These days, it seems like everybody wants to be a brand. Everybody wants to be noticed. Everybody wants followers. Everybody has a newer, more relevant, or more hip approach to Biblical truth.
I know I’m overgeneralizing. Everybody is not the same, and not everything on the internet is meant to attract cheap attention. But it certainly feels that way sometimes, and that’s part of why I stayed off social media for several years. I got tired of all the noise, and I didn’t want to be just another voice vying for my own personal spotlight.
There’s a huge difference between a God-given platform and building your brand. There’s nothing wrong with putting yourself out there. There’s nothing wrong with sharing pieces of your life with others on Facebook. There’s nothing wrong with having an audience of people who listen to what you have to say. But something God has challenged me on is my motivation.
Motivation can take someone who says and does everything right and turn them into someone who is wrong. Motivation can take what could have been words of healing, restoration, and refreshment and turn them into over-processed, branded, attention-seeking noise.
In the past, I tried to work the system, even though I felt uncomfortable doing it. I tried to figure out how to word my posts to get more attention, how to choose subjects that people would want to hear about, how to post things that people would want to see. But ultimately, this was self-serving and unsatisfying. If your purpose is really to share a message that God has put inside of you, God’s the one who will give you the resources and the audience.
I think that a huge component of finding your purpose and letting the Holy Spirit live though you is humbly recognizing that you do not need to seek attention. If God wants to put a spotlight on you, he will. If he doesn’t, then trust that what you are doing is absolutely enough for the people within your sphere of influence.
The value of your words doesn’t come from who is hearing you, but from who is speaking through you.
There’s a quote I read recently that says, “True success is not measured in physical possessions, but in the amount of lives you change.” I don’t totally agree. I think that true success is knowing God and obeying him. Whether your life affects five people or five million is ultimately not your decision. Your job is to obey God and to trust him to give you everything you need to fulfill the calling he has on your life. The number of people you reach is not your responsibility, but his.
I’m not saying that blogging, social media, or even branding is inherently wrong. But I want to challenge Christians and churches who have influence or who are seeking influence to consider:
- What is your motivation? Are you building a brand because you want to be known, or because it’s something God has led you to do?
- Are you trusting God to give you a platform in his own timing, or are you trying to build it yourself?
- Are your actions based on the Holy Spirit’s prompting, or do they come from your own desires (or from impatience)?
- For Christian writers: Are your words Holy Spirit inspired ones that will provide refreshment to the reader, or were they chosen to attract the most attention and likes?
- Is your heart’s desire to make God known, or is it for people to know who you are?