Inner life : solitude

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Solitude – when I want it, I can’t get it. And when I have it, I don’t want it or I don’t know what to do with it.

To be honest, solitude is not high on my list of christian disciplines. I find it easier to be by myself than be by myself WITH God. It takes tremendous focus for me to be with God by myself. Stripped of fellowship, church, cell group, it is interesting to see what my (our) relationship with God looks like. I admit, mine is not that good.

My “quiet times” or “times of solitude” are often rushed and unfocussed, one-sided and shallow. The demands of life always seem to prevail and whilst I know that I must pray, be still and trust God with child-like faith, I find it hard with this grown-up life. My head says “do this” and “do that”, but my heart and spirit says “sit and pray” – my daily struggle.

Bert brought out the idea of solitude with God as a time to sort out deep issues. It is so true that even our closet of friends do not really know what’s going on in out hearts all the time. Whilst we can have a lovely evening laughing and talking to friends, when they are gone we are left with the same burdens, hurt, sadness, and loneliness that was there before.

So I tried Bert’s idea about using time alone to sort out an issue with God. And it was good. I cried, I got it out and felt God reassuring me with some bible verses. Maybe I should do it more often.

This was the second in a new series about our Inner and Outer Life. You can find the message as well as the worship at the BCEC Sermon Page or listen to last week’s sermon directly – Inner Life : Developing Spiritual Disciplines.

One Response to "Inner life : solitude"
  1. Rev Rob says:

    Therein lies the painful truth, that we often identify ourselves as Christians not as followers of Christ and bringing ourselves to the table, but by turning up to church. Being there is a good start, but unless we are prepared to be vulnerable, we will merely grow fat, not grow UP. Our longing to be known is immense because God built us to be loved and so love, but we allow fear to grip us instead. What a dilema!

    Fear breeds isolation and desolation: Roms 8:15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”In contrast, love brings in and maintains freedom: Gal 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Both love and fear come at a cost, but it’s love that reaps joy. We can’t afford love or fear, so thank God that Jesus, love and forgiveness are given to us as a free offering!Have we truly accepted that enough to let it motivate us and fill our minds? .. because that’s where the battle lies.

    How can we fight back and be filled with the truth?I’ve preached it and I’ll repeat it – how we relate to God on our own can never be better/holier than how we relate to people and one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. Our picture of God and how we see ourselves directly dominates how we treat God, ourselves and each other. If we see God merely as judge, ourselves merely as sinners and others as better than us, it’s not difficult to see how we distance ourselves from all three parties. If this the case, we aren’t in touch with God, ourselves or others. In this state we are easy targets for our own fears, self condemnation and the false accusations of Satan and people. What a travisty of what we were made for! We become sitting ducks when we should be F L Y I N G, ‘but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles!’ Is40:31

    So we need to make a choice daily to soak ourselves and accept ourselves in the truth, forgiveness, grace, love and freedom of God, and not marinate ourselves in self: self-pity, self condemnation, self-centerdness and self-defence. That choice in practical terms will mean seeking God’s will from Scripture, through asking his Spirit to speak, listening and believing that what God says about us is more true than any self-opinion, or anyone else’s for that matter. This only comes through having the courage to come before God exactly as we are and letting him love us. Only then will we begin to truly love ourselves and each other and having the kind of fellowship it is our sole privilege to enjoy.

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