon hours looking at pointless things on my phone. Imagine if I took that time to instead listen to a podcast or sermon, read a book, or just do something that can edify me and actually be beneficial to my wellbeing.

So, one of my New Years Resolutions is to break up with my phone. I’m not boycotting Instagram; you will still see posts from me. I just want to do some things differently, like not be so obsessed with this screen in my hands. So, below I’ve listed 4 things I want to do differently. These are simple things that I think can help you and me break up with our phones. It’s time we take back the power from our phones, am I right?

1)    Instead of reaching for my phone first thing in the morning, I want to pray. I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning without praying to God first.

2)    Instead of looking at my phone before going to bed every night, I want to read a book or listen to a sermon.

3)    I want to limit time on social media. Maybe even delete the app for a few days here and there, just to give myself a break.

4)    I’m going to start “forgetting my phone” when I head to class, to run a quick errand, or to go on a walk. Walking to class looking around at the beautiful campus is so much more relaxing then looking down at a screen anyway.

In Everything Give Thanks

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About 2 months ago, I remember waking up and wanting to complain about literally everything. I had so much work to be done and it was rush week, so I was likely skimping on sleep. I was also sleeping on a top bunk 5 inches away from the ceiling and all I wanted was to be home in my comfortable bed.

Here I am grumbling about sleeping on a top bunk when some people don’t even have a warm bed to sleep in.

So, instead of complaining about everything, I decided to pray to God and thank Him for it all. I thanked God for the fact that I’m alive. I can see. I can hear. I have shelter and food. I have a home filled with a loving family. I have wonderful friends that encourage me. I have clean water to drink and on and on. I even thanked God for that top bunk.

At first, it felt fake and forced; but as I continued to count my blessings and thank God for each and every person and thing He had placed and done in my life, I began to be filled with gratitude and joy.

Anything and everything I prayed and thanked Him for.

It is amazing what a simple change in mindset can do. Through prayer and thankfulness, I was able to open my mind to the Lord so He could place peace and joy in me and reshape the way I was thinking.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  – Colossians 3:15-17

When I think about Paul in his letters to the different churches, his circumstances are almost always bad. He is imprisoned, he is beaten, hated, and mocked; but despite all these things, he is filled with peace and he has learned to be content no matter the situation (Philippians 4:11). Through the power of the Holy Spirit, he has learned to set his mind on eternity and what Jesus has done for us on the cross.

Jesus died on the cross in our place for our sins. He was innocent, yet he gave his life for us so that one day we can stand before God, clothed in Jesus’ perfect righteousness with all of our sins forgiven and forgotten. This is the one true love that is worthy of all of our attention and affections. The best part is that nothing and no one can separate us from this great love Jesus has for us either. And when we remember this daily, and thank God for it, along with everything else we have been given, we can’t help but be filled with gratitude.

What is the secret to staying thankful and content? It is to set our minds and hearts on what Jesus did for us on the cross and to have an eternal perspective. It is the only thing in life that is certain and will never change.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. – Colossians 3:1-4

It sounds obvious that as Christians we should be spending daily time reading the Bible and in prayer. But how often do we forget to or simply choose not to? No wonder many of us are full of fear, anxiety, or complaining which then makes many people turned off by Christianity or lose their faith altogether.

God’s Word and prayer helps to reshape the way we think. It can redeem and restore us and help to stir the Holy Spirit within us. We must seek Him through prayer, reading Scripture, and worship and He will in turn give us a joy and radiance that shines as a light in the darkness.

“The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.” – Psalm 19:7-11

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