Social media. We love it? We hate it? We hate that we love it?
Whether or not you’re following, tweeting, pinning, gramming, or sharing, our world has drastically changed because of these social platforms, and they greatly impact your life, and finances.
All these social platforms are businesses and are motivated by making money. So they favor businesses that use their social platforms to sell products or services. That means every time you check Facebook or pin your favorite recipes, those platforms are learning what you’re interested in so they can help other businesses sell to you better.
And those other businesses are spending upwards of $31 billion to advertise their products and services to you on social media. The time you spend checking your social media is like gold to marketers and businesses around the world.
There are of course many benefits to social media, and it’s opened incredible doors that would have otherwise remained closed. But we need to guard our hearts, and budgets, from the dangers of it all.
One of the greatest dangers of social media is the effect it can have on our attitudes and beliefs about money. It’s easy to get stuck in the comparison trap when you are constantly checking Facebook and scrolling through your Instagram feed.
We compare our normal day-to-day to the rest of the world’s best-of-the-best – our blooper reel to everyone else’s Academy Award-nominated film. Keeping up with the Joneses is no longer a casual neighbor rivalry – it’s a constant, day-to-day war that we are waging against ourselves.
Every time that pang of jealousy wells up in you when “The Joneses” outdo you again, it can quickly turn to bitterness and a poor financial decision.
What makes it even more difficult is that “The Joneses” are no longer just “that family down the street”; they’re a global conglomerate of individuals, filters, celebrities, and a culture promoting shallow relationships and financial irresponsibility.
It doesn’t take much to guess how devastating this can be to your budget. It’s hard to see the financial strain and overdrawn bank accounts through the happy Snapchat filters. The heated fights between spouses are easily hidden beneath quintessential Instagram tags and perfectly decorated homes.
When you allow yourself to fall into the comparison trap, you not only forfeit the right perspective of your own life, circumstances, and resources, but you taint your perspective of those you’re comparing yourself to.
It’s harder to invite the Joneses to church if you’re constantly thinking (and talking) negatively about them.
There’s a saying that “bitterness is like drinking poison, expecting the other person to die”.
Guard your heart and finances from the sin of bitterness and remember that as Christians, we are called to be different than the rest of the world.
Proverbs 30:7-9 says,
“Two things I ask of you, Lord;
do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.”
Did you catch that? “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.” David knew the value of having to rely on God’s provision when he penned this Psalm.
If you’re consumed with thankfulness towards God for His daily provision of your needs, then there’s no room in your thought-life to compare yourself to the Joneses. There’s also no room in your budget to try and out-spend them!
As my mom always says, “Get out of your head….it’s a bad neighborhood.”
You know how sometimes your greatest strength is also your greatest weakness?
Social media’s ability to connect us to the rest of the world is both great, and awful. On the one hand, Pinterest gives us an endless supply of ideas on how to save money, cut costs, and make healthy budgets. But on the other, how can you ever be content while you’re looking at an unending stream of ways to improve your cooking, clothing, workouts, homes, gardens, parties, weddings, vacations, and relationships?
Spending in excess has become the norm. It’s what we see everyday and we’ve lost the ability to recognize it as frivolousness…and sin.
But once again, this is a great opportunity for believers to look, act, and spend differently than the rest of the world. It’s an opportunity to practice contentment.
Paul explains in Philippians 4, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
If you want to live a content life, you’re going to have to depend on God’s strength.
Remember that we can’t take the things on this earth to heaven with us. But the way you live is going to determine whether or not you hear, “well done, good and faithful servant.”
Obviously social media has influenced Millennials the most – they are 3 times more likely to refer to social media for purchasing decisions. But other generations are far from immune. According to Social Media Today,
“…the average person will spend nearly two hours (approximately 116 minutes) on social media everyday, which translates to a total of 5 years and 4 months spent over a lifetime.”
Imagine the earning potential you are wasting with those 5 years! You could earn a PhD instead of checking Facebook. You could gain invaluable experience in your field by skipping Snapchat. You could make, work towards, and reach your own 5 year goals in the same amount of time you spent on YouTube.
Think about how God would be pleased about you spending your time. Work to refine and cultivate the talents He has given you to further His kingdom.
Social media may be a way you can find a connection to do that, but be careful to guard against idly wasting time.
Proverbs 14:23 says,
“All hard work brings a profit,
but mere talk leads only to poverty.”
Work hard to save, keep a budget, and live as a faithful steward to honor God. If you use social media, be careful to safeguard your heart and mind against it. Pray for wisdom on how to use it to further God’s Kingdom.
Crown’s Money Map can help you stay focused on your financial goals. It’s a simple, step-by-step guide to keep you on the right track and in line with biblical principles.
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