Always a few steps behind the latest social media fad anyway, I learned recently from one my daughters there are people called "Instagram Influencers." According to this website, an Instagram Influencer
is an Instagram user with a large number of followers, established credibility, and high engagement rates.
In other words, an Influencer is someone on Instagram who goes viral in their popularity. They even have lists of the most popular influencers.
The subject came up in our discussion because my daughter expressed concern over Christian friends, particularly girls, who are acting like they want to be such an "influencer." She told me of how girls and young ladies obsessively post large numbers of pictures of themselves, often in poses that are provocative and immodest. Popular poses that highlight a certain part of their body are regularly featured. A comment or graphic focused on some item related to health, sports, clothes, or make-up is often mentioned as the purpose for the picture. Clearly young men seek similar attention as well, though their tactics differ. Often the boundaries of proper morality, be it Christian prohibitions against drunkenness, immorality, homosexuality or other sins, are flirted with or just brazenly crossed.
Though I have an Instagram account, I am rarely on it. I have it mostly so I can see pictures of my children and especially my grandchildren. So though I did not know of this trend or its name, I cannot feign that I have never seen such pictures. Occasionally I have been shocked and had to scroll quickly by a picture of a young person from the church exhibiting himself or herself in a very worldly manner and message. In some cases, I have unfollowed (or whatever you call it on Instagram) some people as a result.
I raise this sad phenomenon for two reasons.
First and foremost, any Christian young person who thinks they are influencing others by practicing immodesty and immorality are self-deceived. They may think they are influencing others, but the sad truth is that they are the ones who have been influenced by the world. They have pushed from their minds the hard truth of James 4:4. "You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." Their yearning for self-glory has led them away from Christ and the holiness He demands of His followers. He warned us what happens to such people. "You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet" (Matthew 5:13). If you are such a young person, please repent of this behavior before your witness is ruined.
Second and finally, remember that we do not only have a responsibility to avoid this behavior, but to speak truth into the lives of our children, friends, and fellow congregants. If you have a true friend or a member of your church who is doing things on social media that are contrary to their profession, quietly addressing them and pleading with them to turn from this behavior would be in order.
Perhaps this is the type of Instagram Influencers the Lord would have us to be.