Question: how much time have you spent in God’s Word in the past 3 days? 5 days? Another question: how much time did you spend on YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or playing video games in that same amount of time?

How easily we can waste vast amounts of time, not on outright evil things, but just nibbling at the table of banality. Snacking on galactic time wasters and soul destroyers. With so much vying for our attention, how can we justify spending so much time numbing our brains in the social media wasteland? Hours can creep by as we ignore critical priorities in our lives.

Then there’s the whole comparison cycle when it comes to sites like Facebook. In April of 2014, a study was released from the University of Michigan in which researchers monitored 82 Facebook users during a two-week period. What they discovered had confirmed other studies on Facebook. Namely, that there is a direct connection between using Facebook and discontentment and/or depression.

The reason is simple: comparison and envy. These two monsters have driven discontentment since the Garden of Eden. They are deadly twins. Facebook allows us to only see the best parts of other’s lives. Lots of great photos and events all scrunched into a few e-pages for our scrolling pleasure. Such viewing habits can easily breed a powerful sense that we are missing out on…well, just missing out.

Why don’t we seem to be living the charmed life? Why does everyone else on Facebook look so happy, so bouncy, so…well, fulfilled? Hence, this is where our discouragement and depression of feeling “left out” comes in.

Numerous other studies that prove the same phenomenon. In Sweden, researchers at the University of Gothenburg studied 1,011 people and found, “Results showed that Facebook usage had a significant negative relationship with self-esteem. In other words, the results indicated that users who spend more time on Facebook have lower self-esteem.”

There is a direct connection between time in Scripture and stable mental health. This is a fact. The difference between Facebook and the Bible is this: when the Bible tells us about people’s lives, we get the good, the bad and the ugly. The new year might be a good time to re-evaluate your habits and practices for social media and reading Scripture.

by Jay Childs, Senior Pastor
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