Word of the Year: Selfie… Speaks Volumes. Let’s Not Let is Speak Volumes About Us Personally.

by GfG on January 14, 2014 · 6 comments

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Selfie.  Nearly everyone knows what it means.

Oxford Dictionary declares a word of the year each year and the one for 2013 is selfie.  It won without any argument.


If a picture is worth a thousand words, Americans have said millions of words about themselves.  The height of vanity is the constant self photo broadcast by so very many.

If an artist painted mostly himself, we would declare him narcissistic.  There wouldn’t be a debate about it, even if his work was beautiful.  Even if they were masterpieces.

If everyone with camera capabilities checked their phone’s photo folder or their Facebook timeline, most would find that an incredibly high number, if not the majority, of the photos were of themselves.

It doesn’t really matter if it’s themselves with their cat, their cup, or their couch.

If the consistent image is their own face, I have to argue that the artist has spoken through his works.  A vanity problem has reared its ugly head.  Or very pretty head, as the case may be.

If my teenager was posting selfies (or usies) of herself (or himself) each day on Facebook, my heart would be heavy in concern for her  heart.  Yet, I see grown women and men doing it seemingly without thinking twice.

To say that our culture’s word of the year is selfie is to say a lot.

As humans, we are not immune to the pull of self-absorption and vanity.

As Christians, we need to resist both.

Scripture tells us we are to be clothed in humility (Ephesians 3:12, I Peter 5:5) as those called to Christ.

Don’t get me wrong, I certainly understand wanting to capture moments, to savor in photo form.  Of course we should do so.  It’s a real perk of the invention of the camera and especially the phone camera.  Click away. Be in the photos!

And I understand feeling pretty and wanting to savor that feeling.  Selfies are usually quite complimentary and much better than photos others take of us.  I completely understand wanting public photos to be good, so selfies allow that.  Makes sense.

I also understand that many moms stay out of the picture too much.  To never be in photos is the flip side of the selfie.  Pride in a different form (to be candid: this is the one I struggle with all the time).

Lastly, I understand that selfies can just be silly fun.

We have to take an honest look at our behavior though.  How many photos do we take of ourselves and post it for all the world (our our world) to see?

What is the most frequently painted canvas we share as artists?

Selfies are fun, but as all things, it can be taken too far.  It can become sinful.

Olivia Wild selfie WEBphoto credit: Olivia Wilde… don’t know if she’s vain.  Just was an available photo of someone I don’t know. :)

It’s to be expected of celebrities.  Known for vanity.

It’s to be expected of toddlers and the tiara toting.  Self absorbed by definition.

It isn’t to be expected of those in Christ.

It shouldn’t be a part of a godly woman’s (or man’s… do I have any men reading this?) behavior to post photos of herself constantly.

As Christians, we have to think and pray about what a selfie saturated culture represents.

While we can’t escape the word selfie, we can escape the sin of it.

Do you see the difference between taking the occasional selfie and swimming in the sea of selfies?

USA Today‘s article

CNN‘s article


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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah [My Full Home] January 14, 2014 at 2:39 pm

I really enjoyed reading this. I agree with you completely! I do not own a smart phone so I do not post selfies….ever. I am usually just texting pictures of my 22 month old because after all, that’s who the grandparents want to see! Not pictures of me :)


Aubrey January 14, 2014 at 9:13 pm

I fully agree with you! I just brought my phone with my IG page up (I am FlemingCountyFarm by the way) to my husband. There is a teen in our church that posts selfies almost every day. Her dad is up for potentially becoming a deacon. He preaches in our men’s prison ministry and yet his daughter needs help. We go to a smaller reformed baptist church (Calvinistic) where church discipline is practiced. This teen is not a member, but regular attender (we are really cautious about child/teen membership). What would you do in this situation?


GfG January 14, 2014 at 9:21 pm

I would pray first. Secondly, depending on what how the Spirit led, I would probably lovingly have your dh talk to her father. I’ve found mother to mother goes much more emotionally, less effective, and more personal. Your dh could take a phone to show the feed. The parents may not realize the problem.

It’s a big problem in teens and they usually don’t even realize the issue because ever.one.is.doing.it. Truly. I wasn’t exaggerating when I say that women of the LORD are doing this daily too. They aren’t immodest or anything like that, just a photo a day (or more) of themselves.

I’m glad to hear you attend such a solid church. Church discipline, unfortunately, isn’t practiced much, though it’s very Biblical and loving. I wouldn’t see this as a discipline issue since the first steps haven’t been taken yet. Unless they have, of course… and the dd is unrepentant about her behavior. Church discipline involves unrepentant exposed sin. You know this, I’m sure. Just saying it since readers check out the comments. :)

The sticky thing is that posting a photo of yourself a day isn’t a stated sin, but the spirit of vanity seems clear to me. Of course, it depends on the photos. For example: if my dd was on a trip to Paris for two weeks, I would expect lots of selfies and postings to share about the trip. To me, it’s the daily, just hanging out in normal life, posting photos daily and often of oneself that cries out of vanity. You know what I mean?

I’m so glad you popped over and commented!! Glad to have you Aubrey!


callie November 5, 2015 at 10:48 am

Hi! I was wondering about something. I am a 15year old Christian teen! I want my social media pages to be as God honoring as possible. I dont have one selfie on my page yet! And I strive to post uplifting God-glorifing photos of nature and Scripture! Would it be wrong of me to post a selfie? Not seducive or “sexy”. Just a normal smiling, no makeup photo and have a caption about not wanting to please the world or something along those lines? I never post selfies BC I worry about bringing myself glory.


GfG November 5, 2015 at 5:15 pm

Great question, Callie.
I don’t think occasional selfies are wrong. I think each photo, we have to take into consideration our heart attitudes. Why are wantng a photo at that particular moment? Has it become a habit? Am I seeking the Lord on self?

Let your light shine! and selfies too! :)


Connie Wilbur December 7, 2016 at 11:51 am

This was excellent!! I wanted to share it on Facebook but don’t see how I can do that. Also, I came to this site because of googling “Christian viewpoint of selfies” and a box popped up asking me to log in to your site and put in a password. I tried, with a new password, as I have never been on this site, but is it supposed to be some other password that I already have? It didn’t explain too well and it’s left me disappointed. I really want some others to see this. Thanks for your help!


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