Man holding a camera, staring at his phone

The Bible isn’t my newsfeed

So why am I treating it that way?

Scroll, tap tap. Like. Scroll, tap tap. Like. Scroll, eh, don’t like. Scroll.

That’s how I spend hours each day — mindlessly, unintentionally, and passively weeding through social media content.

Last week, when my head hit the pillow, I remembered I didn’t have quiet time with God that day. So, I flipped open my Bible app, looked at the daily verse, read it, highlighted it, and then called it a night.

And then it hit me. I was reading my Bible the same way I read my newsfeed.

Social media outlets, dating sites, and relationship applications bombard us relentlessly with choices and options. If I like what I see, I’ll double tap before moving on. If I don’t like it, swipe, next. Out of sight, out of mind.

These social channels, although beneficial in many ways, have potentially damaging effects on our relationships — not just with people, but also with God.

Unfortunately, I’ve caught myself treating God’s Word like an Instagram feed — a place where I listlessly scroll, occasionally tapping my seal of approval on the agreeable verses and scrolling past the harder, culturally challenging ones.

I follow gospel accounts on Twitter and Instagram, and I have a plethora of Christian friends who post encouraging Bible verses on Facebook. But, the inundation of Scripture and “feel good” one-liners has distorted the way I approach the Bible.

The more I reflect on this bad habit, the more shocked I am to realize how frequently I seek appeasement from photos and links more than I do from the hues of colour as the sun slowly slips beneath the horizon.

Why do I do this?

Nature compels me to be mindful of a Creator. It draws me to intentionally ponder the origin of the pink, purple, and orange sky. It urges me to actively marvel at the things far beyond my understanding. It requires me to think.

God’s Word, if we want it to truly transform the way we live, requires the same.

It requires us to meditate on what He is really asking of us, and how we can respond to Him. It requires us to be honest with ourselves and call our condition like it is: broken.

It implores us to fix our gaze on the God who transforms and calls us holy and blameless.

Reading the Bible and being transformed requires discipline. And it also requires love.

The more opportunities we give ourselves to encounter God and His unexplainable love for us, the more our desire for Him and His Word grows.

The Holy Spirit aids us in the renewing of our minds, and in transforming our thoughts, habits, and disposition.

But, we must allow Him the time, the attention, and the focus He deserves — none of which is learned by squandering time on social media.

We must be more intentional with our time and habits. We must swap scrolling for disciplining, liking for loving, and clicking for thinking.

So, here’s to the New Year! May it be full of less scrolling and more doing!

Photo (Flickr CC) by Ika Ink.