I blog my “thoughts” a couple times a week, and I recently started tweeting—since all the agents and publishers say that’s a “must” for any writers who are trying to get a book published. Those same agents/publishers say writers should check their blog and Twitter accounts a couple times a day.

Okay. Can do.

But I’m finding that this creates a tension in my soul, one that reflects the difficult “be in the world but not of the world” paradox in Scripture. I am using Twitter and the internet to, I hope, help others draw closer to Christ, but the stats and the publicity of it often draw my own focus onto ME.

In I Corinthians 7, Paul refers to a “crisis” in his time and gives advice related to that crisis. Some of the advice was specific to crises (such as not marrying), but Paul’s overall point is applicable to all times: to let nothing distract us from living fully devoted to Christ. Right in the middle of the passage, there is an interesting phrase that I am pondering in relation to blogging/Tweeting/social media: “(those of you) who use the things of this world, (live) as if not engrossed in them, for this world in its present form is passing away” (NIV).

I DO use “things of this world,” things that will “soon pass away.” So how do I use them without becoming engrossed in or attached to them?

I am not alone in this struggle (and that alone is encouraging). A few years back I heard a chapel speaker admit that shortly after his first book was published, he became addicted to the book’s selling statistics. He found himself checking these stats dozens of times a day. He shared this with a friend, and the friend partnered with him on a short-term “fast” from his own book media.

It’s very easy—actually, it’s natural—for us to become engrossed in the things we use in this world.

Because even though we have a new nature and the Holy Spirit, we still have that old nature that feels very much at home here.

When I check my blog and find that I have a new follower, there is one part of me that gets excited for all the right reasons.

But underneath that good reaction is a selfish one, the one that believes I become more valuable when more people like my writing.

I’m a mixed bag of pure and impure, and my use of social media often reveals that to me.

And perhaps that’s not a bad thing.

TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW: I am trying to cut down the length of my blog posts, so I split this post into two parts. I’ll post part two tomorrow, Monday. If you have any comments on how this tension plays a part in your own life, I would love to read them.