It seems to me that so much of what happens online is actually a search for personal significance. People mine the Internet like a vein of ore, looking for nuggets of value to barter for social cachet. People log on to Facebook to establish a connection to others, to friend as a verb, siphoning off self-esteem by the numbers. Cell phones act as a surrogate voice, crying “Look at me!” and “Pay attention to me!” in multiple digital languages. All of this is done in a cyber-environment that does little to encourage true intimacy, honesty, and authentic transparency.
As human beings, we desire connection. We were made that way by a God who exists within relationship Himself (Genesis 2:18; 1:26). Significance is a way for us to trade for relationship, for love, for connection. Our significance, our value, our worth, however, is not measured by the gadgets we own, our quantity of online friends, how often we’re retweeted, or how quickly somone returns our texts. All of these things are a poor foundation for self-esteem. Wise people, Scripture tells us, are careful where they build their foundations for life; shaky foundations end up going “splat!” (See Matthew 7:24-26).
The foundation of our sense of self, of our value and worth as a person, is best built on a true knowledge of who we are in the spiritual world, not the illusion we’ve crafted for ourselves in the cyber-world. The truly significant other in our lives should be our heavenly Father, not whomever we can friend on the Internet.
God, through Scripture and through Jesus Christ, has shown His desire and plan to “friend” us for eternity; we are considered not only friends of Jesus (John 15:15) but also children of God (1 John 3:1). What other significance do we need? What profile, title, or descriptor could possibly top that? It is our own insecurity and lack of faith hindering our ability to accept and integrate the truth of our divine significance into our lives. When we doubt how enternally precious we are to God, we choose to substitute temporal significance, often found through the things we buy and the masks we create. God’s love is a much stronger, long-lasting foundation. It is freely given and eternal (Ephesians 1:6; John 3:16); no upgrades are needed, ever.
The above is excerpted from chapter 12 in #Hooked: The Pitfalls of Media, Technology and Social Networking by Dr. Gregory Jantz.