TikTok for the Christian?
A Summary of a Message Preached by Rev Joseph Poon to Ebenezer Youth Fellowship
Summary by Rachel Leong

TikTok is the latest leading short-form mobile video application which originated from China. It is an alternative version of online sharing. As a company, the aim is to capture and present the world’s creativity, knowledge and precious life moments directly from the phone. In a short time, TikTok gained huge numbers of followers – about 800 million active users worldwide – and has been downloaded over 1.5 billion times. It is most popular among the teens, and many Christian youngsters may have been already involved in it. Parents need to be more involved in their children’s social media usage. Thus, the question to ponder is, whether Christians should watch or create TikTok videos, especially in this Covid-19 situation where we are all to stay at home?

There are potentially good things posted in TikTok, such as educational materials, food recipes, study tips, etc. Because of its diversity and ease of use, many find it interesting and use it as their choice of entertainment. However, when we take a deeper look, the majority of its content is questionable for Christians. Due to its extensive number of users, it is filled with unsavory, unchristian, sinful content, which far outweighs the good content. If we Christians really want to maintain a holy life, it is hard to do so if we are using TikTok.

These are three points with the abbreviation CAT to answer the question on TikTok:

Something that is carnal excites and stirs the sinful flesh. This is opposite from that which promotes holy living within us. When one goes to the TikTok website, there are a few things that stand out. Firstly, the clothing of the users is immodest and seductive, including the teenagers. Those who watch such videos long enough, will slowly start to find these dressing acceptable and have a lowered threshold of modesty. Christians must be careful of what they allow their eyes to see (Mk 9:47). Watch your eye-gate. Secondly, the attitude is proud and foolish, with much idle talk and action. Children are doing it without knowing what they are doing and this is a perfect ground for pedophiles and soft pornography. Besides, attitudes of rebellion and anti-God philosophies are also encouraged. In contrast, the Bible teaches us to be mature in our thoughts (Phil 4:8). Lastly, the tunes are sensual and captivating. The beat is strong enough to even affect our lives.

Every social media has an algorithm software to know what we typically like to click and watch, and the social media companies will prompt more and more of it whenever we open that application. Because of our sinful flesh, we can be addicted and spend many hours on it. The Bible defines an idol as something that we hold on to and not giving it up, even though we know it is wrong. What is wrong with such idolatry and addiction? Firstly, it affects one’s concentration. Doctors have researched that young people who spend a lot time on social media, have their brains affected. But parents, do not only stop your child’s social media time just because you want him/her to get As in school. More importantly, it should be because you understand that being addicted to social media affects your child’s concentration, when reading and meditating on the Bible. Next, it causes one to be angry. Addiction causes one to be irate and throw tantrums, when the object (idol) is taken away from us. Lastly, it is a time-waster. God wants us to redeem the time, not waste the time. If we are honest, social media has taken up a lot of our time, which we could have spent more profitably. It can be like a digital heroine if we are not careful.

The carnality and addiction of TikTok changes your thought life. TikTok changes you physically and then spiritually, and may even lead to a backslidden state. To solve or prevent this problem, we need God and His Word. 2 Timothy 2:22 “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” The majority of the TikTok content appeals to youthful lust. Thus, flee from it and replace it by following righteousness.

Weekly Devotion 21/6/2020

Christian Cardiology II – Does Laughter Cure the Heart?
By Preacher James Tan

“Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.” (Prov. 14:13)

We often hear of this common English proverb: “Laughter is the best medicine”. However, is this really true? While good humour and good fun has its place, the Bible gives a hard truth, that laughter and mirth, does not really cure the heart’s issues!

The word “laughter” here can be used in both ways, either in a mocking way, or to express joy in a general sense (Eccl. 3:4, “a time to laugh”). The word “mirth” here is more specific, usually used to show a celebration in a festival. Here, both parts of the verse express the same thought in a parallel- Laughter, joy, and celebration, does not mean that sorrow and heaviness will be absent! Is this not true?

While we are “in laughter”, having a good time, the heart’s sorrows are not truly gone, they are still there, but perhaps, we are distracted from it for a little while. Even after a nice, enjoyable celebration “the end of that mirth”, we find that we have to return to our earthly sorrows and woes. Is this not true when we find ourselves going back to work, camp, or school with the “Monday blues”, after a nice weekend?

This verse is not to act as a wet blanket, as if the Christian cannot have laughter, or humour in this life. As   Solomon expresses it, there is a time for everything (3:1-11), both weeping and laughing. The proverb reminds us that laughter and mirth is not the real solution to life. People would pay to be amused by comedians, enjoy grand festivals and events, which might not be wrong by itself. However, for the Christian, these earthly joys cannot solve the issues of the heart. The heart’s sorrow and heaviness, while we struggle with daily in this sinful world, will always remain, until we come to the cross of Christ.

If we want true joy and celebration, it can only be found in Christ, where only our Saviour has the power to remove the curse of sin, death and hell from all who believe in Him. While the Christian might still face earthly sufferings and sorrow day by day, in health or work, in trial or temptation, let us learn to turn to the real solution in Christ, who gives to our hearts joy above all earthly joys, and peace beyond understanding. This is the best cure and medicine for our hearts and souls.