Have you been following a “social media influencer”? If you haven’t heard of this term, it refers to ordinary Netizens who help promote fashion brands, restaurants, and other retailers through Instagram, Facebook and other social media. (In exchange, they get freebies and sometimes, payment.)
Like top athletes, actors and pop stars, these influencers—often teens—help endorse brands by showing their followers what they like to wear, where they eat, where they shop, and even what delivery services they use. Their aim is to raise awareness of these brands and influencing what people think of them. But there’s one big difference. Influencers are ordinary people. They’re not paid millions of dollars for a professional photo shoot showing them wearing a fancy watch or eating at the newest hipster cafe in town. Instead, they actually use these items and visit these places daily.
This makes them more real, especially to people they know, whether it’s family, relatives, friends, classmates, or colleagues. And there’s no age barrier too: anyone can be an influencer.
Doesn’t it make you wonder: If an ordinary teen in Singapore can influence more than 10,000 people to “follow” her lifestyle, could we do the same as Christians? Could we change what people think of God on social media and elsewhere? Could we be social media influencers for Jesus?
It’s not easy, of course. In fact, social media influencers say it’s hard work. “You need to walk the walk… as well as talk the talk every day and practically at every moment,” an industry expert told the New York Times in a recent article. “It is more than just a job. It’s an extension of your lifestyle. Influencers are always ‘on’; there is no distinction between work life and personal life.”
“Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”— Colossians 4:6
Talk about dedication! It almost sounds like what the apostle Paul told the Colossians: “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:5-6).
What does it mean to have a “graceful” conversation? It would be one that reflects the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). It would be filled with words that are loving, patient, kind, wholesome, kind, gentle, and restrained. And what about salt? Just as salt brings out the full taste of a dish, a conversation seasoned with salt would be tasty and impactful, giving readers and hearers a taste of the life behind the words.
If this sounds like a big challenge to you, try starting small today. Like the social media influencers, the next time you post something, a reply, or a comment online, consider this: Am I an influencer for Jesus?
Jesus, I want to be an “influencer” for You. Help me fill my conversations with grace and season my words with salt, so that I can point others to you—the one true God who can satisfy our deepest longings.
What we say and what we do affects what people think of Jesus.