Selfie Seduction: The Problem With Pride

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy…                        

– 2 Timothy 3:2 (NIV)

By Zelda Dominguez

What is a selfie? Known as a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically taken with a digital camera, cell phone, or web cam and shared via social media, the selfie is a not-so-recent cultural phenomena. Dating back as far as the 1800’s, the self-portrait is nothing new. In 1839 one of the first photographers took a photo of himself. The difference then and thru the 1900’s was that they had to wait for the company to develop the picture. Now, photos can be seen instantly and are taken a step further, posted for the world to see.

Let’s fast-forward and the concept of uploading group self-taken photographs to the internet, although with a disposable camera and not a smart phone, dates back to a webpage created in Australia in September 2001. In the early 2000’s before Facebook was popular, amateur type self-pictures were being taken in the mirror and posted on My Space. With more social networks and technology developing, the pictures became more edited and improved. It was then that the iPhone 4 offered the front facing camera and the mobile apps that gave us Instagram and Snapchat changing photography forever.

The word, “selfies” first known use originated when it was used by an Australian male describing a photograph of his injured lip taken while drunk at a 21st birthday party. The term soon became popular and in 2013, was voted by Oxford dictionary as their word of the year.

Although the original thought and internet of social media would be to be able to connect with more people and while that was true, it also affected and hindered day to day, face to face interaction. So am I saying selfies are wrong? You decide.

What about when you go out with friends and it quickly it became all about taking selfies and instantly posting on social media instead of enjoying the company or conversation? Have you been in that situation? I must admit even I have been guilty doing it on other occasions. Unfortunately, the focus becomes for some, on the image they want to project for others to see. People become addicted to posting to show where you were, who you were with, what you ate, or what you wore in order to gain more “likes” or followers. Yet, Romans 12:2 in the ESV states, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Then verse 3 says not to think of oneself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly. This word soberly here means saved thinking.

Everyone seems to be so narcissistic these days. Our society has become increasingly fascinated with selfies, snap chats, and self-videos. One article even noted that we’ve turned into a “selfie society.” You might not think it sounds so bad, but in reality, we’re a self-obsessed culture. Proverbs 16:5 says, “The Lord detests those who are proud; truly they will not go unpunished.” People want attention and are posting mostly anything for it. Today, we live in a very boastful world where everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes.

2 Timothy 3:2 speaks of the this saying, “For the people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant.” This is the world we are living in! Yet, the Bible says, humble ourselves and the Lord will lift us up (James 4:10). It is our sin nature that is a part of us and is self-centered. We can’t be humble without Jesus. In Matthew 11:29 Jesus says, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart… ” This yoke was a connecting instrument to connect oxen. There was a lead oxen that connected one or two others. This ox would lead and carry the team and they would yield to the ox. This is like Jesus, He says to put on His yoke, to be connected to Him, and He will lead us. We desire to be like Him and follow Him and be humble as He is humble.

A recent survey found nearly half of U.S. adults have taken a selfie including President Obama and the Pope. Have you seen someone posing making the “duck face?” Then mix it with a little alcohol and the choice of pictures and poses of what they thought at that moment was cool, is suddenly not so attractive and probably disastrous by morning. Today, employers look at social media as a gage of character and many have not been hired or consequently fired due to what they posted. 1 Thessalonians 4:7 states, “For God did not call us to be impure, but to be holy.”

Lastly, there are those who post inappropriate selfies to attract people. Some use social media to meet people and base what they like by the selfies they see. Others are so insecure or vain that they will post a selfie of someone else and assume a fake identity. Some go on to meet people through social media and enter relationships on the basis of a made up person (we will go into that further in another article).Founder of the Calvary Chapel and pioneer of the Jesus Movement, the late Pastor Chuck Smith quoted on the subject, “ If you strive to gain, you got to strive to maintain.” If your motivation is to gain more followers and “likes” or a relationship, think next time before you take a selfie. It can be exhausting posting and checking cycle that will end in exhaustion, isolation, and ultimately addiction.