Living for Eternity – Not for Instagram
Raise your hand if you have ever obsessed over an Instagram post. Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a picture in mind that you wanted to get so that you could post it on Instagram. Raise your hand if you’ve ever scrolled through your “likes” to look for specific names.
Now, raise your hand if you’re guilty of all three — and more.
I’m over here with both hands in the air. I know that I certainly am guilty of falling into these traps of these mindsets again and again and again. I can think of half a dozen posts on my social media pages, at least, that I have put extensive thought into ahead of time. I have found it way too easy to obsess over earthly things and to focus on myself and other’s opinions.
It can be so hard to get out of the mindset of comparison, performance, and perfection. I will be the first to admit that I struggle daily to not let the opinions of others get to me and to not live a “curated life.”
I have to remind myself daily of the commands in the first 16 verses of Colossians 3: to fix my eyes on Jesus, do away with sin, and live new in Christ.
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” – Colossians 3:1-4
This is a command for every person that has identified with Christ. If Christ is your life (v. 4), then we should seek the things that are above. Francis Chan writes in his book Crazy Love, “Lukewarm people think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven.” Lukewarm believers, according to Revelation 3 and the Church of Laodicea, are Christians who believe in Jesus, know the truth of the Gospel, and the “Christian” way to live, but are not actively pursuing Jesus and care more about earthly things.
Lukewarm is not a state that we want to be in. By focusing more on the things of the world, we are in essence, saying no to Jesus.
“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” – Colossians 3:5-11
Therefore, going forward, as a result of the truth we now know, live differently! Our earthly desires, our sinful flesh, our human tendencies, need to be put to death. If we are alive with Christ, then we put on a new self — a self that is Imago Dei, in the Image of God! Paul tells us that there is no distinction – we are either in Christ or not in Christ. Nothing else matters.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” – Colossians 3:12-14
If we are living a new life, with our eyes fixed on things above, knowing that we are chosen, then we put on love and kindness, and compassion, and humility. We do not live wondering if our best angle is going to be captured or if we look cute enough to post a picture on Instagram. We stop obsessing over creating a “curated life.”
“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” – Colossians 3:15-16
One of the most comforting things to me about this passage, is that when we follow these commands, the peace of Christ will rule in our hearts. The stress of a highlight reel Instagram and the anxiety of the perfect time to post to maximize the algorithm is no more.
When we live for eternity, we do not dwell in the present. Our actions are dictated by our desire to praise the Lord and preach the Good News. Instead of working for the best Instagram aesthetic, we are working to build up heavenly treasures.
“A person who is obsessed thinks about heaven frequently. Obsessed people orient their lives around eternity; they are not fixed only on what is here in front of them.”- Francis Chan