the things they take in, pt 2: instagram

It’s 2014, so I thought for a New Year’s Resolution, I would try proper capitalization and punctuation in my blog. We’ll see how long I last.

“Instagram is lawful” but not everything about instagram is helpful. “Instagram is lawful” but I will not be enslaved by Instagram.

– 1 Corinthians 6:12 … kinda.

Sunday at Youth Group, I told the crew that we were starting a series about Practical Theology, intentionally looking at different avenues for where we can live out 1 Corinthians 10 and 11, “Doing all to the glory of God” and “Being Imitators of Christ”.

You and I have a long road ahead. There is so much out there and it is always changing. But, if we get the foundations and basics of practically applying the Gospel to every area of our lives, discussing with people who love us and care for us, these things will build upon each other for the future.

So I want to talk to you about Instagram.

If you type in in your URL, you’ll end up getting a blank screen telling you to log in. What this means is that instrgram is not for your computer, but rather it is an application for your phone, view-able only online if you have an account, but everything happens on your phone. Followers (and all 200+million people on instagram) can like or comment on that picture (unless there is user-initiated blocking of non-followers being able to look at your pictures and videos).

Pro’s of Instagram – Anyone can take a picture and make it look good. Filters add depth and richness to bland and boring pictures. There are apps out there that have more filters and allow you to do more things to a picture as well, making anyone feel like they can take a (nearly) professional picture.

Con’s of Instagram – It is exclusive. You really have to have a smart phone to be on instagram, at least to get an account.

It is about attention.¬†Instagram is about how many “likes” (it is odd because the icon for a like is a heart) and comments you get. There are days where people post their “man-crushes” or “women-crushes”, take a “selfie”, show their “transformation” and things of the like. So, you’ll see what the teens think are “attractive”. ¬†Because it is about getting attention, there is the temptation to being provocative

The Crazy Additions to Instagram – Recently, Instagram came out with an update that now allows direct sending of pictures between followers. So, if you and I follow one another, I can send you a picture that is just between us. When this update came out, I saw on twitter and facebook (we will eventually get to these) the joyful cheers as now there is an easy way to send sexy/pornographic pictures easier and secretly. Also, there are now other apps that allow you to chat with people through instagram, being able to talk with a person whose picture you like.

Why you should be on instagram: Parents. We had 27 of our 40+ kids at youth group on Sunday say that they use instagram. With people as young as 9 years old getting smart phones (I don’t understand this), instagram is designed for the user being able to follow/look at pictures of anyone they want to, comment on them, etc. If you want to know the pulse of things that are going on at school (ps, your kids are on their smart phones at school), you should be on instagram. If you are wondering what your teen’s friends say about him/her, get on instagram and look at the comments they leave for each other (you can also see the activity of your followers). There are pictures that are being posted that should be some cause for concern or a raised eyebrow.

The issue beneath the application: Your son or daughter wants to be noticed. They want attention. They want to feel like they can express themselves. There is an identity crisis and teenagers are looking to instagram for answers.

In Philippians 2:8-9, Paul is in the midst of giving his resume of how awesome he is, and he says “Indeed, I count everything as loss becuase of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. … in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him…” He sOur identity should be found in this truth:

I am in Christ. Christ is in me.

But rather, we are being pulled away to make our identity into something else. Your teenagers need to know who they are. They need to hear who you say they are, who you see them to be, and even greater, they need to know whose they are. If they are a Christian, they need to be reminded that they are a son or daughter of the True Father.

If you want help trying to get things set up for an instagram account, ask your son or daughter. If they don’t know or won’t tell you, shoot me an email ( or text and I’ll walk you through it.