If Timothy had Instagram... (Part 1)

“Avoid the idle talk, post what really matters.”
Jakob Owens
Luke Greenwood

Luke is the Director of Steiger Europe and International Training. He has been a missionary with Steiger since 2002 and served the mission in many ways in several regions of the world.
Instagram: @steigereurope

Website: steiger.org/about-us/leadership

Timothy was so sold out for Jesus that when Paul invited him to go on his first mission trip, he agreed to the most extreme mission prep ever - getting circumcised! They traveled together everywhere and saw a lot of people come to Jesus. Paul would often ask him to stay behind and take care of the new church plants.

Timothy could have been a social media ninja. He was good at building relationships, so when he came to town, everyone would have started following him on Instagram.

Paul cared very much about Timothy, calling him a “true son in the faith,” so he wrote letters to him, encouraging him in what he was doing for Jesus. These were public messages, and they would circulate the churches in the region - so it was kind of like Paul writing to Timothy on his wall instead of through his inbox, giving him life lessons right there on his public profile.

For Paul and Timothy, nothing was more important than the message of Jesus, His death and resurrection. Paul encouraged Timothy to stand strong in that truth, especially because many people at the time were teaching false ideas about Jesus, arguing over all kinds of subjects that were becoming major distractions.

Social media thrives today because it responds to a deeply felt need we have to be heard and to find our identities. We don’t know who we are anymore and we don’t know what to believe. We’re told there’s no absolute truth and that no one really knows the answers to the big questions, which leaves us with nothing but our own opinions. So, we spend hours watching and reading other people’s thoughts, and voicing our opinion on anything that comes through our feed. Deep down, we’re trying to find ourselves, but it’s like looking into an abyss.

People on “Timothy’s feed” were spending all their time “giving heed to fables”… “causing disputes” … “turning to idle talk”… “desiring to be teachers, but understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.” (1Tim1:3-7). Paul told Timothy to teach sound doctrine and avoid the idle talk. Timothy was called to stand firm, to be a man of the Word, an example, someone who could point to Jesus and not join in the disputes. This is great advice for us in our social media culture today.

The motivation for Timothy to do this was “love from a pure heart, from good conscience and from sincere faith” (1Tim1:5). In a context of confusion, arguments, and distractions, Timothy was to stand firm in talking about the things that really matter, about the love and life we find in Jesus.

How can we do this today? I don’t suggest we constantly preach at people, filling our walls with verses and sermons. But it certainly challenges us to not waste our time on endless debates, and to resist the selfish yearning for attention or trying to find our identities in a superficial social media profile. It’s a refreshing call to “hold on to faith and a good conscience” (1Tim1:19) in midst the striving and disputing.

Social media presents a huge opportunity today to communicate truth with a broader public reach than ever before. I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface of the potential this offers for sharing the Gospel on the global stage. Maybe if we were less distracted, we’d discern the strategies that are on God’s heart for this connected generation to hear of the hope we have in Jesus.

Related items

  • Episode 158: Our Hope Is Not in the Miracle but in Jesus!

    This episode of the Provoke and Inspire Podcast features Nashville producer/songwriter Joshua Silverberg. He shares his amazing stories of praying for people to be healed and seeing God move in power. We dig into some of the skepticism surrounding the supernatural and ask questions like “Does God desire for every person to be healed?” and “What do we say to someone who has never experienced God’s healing despite years of prayer?”

    Don’t miss this critical conversation!

  • Episode 157: Should Followers of Jesus Be Watching Game of Thrones?

    With literally millions of people watching and talking about Game of Thrones, the regulars felt it was important to raise the question: “Where do we, as followers of Jesus, draw the line in deciding which movies or series we shouldn't watch?” Their intense discussion revolves around the question of whether this decision simply comes down to a personal choice between an individual and God, or if adopting that mentality might be another form of relativism. 

    But don’t worry, it’s not all intense! David will still make you laugh (or cringe) with his latest Random Story!

  • Episode 156: Don’t Be a Pharisee, Be like Jesus.

    Continuing in their series on how to reach the secular world, the regulars talk about the need for having God’s heart. They look at the importance of making the decision to love our neighbors and that our actions can’t just be based on whether we feel something or not. They then discuss what it really means to have God’s broken heart for the world and how without it, we are really just being religious in our attempts to reach people for Jesus.

  • If Timothy Had Instagram... (Part 3)
    “Your public profile matters” (1Tim.2:8-10; 3:1-13)

    This is a big one - possibly the largest challenge and most important theme when it comes to our social media engagement. How you portray yourself publicly matters. The impression you give to others matters.

  • Episode 155: Why Have Our Prayers Become a Dead Ritual?

    You’ve heard the regulars talk about the importance of praying and seeking God many times on this podcast, but what does that look like? How do we seek God with a desperate heart?

    Ben, Chad, David and Luke continue the discussion around this subject and why it seems to have become a dead ritual. They share their personal experiences on the matter and then give some practical examples of how you can grow in your personal prayer life.

    Oh yes… and David returns to Virgin Man in his Random Story…

Come&Live!
Sign up for our newsletter and receive a FREE digital copy of "Revolutionary, Ten Principles That Will Empower Christian Artists to Change the World" by David Pierce.

Country
Please wait