By Pauline Daniel
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Rom 12:2
What does it mean to be conformed to this world or to this age? We often joke about the present generation’s obsession with social media. Everything that one does is shared online. If something is not “Instagram”able, it isn’t worth doing. This isn’t limited to insecure teenagers. Organisations do it too and so do churches and non-profits. Helped someone out? There must be pictures to post so that people can see the good we are doing. Had a special event? There must be pictures to post so that people can see how much fun we had.
How does this compare with Jesus’ instructions to not let the left hand know what the right is doing? He said that being “seen by people” shouldn’t be what drives us, but that we are to do our good works in secret so that God who sees in secret would reward us. God’s knowledge of our actions should be more than enough for us.
Now there isn’t anything wrong with social media, it is just a tool. What matters is the motive we have when sharing. Do we post to share information or connect with people? Or do we post to make an impression, “to be seen by people”? If we have a need to be seen by others, then we are conformed to this world and in need of a transformation.
We are supposed to present ourselves to God as sacrifices (Rom 12:1). This means that we are dead to ourselves and our selfish desires. We shouldn’t need other people to think more of us than we are. A perfect life that makes us happy is no longer defined as one that people envy, but one that is lived according to God’s will and is approved of by God. The only person we need to impress is God, no one else.
Do our lives show that God’s approval is all that matters?