I realized a while back that I had an obsession that wasn’t very God-honoring. I was searching for blog followers, Facebook followers and playing a numbers game that, while wanting to claim to use it for ministry, was really all about me. I understood that what I had to do if I wanted to put God first and replace the internet and my own personal ambition as an idol in my life. So, 2016 is going to be my year of cutting back online (if not ultimately taking a sabbatical). When I saw the newest release by Craig Groeschel, #Struggles: Following Jesus in a Selfie-Centered World, I realized that a pastor who’s advice I’ve always trusted has written a book on an area that is one of my (far too many) personal struggles.
In #Struggles, Groeschel ponders the question, “Can we engage in the endless stream of social media and at the same time keep our eyes focused on Christ?” Throughout the book, he discussed the internet and its place in our struggles for contentment, the ways we’ve traded true intimacy in for “likes,” and the ways that social media and texting feed our needs for control, desensitizes us to violence and troubles, makes it easier to be impure, and give anonymous criticism. Ultimately, Groeschel ponders social media and smartphones as idols and the way that they are a constant distraction in our real lives.
While phones, social media and the internet often seem like a real danger in our lives, Groeschel doesn’t advocate completely abandoning these avenues of communication (unless you’re so addicted that you need to in order to control the addiction). Instead, he proposes some ways to keep technology in its place and some commandments to help you navigate a more Christ-honoring way of interacting in social media.
I felt like this book was really a balanced approach at looking at a technology that is so entrenched in our lives that often many of us rank phones right up with air and water as necessities in our lives. I actually feel like we often don’t even realized how addicted we are to the media that is problematic in our lives. I like that, unlike many of those who seek to just throw out the media, Groeschel instead seeks to provide practical advice for how we should use this technology and not be mastered by it.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for and honest review. My opinions are my own.