Social Media: Counterfeit Community?


Social media is a great way to be “social” — to keep in touch with friends. But many who have been “friended” a thousand times find themselves feeling too lonely too often. Are you among them? One lonely person with a thousand “friends”?

Let’s be clear: Social media is not evil. It’s good for friends and family to stay connected.

The problems come when social media becomes a substitute for actual social interaction and leads to “aloneness.” God did not design us to be alone. God said, “It’s not good for the man to be alone”

[1]. Why? Because God designed us to be social. It’s in our DNA. It’s God’s plan.

Social media may be easier than dealing with annoying people face-to-face, but it will never meet our deepest needs. Those can only be met through God’s plan. To understand His “social” plan for you, think about three words: family, friendship and fellowship.


Family is God’s idea. Humans reproduce other humans. Those newly produced humans are tiny and helpless. They need help to get a good start in life. They need a family.

This is God’s plan for new (and older) humans. He created us to begin life in relationship — a family. Of course, families aren’t always what they should be. They’re often arguing with each other or abandoning each other. If that’s your story, you’re not alone.

But that’s not how it should be. Don’t spend too much time dwelling on your family’s flaws. Think about how family should be — how God intended it to be. And then make sure you do it right.


Friendship is also God’s idea. It comes naturally to us — we make friends with classmates or those we work with. God designed us to connect with people. It’s just something we do.

But there’s a friendship that’s deeper, and it’s part of God’s “social” plan for us. It is, in fact, imitating God’s “friendship” with humanity. We can’t understand the significance of this friendship unless we understand the reality of sin. The night before Jesus died on the cross, He said His blood would be “poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”

[2]. We are all sinful — and sin is rebellion against God. Those who are in rebellion against someone else are called enemies. Our rejection of what God says is good and right and true makes us God’s enemies

[3].This is bad news, but not the whole story. Jesus came to reconcile us to God — to transform us from enemies to friends. We should — first and foremost — receive His friendship. And we should imitate Him — seek out those who are still “enemies” with God and let them know they can have friendship with Him instead.


“Fellowship” is another part of God’s “social” plan for us. It’s a rich idea that means “participation in” the shared work God has given humanity to do: to glorify Him and love people.

We must work together — not as individuals. Fellowship implies generosity and sharing in a great community with a great purpose. Many people experience a community of purpose apart from a spiritual community— perhaps a sports team, a quilting guild or a political action group. Having a shared purpose is a great way to connect with people.

But, God’s plan for us is to become part of His community. The Lord Jesus said, “I will build My church.” The Church is not a physical building, but a spiritual community. There is no substitute for this spiritual community, the Church because it is not only shared with other people, but with God Himself.

The building of His Church is a work God shares with us, in this time of history. Its importance for your social existence cannot be exaggerated. The fellowship we have with the other people who are seeking to participate in God’s great purpose creates a strong bond — comparable even to the family bond.

Social media proves that we have a built-in desire to connect with other people. But, it’s never enough by itself. We need to embrace God’s plan for our lives by strengthening family ties, and participating in the fellowship of Jesus’ community— sharing in the mission of leading people into friendship with God.

Why not put Facebook or Pinterest or Twitter to good use. Tell your family and friends they can have a friendship with God right now.

[1]Genesis 2:18

[2]Matthew 26:28

[3]Romans 5:10

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