Sadie Robertson Huff warned that today’s generation “looks more like Instagram influencers than Jesus Christ” and urged young people to find their identity and strength not in social media, but in God.
“We have a generation waiting to feel a sense of love … waiting to feel wanted by people gathering up to them instead of just gathering behind the King of kings and knowing that you’re wanted, knowing that you’re loved, knowing that you’re accepted because of what He’s already done for you,” Huff, 23, told some 500,000 people who joined the Passion 2021 Conference virtually on Thursday.
But in a social media-obsessed culture, people will “follow anybody if it’s their 15 minutes of fame,” the speaker and author contended, from the Tik Tok star to the Instagram “it” couple.
“If you’re following somebody, they are influencing you one way or another,” she stressed. “And that’s why we have a generation that looks more like the Instagram influencers than Jesus Christ because we’re following them first instead of Jesus Christ first.”
“I don’t have interest in following anybody who’s not leading me in the direction I want to go. And we need to take that really seriously.”
Jesus, and not social media, is the “only way to the Father,” Huff said, adding: “It would be a shame if we spent more time thinking about when our 15 minutes of fame will hit than where we will spend eternity, and we spent more time following people leading us in paths that we did not have any interest in going down than following the Word of God.”
Huff acknowledged that during His time on earth, Jesus Himself was a “famous” person, adding that there’s “nothing wrong with being known.”
The soon-to-be-mother cited Matthew 16:24, where Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
She urged listeners to “stop following the pattern of this world” and instead “follow Jesus Christ.”
“I just want to say to y’all as a generation … I want us to stop that search [for fame] and just start following God because if we need anything after this year, we need a Savior,” she declared.
“We can’t save ourselves. We can’t put our hope in ourselves. We can’t put our faith in ourselves. You don’t want to do that because you know at the end of the day, you need something greater to put your hope in, something greater to put your faith in, something greater who can actually save you, who can actually give you hope beyond this world.”
A 2018 report from the Pew Research Center found that even teens think they have a social media problem. According to the study, 60% of teens between the ages of 13 to 17 say that spending too much time online is a “major” problem facing their age group. More than half of teens (54%) say they spend too much time on their cellphones, and 41% say they overdo it on social media.
During the conference, evangelist Christine Caine also weighed in on the dangers of social media, warning that many teens are more concerned about receiving a “blue check” — referring to the “verified” symbol on Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms — than undergoing a “heart check.”
“Christianity is not about a font or filter,” she said. “We think all the issues of life flow out of our social media feed. No, it comes out of the heart. How about we stop yearning for the blue check and we start allowing the Holy Spirit to do a deep heart check from the inside out?”
The annual Passion Conference, held virtually this year, is geared toward young adults between the ages of 18–25. Founded by Louie Giglio, the event aims to “glorify God by uniting students in worship, prayer and justice for spiritual awakening in this generation.”