27 Sep SOLITUDE – THE SECRET PLACE FOR THE PURPOSE OF GODLINESS
Webster’s Dictionary tells us that solitude is “the state of being alone, withdrawing, peace”; but in today’s super connected society, this idea may seem foreign to many of us. The busyness of life in 2018 is no joke! We can easily feel the pressure of comparison: all the to-do’s and have to’s and want to’s. The technology distraction brought about by smartphones has overtaken the world. The word solitude itself may already have you feeling anxious. But what if all your have to’s, your struggle to keep up in this fast-paced world, could be changed into an enjoyable, fulfilling, “get-to” experience, full of blessing?
What is the purpose of all these spiritual rhythms we have been sharing over the past several weeks? Prayer, fellowship, scripture memory, worship, study, rest. Each is unique, and yet each rhythm brings us into a deeper relationship with our loving Father. What is the purpose in having a relationship with our Father? What is your purpose in any relationship? To be known and to know someone, to enjoy one another. How can we do this with God? If you have been reading along through these spiritual disciplines, or rhythms, you can see that by discipline we mean developing knowledge and higher understanding in specific elements. We know the richness that comes from diving deeper as we focus in on our relationship with God. Now we have to go one step further and seek out time to withdraw, be alone with God, and listen. Let us practice these disciplines in His presence and enjoy Him!
So how can we do this? Ask yourself, when is the last time you turned all distractions off and spent intentional time with God? Can you remember what happened? Did you receive something – peace, clarity, direction, focus, truth, joy, refreshment, hope?
If you want to hear from God, you have to seek Him and tune out the world. Solitary time with God is leaning away from what the world says and what the world wants, and leaning toward the voice of God.
We can learn solitude from the life of Jesus. He consistently pursued time away with God, as He sought rest, peace, and communion with His Father. He woke up early to pray. He left a crowd to seek time with God. He was refreshed in the presence of God after He performed miracles. He sought understanding before making decisions. He waited for His Father’s instruction. (Matthew 14:23, Luke 4:42, Luke 6:12-13, Mark 1:35)
John shares many examples of what Jesus did in relationship to receiving from His Father. Throughout John’s Gospel, Jesus says He seeks the will of the One Who sent Him (John 5:30, 6:38), that He does nothing on His own, but only speaks what His Father has taught Him and commanded Him to say (John 8:28,12:49), performing the works of His Father (John 14:10). If Jesus, the Son of God, Who was fully God and fully man, can make it a priority to seek solitude, then we too should be desperately seeking time alone with God.
Mark 6:31 says, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” Jesus recommends the disciples go away with Him and rest. Soon after they went away from the crowds and distractions, they came back and Jesus performed the feeding of 5000. Many times in Scripture we see Jesus going away in solitude in order to come back and continue the work of His Father.
In the Old Testament, Moses was intentional about meeting with God in solitude, and others followed his example. Exodus 33:7 says, “Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp.”
We can’t expect to give so much of ourselves, serving, loving, caring for, encouraging, and leading others if we are not making room for intentional time with the God of peace. What could be better than spending time with our loving Father, Who knit us together in our mother’s womb, Who searches our hearts, knows us, and perceives our thoughts from afar? (Psalm 139).
What is holding you back from seeking to drink from the well of Living Water? Jesus says in John 7:37-38, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”
Would you like to be more effective as a husband, wife, mom, dad, friend or neighbor without always pulling from the bottom of the barrell to love, encourage, and care for those in your life? Stop looking for life in things that do not bring life; slow down and get to know your loving Father – the Author of Life.
Isaiah 58:11 says, “The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”
Refreshment that comes from time with God fills us up and gives us strength. Solitude is being with God and away from distractions of the world – so go enjoy the presence of God and hear from your Father just how much He loves you and which way He wants you to go next!
- Is there a place you love being that allows you to feel the presence of God and able to appreciate God’s beauty and creativity? Go there and meet with God, pour out your heart to Him!
- Are you following the example of Christ and seeking to rest and hear from God? How can you make time for God this week?
- We know God wants to give us blessings and good gifts. What might stand in your way of prioritizing time alone with Him?