Written by Stacy Joy, USAImage by Georgy Roy
Social media can be a great tool for building and sustaining relationships. It’s pretty incredible that we’re able to connect with friends and family who live all over the world right from our phones!
However, when on social media, we all know that it is impossible to escape being bombarded by other people’s beliefs. Recently, I have been saddened by some of the worldviews I have seen championed, liked, and shared, especially when done so by professing Christians—phrases such as, “I am the best me”; “Live your truth”; “Don’t change for anyone”; “All paths lead to God” and “It’s just the way I am. . .”. These problematic statements fill me with both sadness and anger, for they are contrary to the life Scripture calls believers to live.
If we do not actively watch out for what we absorb, it is easy for non-biblical worldviews to permeate our mindset without us realizing it. Catchphrases like “I am the best me” or “Live your truth” sound empowering and loving, but we have to realize that if we claim to belong to Christ, we must look at everything in our lives—including how we allow culture to influence us—and weigh it according to Scripture.
Here are three specific phrases I’ve heard over and over again which I’d like to challenge us to rethink.
1. “Follow your heart”
When Scripture talks about our “hearts,” it usually refers to the seat of our emotional life—everything we do flows from it (Proverbs 4:23). We are told that our human nature is sinful from conception (Psalm 51:5). That is why our hearts lead us into wicked and ungodly places—by our very nature we are children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3) who desperately need saving.
We naturally want to satisfy our flesh’s cravings, but none of our cravings lead to lasting joy or peace. They lead to emptiness. They lead to yearning for more, and this is not how we were created to live. True contentment is only found in surrendering to Jesus Christ, and following His heart and His ways.
The phrase “follow your heart” sounds good on the surface, but Scripture reminds us to be aware of our hearts and actively guard them (Proverbs 4:23). Ultimately, Jesus Christ and the rich truths of Scripture are our only hope, our only lasting peace, our only true comfort, and our very firm foundation.
2. “Be true to yourself” / “Don’t ever change”
Popular authors, motivational speakers, and Hollywood tell us not to let anyone else define us. I continually come across this mentality, especially in conversations about love and marriage. Our culture tells us that we need to be true to ourselves in marriage, that we should never change or allow our spouse to change us. But are our marriages really about us? In fact, as followers of Christ, are our lives really about us?
The Bible says that when we were saved, we crucified our old selves and live for Christ alone (Galatians 2:20). In other words, we do not live to be true to ourselves, but to be true to Christ and faithful to His Word. For this to happen, we must be changing daily. We must be dying to our ungodly desires (Colossians 3:5) and striving after Christ with all that we are; no longer as slaves to sin, but slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:18).
For example, if I continually chose to stick to my guns in my marriage—instead of listening to feedback from my husband about my selfish, ungodly, or prideful tendencies—my marriage would be absolutely miserable. Imagine two selfish people looking out for themselves, refusing to grow or mature! But when, as a couple, we commit to helping each other grow in Christlikeness, our marriage becomes characterized by mutual service and accountability.
It is very important for us to change and grow daily, not just for our spouse, but ultimately for our Savior—our love for our Savior shows itself in the way we sacrificially grow, change and give of ourselves for the glory of His name.
3. “Live your truth”
If we live according to this philosophy, any time we don’t like something we can reject it or change it. We become closed off to correction and only listen to the views of those whose beliefs affirm ours.
But if we claim Christ, we know truth—the one and only truth. Saying so is claiming the words of Scripture as truth (John 17:17, Psalm 119:160, John 14:6). This means we can’t pick and choose which parts we like. Scripture must either be everything to us or it must be nothing to us.
Living according to God’s truth instead of “our truth” also means we can use Scripture as an anchor to guide our lives and the decisions we make—instead of being tossed and blown by every wind of teaching or cultural trend.
Thankfully, followers of Jesus Christ don’t bow to the ever-changing cultural views of right and wrong. We bow before our Unchanging, Good, Ever Faithful Lord in Heaven.
Only through living out the Gospel can we become transformed into a new creation—having hearts that yearn for Christ and what truly is good—not buying so whimsically into societal norms.
If we find ourselves thinking the way our world tell us to, instead of the way the Bible teaches us to, then brother and sister, we must come before God and ask Him to clear the fog from our minds. We must go to Scripture to deepen our beliefs concerning foundational realities such as our identity, suffering, and above all, who God is.
The riches we experience when we live according to the Bible are so much greater than anything else the world has to offer, whether money, status, friendships, fame, or approval. So I encourage you to run towards God’s Word of Life. Run in such a way as to win a prize—throwing aside anything that hinders and weighing everything according to that which we have staked our entire life upon.