Is Pursuing Platform Taking Precedence Over Glorifying God?

Susan Narjala   |   September 14, 2021 

As a Christian writer who is active in the social media space, I recognise the tension all too well: I desire to use my words for God’s glory but there’s also a nagging compulsion within me to build my platform and grow my audience.

Never before have everyday people had such ubiquitous opportunities to build platforms where we can position ourselves as public figures and influencers.

There seems to be a race to establish ourselves as we invest an inordinate amount of time converting curated snippets of our lives and thoughts into social media posts that might resonate with worldwide audiences.

But as Christians, we also grapple with the dilemma: Am I doing this to have my own name in the spotlight or to magnify the name of God?

I’m not suggesting that building an audience automatically detracts from our overarching goal of bringing glory to God.

The problem, however, lies in us honestly uncovering where our treasure is stored (Matthew 6: 21). If the goal of growing our audience fills our vision entirely and becomes our greatest desire, overhauling God Himself, we may have slipped into self-glorifying sin.

Our situation is similar to how David revelled in his own achievements when he took a census of the men who could fight in his army.

In 2 Samuel 24:2, David says to Joab, the commander of his army, “Go through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and count the people. Then I will know how many there are.”

David wasted valuable time—nine months and twenty days, the Bible says—just to find out there were “eight hundred thousand men in Israel who could use the sword and five hundred thousand men in Judah.” (2 Samuel 24: 9)

David used his resources to prove to himself and the world that he had made it. In today’s online world, he would be deemed an “influencer” with over one million followers and counting.

Today, culture tells us that our worth is found in us counting our followers and establishing our platforms.

But as Christians we hold to a higher view of worth—that imputed to us by Christ.

When we choose to pursue our idols of self-worth through our hustle for stage and spotlight, we conclude that what Christ has done for us is not enough. We buy into the notion that we need to prove our significance by our work and the growing numbers who applaud it with thumbs-up and heart emojis.

This leaves us with the question: What should Christians in the online marketplace do? How can we single-mindedly pursue the goal of lifting up God’s name while also staying relevant on social media?

While this is by no means a comprehensive plan, here are some suggestions:

  • Constantly examine our hearts in the light of God’s Word

In the incident where David commands a census, Joab is unhappy about his king’s decision and asks a pertinent question: But why does my lord the king delight in this thing?” (2 Samuel 24: 3)

“But why..?”— That’s a relevant question for us today. We ought to examine our motives and ask ourselves - “Why? Why would you and I “delight in this thing” called platform?”

When this same census incident is related in 1 Chronicles 21, David, who understands the folly of his ways, says to God: “I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.”

God can reveal the self-centeredness of our ambitions and bring us to a place of repentance where we can truly be broken over our sin of bowing down to fame and approval.

  • Hit pause on social media

If logging off social media for a few days or a couple of weeks feels like it will signal the end of the world, that may be an indicator of where our treasure lies. As Tim Keller in his book Counterfeit Gods says, “When anything in life is an absolute requirement for your happiness and self-worth, it is essentially an ‘idol,’ something you are actually worshipping.”

  • Trust God to establish the work of our hands

There’s a clear distinction between doing the work and gaining recognition for the work. Moses in Psalm 90:17 prays: "May the favour of God rest upon us. Establish the work of our hands for us. Establish the work of our hands."

We are called to work for the glory of God (Colossians 3: 23-24). But God does the establishing for us, on our behalf. Even if it means our platforms of influence may never be noteworthy in the world’s eyes, we can trust God to establish and use the gifts He has invested in us for His glory and His kingdom.

  • Let God impress on our hearts the beauty of the quiet and the ordinary

In a world of bright lights and big stages, let’s be a people set apart. As Paul instructs the Thessalonians, let’s “aspire to live quietly.” (1 Thessalonians 4: 11)

We need to withdraw to a quiet place like Jesus did (Luke 5: 16) and consistently drink from God’s Word away from the spotlight before we can pour out. It’s only then we can pour forth Jesus—and not from an overflow of being too full of ourselves.

  • Delight in the Lord

We can overcome the compulsion to make a “name for ourselves” when we truly delight in Jesus. Like David may we be able to say: "One thing have I asked of the Lord; that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple." (Psalm 27: 4)

When we fall to our knees and know Jesus as our chief delight and greatest satisfaction then we won't look for significance in the idol of approval or in the lure of platform. 

 

 

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

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When she's not smuggling chocolate past her kids or drinking gallons of coffee, Susan Narjala can be found writing, baking and (thinking about) working out. She grew up in Chennai, lived in Portland, Oregon, for the last ten years and is now back in India with her family. She finds nuggets of humour in the everyday, and writes about it on on her blog, www.susannarjala.com

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4 comments on “Is Pursuing Platform Taking Precedence Over Glorifying God?”

  1. Thank you for this. This was something that I felt God was addressing even before I started blogging. And He very clearly told me that I was only to write and not at all be concerned about who it was reaching and how. And that that was His responsibility and not mine.

    I still struggle with it, though. I get caught up in the writing and publicizing sometimes that I lose sight of the real thing at times. But God reminds me time and again that this is not about me but all about Him.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Tina! I understand the struggle. It's so easy to forget that it's all about Him. May we press on in wanting to glorify Him in all we do!

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