Sometimes it may seem difficult to distinguish isolation from solitude. However, there is a vast difference between the two. Solitude is a place of refreshment in the Lord. Isolation is a tool of the enemy to separate us from God and those He has placed in our lives to learn, grow, encourage and correct one another. God never confines us to a place of isolation. We often put ourselves in isolation because of our grief, distress or even our own sin. When prisoners are placed in isolation, it is to serve as a punishment in response to committing an offense. They are removed from the general population of other inmates to separate them from the benefit of community. It is a consequence of wrong behavior that breeds loneliness and despair. Isolation and solitude produce very different results.It is within the design and safety of community that we are able to heal and grow. Being closely connected to a family of believers is life-giving!
The enemy loves to separate us from our family in Christ. He knows that He can do his best work of deception when we have no one around us to encourage, sharpen and correct us. He is always on mission to steal, kill and destroy but thanks be to God that Jesus came to give us life, and life to the full (John 10:10)! Be on your guard! Be aware of the schemes of the enemy. Cling to Jesus and the family that we have been adopted into by His grace.
When I was living in sin, I would have told you that I was a Christian. Yet, I was not living according to the will of God. I was living according to my own will and asking God to bless it, to bless my disobedience, to bless my mess. God is a Holy God, righteous in all His ways. Although, He is infinitely loving, compassionate and patient, He requires a heart surrendered to Him. He delights in our obedience.
Although, I claimed to be Christian, as many often do, I was quick to say, “You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.” This is true. However, Dr. Tony Evans stated it very well when he said, “Salvation is through faith alone in Christ alone. Yet, you don’t have to go home to be married, but stay away long enough and your relationship will be affected.”
Being a Christian, essentially means following Christ. As we choose to follow Christ, we must follow His example. During His earthly ministry, there were many times when Jesus went away to solitary places to spend time with our Heavenly Father. Yet, He also spent a great deal of time in community. He spent time with the multitudes, preaching, teaching, healing, loving and serving others. The time of solitude with God the Father was necessary to prepare Him for ministering to others. The same is true for us.
But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases. But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer. Luke 5:15-16
We must choose to set aside undistracted time with the Lord daily. Be still in His presence. Cultivate the intimacy that is needed to hear His voice above the noise of the world and all that clamors for our attention. Our time of solitude with the Lord is an essential part of our faith journey. We stay connected to Him so that we can connect to others. We cannot give to others what we have not first received from the Lover of our souls, our Lord and Savior.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5
Heavenly Father, I love you with all that I am. You are so worthy to be praised! Thank you for being a loving, merciful, and ever-present Father. Thank You for being our refuge, a place of refreshing. You desire that your children come to you and seek your face daily. I am so thankful that we can spend time with you at any time day and night. What a great privilege to have full access to you! Lord, help us to get away daily in solitude to bask in your presence. Help us to choose to be still before you and know that you are God. There are so many distractions in this world and the enemy is always trying to lure us away from you. Yet, when we abide in you, we are refreshed, recharged and able to recognize the schemes of the enemy. Thank you, Lord! We want to be so close to you that nothing can draw us away. Thank you that nothing can separate us from your love. For you, Lord never forsake those who seek you. As we walk in step with your Spirit, help us to humbly love and serve others with the love that flows from you and through us onto others. Use these earthly vessels mightily for your glory. In Jesus’ Precious Name, Amen and Amen!
By Lanette Black, IWM Board Member