Addictions come in many forms but they all bear the same characteristics. They involve an obsession, a strong urge towards an activity that cannot be escaped. And almost everyone with an addiction denies that they are addicted. If confronted they quickly speak up in defense, "That's crazy. I can quit anytime I want." We all know the most common addictions: drugs and alcohol, tobacco, gambling, pornography, etc. But the human flesh can easily become addicted to any activity. As Christians, we need to be discerning and guard our hearts.
One of newer forms of addiction is social media, and like most addictions, almost no one would admit to their obsession. The easiest way to test for an obsession is to see how easy or difficult it is to set it aside. Many who would cry, "nonsense" to the charge of addiction would find it almost impossible to quit Facebook for a month. It is easy to fall into the trap of idolatry.
The statistics that are being reported today are alarming. One divorce attorney says that as many as one half of her cases involve social media. In a recent CBS article the reporter shared a sad testimony from a mom: "I was spending sometimes 4-5 hours a day . . . when I should have been cooking dinner or reading to my kids or watching a movie with my husband or just talking to my husband." Her marriage came to an end. Sadly, there are Christians falling into this trap.
Social media is not intrinsically evil. Our church has a Facebook page. The problem is the insatiable desire to read the next post and the urge to post a response or express a "like" to what was posted. It becomes an obsession where you could not imagine being without your phone or other electronic device. Paul wrote: "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything" (1 Cor. 6:12).
Try the test. See if you can set aside social media for a month, or even a week.