A few years ago I hesitantly took up blogging at the behest of a friend. Since then I have started three blogs, two of which are active. I knew the dangers going in. Blogging is an inherently narcissistic medium; it assumes that readers want to know what you think about any given topic. It is from you, through you, and if we aren’t careful, it will be back to you. I fight that blog narcissism every day. Blogging panders to pride.
Statistics don’t help. You can track down people who refer to your blog, interact in comments, and watch your hits rise and fall. Sure, these can be helpful and produce some good conversations, but stats are as dangerous as they are helpful. Of course, it’s not the stats that are really dangerous; it is my idolizing heart. The part of me that wants everything to be about me, not God. The impulse to worship something other than the glorious triune God, namely myself. Or is that really what is happening in my heart? Am I worshipping myself or am I worshipping what others think of me? Ah, that’s more to the point.
Blogging invites interaction, recognition, and criticism, as do many forms of self-expression. I find myself checking comments and statistics to see if anyone has responded. Often, this is out of a desire to know what people think about me and my ideas, to see if they like or dislike them. If they like my writing, then I feel good, and sometimes I will cuddle that goodness, like Gollum and his ring. I the dark places of my heart, I want others’ approval more than I rest in God’s approval. The applause of men echoes more loudly in my darkened heart than my applause of God.
If I am not careful, vigilent, I will blog myself to death. Living for the approval and praise of others is deadly. It blackens the heart, atrophying affections for Christ and actualizing affections for self. It leads us into a kind of death, where Jesus offers life.Paul tells us to put to death deadly things, to fight the good fight of faith: “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Col 3:10). I need to put evil idolatry to death, so that I can truly live.
In Fight Club we: 1) Know our Sin 2) Fight our Sin 3) Trust our Savior. I know my sin, and sometimes I fight it. But I am short on strength to choose life, not death, apart from the Spirit. The Spirit has made me a new creature. When I cuddle blog stats, I act like the old creature, the one that Jesus died to forgive and renew. I act out of character. Paul reminds me that I: “have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” The new disciple in Jesus is constantly renewed. He or she doesn’t just look back and say, that’s when I became a Christian, when I became a new person.” Instead, they look at the present and they say: “This is proof that I am a Christian, that I am being renewed today in the knowledge of the gospel, of Jesus, to live out my new humanity.”
Jesus offers us life where there is death, newness where there is oldness, forgiveness where there is vanity and every evil thing. The question is, “Will I trust him?” Or will I trust the fleeting promise of men’s approval? Fortunately, God is bent on renewing me, on guiding my heart to a place of infinite joy in his presence, to the acceptance of the Father who loves me enough to redirect my affections back to him. I am encouraged by God’s relentless pursuit of his glory in my joy. I am thankful for the knowledge of the gospel that reminds me and shows me just how great God’s grace is, and as a result, today, I will choose to trust Christ, not approval, and blog for life, not death!