Monday, February 13, 2012

The Blessing of Times of Solitude

“Let them who cannot be alone beware of community.  He will only do harm to himself and to the community…But the reverse is also true: Let him who is not in community beware of being alone.  Only in the fellowship do we learn to be rightly alone and only in aloneness do we learn to live rightly in the fellowship.”   - D. Bonhoeffer

Solitude brings us into a situation where we sit before the God who knows everything about us. (Our habitual sins, our thought life, the idols of our heart.) We quiet our hearts. We clear our minds. We present ourselves. We may try at first to be someone we are not, but if we will remain in his presence consistently He will begin to show us who we really are.
This will include the thoughts of our hearts and the sins of our lives. As we submit ourselves to the scriptures, prayer, and other disciplines we set our heart in a place of surrender where God can begin to expose our needs and meet them. It will not always be an easy process, but it is impossible to come into the presence of the Lord with humility and leave unchanged.

It is in the solitude that the voices of the world and the opinions of our peers start to pale. We begin to gain a proper perspective on our struggles and successes. We begin to see our lives from God’s perspective. This brings with it the truth of who we are in Christ. It strips us of the ways we have tried to glorify ourselves, and stands us firmly on the truth of God’s Word. In this place our faith is more secure. Our worldview is more stable. We bow less to the opinions of the world and stand more for the ways of God.

When we have walked humbly with our God in solitude we emerge healthier and stronger in Christ so that we can be ready to give to and even sacrifice for others. We can risk rejection or being taken advantage of because our needs have already be met in Christ. In Christ we are empowered to fully love God and love our neighbor from a secure place in life that only God can bring.

Take a moment and think through these questions. Are there areas in your life where you really need the touch of God? Are there deep concerns in your life that are keeping you from intimacy with others? How is the strength or weakness of your solitude affecting the strength or weakness of your relationships with others? 

Think through the following questions and allow God to begin moving you towards His will for your life in the areas of Solitude and Communion.

What worries you? What are you longing desperately for? What are you ashamed of or worried about? What do you dislike about yourself? Do you have an addictive behavior? What are you haunted by? Where does your fantasy life take you? Do you see people as someone to love or something to use? What embarrasses you about yourself? Who can’t you forgive? What pain or suffering can you not forget? What causes anger to erupt out of you? What type of people do you find the hardest to love? What regrets seem to follow you? What goals do you have? Do you follow God out of duty or out of love? Is there something that you are refusing to let God be lord over? Is there anything in your life that you believe is keeping you from the best that God has for you? How do you feel about your solitude with God in your life right now? Has Satan convinced you of a lie about yourself that you can’t break free from?

Are you willing to surrender your struggles, your idols, your sins, your temptations, your unbelief, to the God who is Sovereign and who loves you more than you could ever imagine? Draw near today. In Him is the fullness of Life.

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