Smartphones have changed everything. They have become the go-to source of information in our daily lives. News, recipes, movie reviews, opinions, shopping, entertainment, and just about everything we need can be found in our pockets.
While we can track down just about any piece of trivial (but accurate) knowledge by asking Siri, our smartphones are also a source of horribly bad information.
Smartphones are giving us all the wrong messages about who we are.
Because our relationships are lived out in social media environments, the potential for comparison is off the chart. There is simply too much information. We compare ourselves to unrealistic ideals of success, happiness, beauty, and popularity. Rarely do we measure up.
Many people have lost sight of any sense of identity that is rooted in our fundamental value as children of God, created in His image with eternal purpose and meaning. Instead, we look to the affirmations of others on our phones in the form of follows, likes, clicks, and comments. The average person looks at his phone 200 times a day, subconsciously checking social media to see if she has value in the eyes of others.
The result is that we are more depressed than ever before. How could we not be when we are looking in a terrible, empty place to find our worth?
The generation who has never known of life without a smartphone (those 25 years and under) are particularly prone to basing their lives upon this bad information.
I have always believed that most people's emotional and relational problems are rooted in their sense of identity. They don't truly know and believe who God has made them to be. Unfortunately, smartphones have made things exponentially worse.
That's why I'm thrilled that there's a new, young voice willing to offer his generation a better way.
Jake Jeffcoat is a young man that I have gotten to know in the past few years. His life and ministry have been rooted in a simple paradigm he refers to as IMAGE. He is convinced that his generation (even young people of faith) will struggle if they don't fully embrace the image of Christ that God has placed in them. I fully agree with him.
Jake has written a book that helps people discover who God made them to be.
IMAGE releases in a few months and I couldn't be more excited about the message. Every person needs to understand and walk in the truth of who they are in Christ. Young people in particular need to grasp this reality. If not, they will continue to buy in to the wrong messages they are unconsciously embracing through social media.
Here's what Jake has to say about IMAGE:
Why write a book about self-image and identity? Well, to put it quite simply, because it’s the biggest problem in my generation.
The truth is that self-image and comparison are just the branches that sprout forth from a deeper root. The real problem is an identity crisis. God gives us characteristics of our true identity all throughout Scripture. These characteristics can stand the test of time because a never changing, never faltering God holds them up.
We get in trouble when we define ourselves by the variables this world offers us: our jobs, our friends, our success, our mistakes, or even our education. These things are all subject to change in a matter of seconds. If our identity is wrapped up in a variable, then the moment it starts to vary, we will be left broken, confused, and empty.
That’s why we must get our identity from the only true constant - Jesus.
Every person on planet earth is weighed down by baggage. Whether it is past mistakes, unmet expectations, or a dream that has been run into the ground, we have all experienced the heaviness of living in a fallen world. Even in the midst of all the darkness that is present in our lives, IMAGE spreads the truth that there is a light at the end of every tunnel; shinning bright with the hope we all need. That light is Jesus.
There is divine thread woven into the fiber of our bodies. In Psalm 139 David tells us how God knits each person together in his or her mother’s womb. He uses the divine thread to do so, and it shines bright with the essence of heaven and the likeness of God. This thread is the very Image of God that is stamped across our identity, naming Him as the One who crafted our conception.
The One who created us cares for us. He longs to see the burdens that weigh us down thrown onto Him. He chases us because of the divine thread and holy image that we all bear. He doesn’t want His creation chained down. He wants us set free.
The heartbeat of IMAGE is to see people experience the freedom that comes in finding their identity in Jesus. We believe that not only does Jesus want us to go from death to life in Him, but He also wants us to live that new life in complete freedom.
We saw that so many people in our generation don’t know what true freedom feels like, so we sought out to change that. It’s not a matter of doing the right thing, but of taking off the grave clothes that we wore before Jesus brought us to life.
Nothing can define a person like the One who created us. Let Him do His work, and live in the truth that comes from it.
Barrett here again....
If you need a fresh understanding of who you are in God's eyes (the only perspective that really matters), then pre-order your copy of IMAGE today. If the teenager or the millennial you raised is being negatively impacted by the bad information on his or her smartphone -- and they are -- then you should grab a copy for them, too. I can't recommend it highly enough.