Your social circle is full of real people who have real problems, just like you. Because social media has quickly widened our social connections and influence, the problems we bring to bear on one another are increasingly compounded. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Genuine friendships are difficult to build and maintain but, done God’s way, they are absolutely worth it. Life with others is both necessary and rewarding. Going social is a gift from God. He has designed the human life to be lived within the context of community.
It sometimes sounds appealing to be a social recluse. If we could just ignore the problems of those around us and steer clear of potential conflicts or disagreements, life, we think, would be much simpler. But this is not God’s design. It’s not healthy. In our walk with God, we must have both the intimate vertical relationship and the invested horizontal ones as well. “Love God, love people,” you have heard it said. You can’t genuinely love God if you don’t love His image bearers. And you can’t genuinely love God’s image bearers if you don’t love the One whose image they bear.
“Let him who cannot be alone beware of community… Let him who is not in community beware of being alone… Each by itself has profound perils and pitfalls. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and the one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation and despair.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
God created us for community. Humans are social by design, but because we are all real people who have real problems, doing life together with others is complicated and often difficult. Thankfully, God has given us ancient wisdom to help navigate contemporary relationships in every generation.
My new book Going Social: Ancient Secrets for Contemporary Relationships is a walk through Proverbs Chapter 18, verse by verse, with a built-in optional daily journaling exercise. Since Proverbs 18 is wisdom literature (general, pithy statements based on the way God has designed the world to work), whether you are a Christian or not you will find the wisdom of Going Social immediately applicable in all of your social circles. Its 24 chapters are based directly on the 24 verse-divisions of Proverbs Chapter 18. Each of the book’s short chapters focuses on a principle of biblical wisdom in the text and applies it within the context of building and maintaining healthy relationships:
- Chapter 1 – Go Social
- Chapter 2 – Listen for Understanding
- Chapter 3 – Search Your Heart
- Chapter 4 – Test the Waters
- Chapter 5 – Do the Right Thing
- Chapter 6 – Measure Your Words
- Chapter 7 – Lies Imprison, Truth Liberates
- Chapter 8 – Don’t Gossip
- Chapter 9 – Eliminate Laziness, Embrace Diligence
- Chapter 10 – Run to the Lord
- Chapter 11 – Money is Not the Answer
- Chapter 12 – Resist the Drug of Pride
- Chapter 13 – Give Them Your Full Attention
- Chapter 14 – Stay Positive
- Chapter 15 – Be Both Knowledgeable and Wise
- Chapter 16 – Every Word a Gift
- Chapter 17 – Don’t Jump to Conclusions
- Chapter 18 – Go With the Flow
- Chapter 19 – Win Hearts, Not Arguments
- Chapter 20 – You are What You Eat
- Chapter 21 – Speak Life
- Chapter 22 – Be Wholly Committed to Your Spouse
- Chapter 23 – Abandon Entitlement
- Chapter 24 – Choose Your Friends Wisely
As you learn and apply these principles for life together, you will take steps toward building and maintaining healthy relationships at work, at home, among friends and online. These are life lessons in communication, motivation and interpersonal interaction. These are tips for social living that will change your life. These are ancient secrets for contemporary relationships.
If you quote or share the book on any of your social media platforms, you can help me out by adding the hashtag #GoingSocialBook.
I pray this journey through Proverbs Chapter 18 is as meaningful and beneficial to you as it has been to me. May the Lord multiply His grace to you as you put these principles into practice.
Grace and Peace,