Devotional, Day 9

Relationships Bring True Happiness

"I will praise you in the great assembly; I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you."
Psalm 22:25

“It is not good for man to be alone” – Genesis 2:18. 

Even in a perfect world, perfectly connected to God, Adam was created to be in relationship with another human being.  God’s love for us is often expressed in and through our closest relationships. In his book The Happiness Hypothesis, Jonathan Haidt explores research on what makes a person happy. On the need for relationships he writes:

“If you want to predict how happy someone is, or how long she will live (and if you are not allowed to ask about her genes or personality), you should find out about her social relationships. Having strong social relationships strengthens the immune system, extends life (more than does quitting smoking), speeds recovery from surgery, and reduces the risks of depression and anxiety disorders. It’s not just that extroverts are naturally happier and healthier; when introverts are forced to be more outgoing, they usually enjoy it and find that it boosts their mood. Even people who think they don’t want a lot of social contact still benefit from it. And it’s not just that “we all need somebody to lean on”; recent work on giving support shows that caring for others is often more beneficial than is receiving help. We need to interact and intertwine with others; we need the give and the take; we need to belong.”

Perhaps the biggest danger in screen time in general, and in social media in particular, is how it gives us the illusion of connection. It satisfies our desire to know what is going on in other people’s lives without any of the risk of actual relationships or conversations.  We might be cutting ourselves off from others without even realizing it.

Before I (Chris) came to know Christ, I spent countless hours watching TV, and I actually felt like I ‘knew’ some of the sitcom characters. I tuned in week after week because if I didn’t, I felt like I missed out on what was happening in their lives. I am so grateful that when I started coming out to fellowship, real relationships so quickly filled that void. But it’s sobering to think about how close I felt to people on the screen – and not even real people, just the characters they played. 

Psalm 22:25 talks about the integration of our relationship with God and our relationship with others. God provides fellowship so that we can all grow closer to him together. Let’s find ways to live out more and more of the reality of the Body of Christ. Choosing to limit your screen time will benefit you AND the people in your life.  It will be way harder at first – face-to-face is riskier (Day 6) – but it will be worth it.

Action Steps:

  1. Spend time with God listing out some recent ways you have both given to and received from someone. Thank him for those blessings.
  2. Ask God to show you someone you can serve today.