The other day I was browsing various podcasts by Judah Smith, Senior Pastor of City Church. As I browsed his relatively lengthy collection on iTunes, the title of one caught my eye – “Instagram Isn’t Real“.
Hmm, that’s different for a Christian sermon topic, I thought. [Double-click]
I started listening…ok fine, I started half-listening as the background to some intermittent email checking, Facebook scrolling, tweeting, pinning, and more double-tapping…on Instagram.
Then I heard him say,
“Social media is not aiding our efforts for contentment. – Want to know how to increase your attractiveness? Increase your contentment.”
Suddenly, I x’ed out of at least 5 tabs, was zeroed in listening, and started taking notes.
You know the feeling, I know the feeling, we all know the feeling. You’re having a great day and then out of nowhere you’re grumbling under your breath thinking: “Oh great-you got a promotion? I’ve only been working my tail off for 2 years.” “Really?? You’re in Bali…again?” “Psh, I’d travel the world too if my dad was a BILLIONAIRE.” “Oh come on, no one is that tan all the time. How many filters did you use, dude?” “Seriously, they’re already having their second honeymoon…wait, what is that–they’re pregnant again, too??”
It’s easy to get sucked in and most of us keep coming back to our feeds, feeling all the more restless each time we leave them. We want all the stuff we think everyone else has. We are literally feeding ourselves with wanting and lusting. It’s miserable.
But the thing with getting stuff, is you just want more stuff.
Contentment, biblically speaking, means that you are settled. Not that you settle, but that you are settled in heart and mind. That all you pursue and do comes from a settled soul, which allows you to discover enjoyment in every circumstance you’re in [Judah Smith].
What I do love about Instagram is its intention for “in the moment” sharing – hence the Insta part. Yea sure, we all throw up the occasional “#tbt” & “#latergram” photo, but the app is really meant for images to be posted as they’re happening. That’s what makes them relevant and connected.
The beauty of a photo is its ability to capture the now, allowing us to reflect on it later. The really cool thing about filtering and photo editing, is that it allows you to remember it as you experienced it. To create your expression of it. In all its clarity, sharpness, and pure saturation. It’s an art form.
Just as our faith can be an art-form, too.
You don’t have tomorrow and your can’t recover yesterday. Be settled and contented today. Realize what you do have–and know it’s not the cars, the yachts, and every extra square foot of housing. You brought nothing into this world, and you’re taking nothing out [Judah Smith].
Know that God doesn’t condemn anyone with riches. What He rebukes is a lust for riches. It’s the preoccupation of it; not the riches itself. Just as the problem isn’t Instagram, it’s in our obsession of it. What He really wants us to disover is the wealth found in contentment. And contentment comes as a package deal to Godliness— which sounds like a big, scary, intimidating, and taboo word.
Yet Godliness simply means to be “God aware”; to be aware of the one and true God which affords you the riches of a settled soul.
“Don’t ever underestimate the power of God awareness–the ability to acknowledge and be conscious of God’s immediate presence in whatever circumstance you find.”
People go to church, claiming they love the sensation, they love “the vibes”. There’s something about the songs, the preaching, the background music, the lighting, the prayer. Why do we do it all? God awareness. To make us more attuned to His constant presence.
In our plugged-in, always-on culture, there’s no doubting we’re self aware, we’re you aware, we’re stuff aware, we’re lack aware, we’re performance aware. Think about it, we’re more aware of our perceived prayer incompetencies, than the God we’re praying to.
“Contentment is the ability to be more God-aware than anything else.”
So when you find yourself incessantly scrolling & starting to grumble, become a proponent for the here & now. How God-aware are we willing to be?