The Strength of SolitudeFrom Lessons In Life For The 21st CenturyFrom The Solitude Of Jesus
by Wayne Monbleau
Perhaps we occasionally hear the still small voice of God within, intuitively telling us to “slow down,” that we need peace and quiet in the presence of God. But that gentle word is often washed away by waves of ceaseless activity and the demands put upon our lives. The result is an increasing loss of a healthy sense of identity for the individual. Technologically speaking, our human race continues to make impressive breakthroughs. Yet in the realm of the heart, the discovery more and more people are making is that, in this brave new world, they just don’t know who they are anymore.
Through examining the life of Jesus Christ and His practice of solitude, I believe we will see a simple pattern of living for our lives which will center us, establish us in peace, and actually make us far more productive with the use of our time.
Has anyone ever been given a more important task than The Son of God? Jesus came to earth with no less a commission than that of saving the world. We are told He began His ministry at age thirty, so He had a short three year span to accomplish His work: present His teachings, perform His miracles, and perfect the plan of salvation through His own sacrifice and resurrection. And, of course, He did it.
But, what do you suppose? Do you think Jesus was so overwhelmed with His work that He had no time for solitude? Do you suppose God the Father said, “Now Jesus, I’m giving You three years to get the job done so jump to it and put Your nose to the grindstone. Make the most of every moment. Don’t miss a single opportunity to convey Our plan to the world.” Do you think Jesus was so burdened with the problem of atoning for the sin of mankind and explaining the true nature of God to people that He had no time to practice the art of stillness with God?
As we look into the Scriptures together, you may be surprised to find that the Bible records numerous episodes where Jesus purposely got away from the crowds in order to be in solitude. In some cases, even when there was an eagerly awaiting audience Jesus still took off, preferring, or being led to, a quiet place for inner communion instead (Luke 5:15-16). Even if it meant climbing a mountain in the dead of night to experience solitude with His Abba Father, that’s what Jesus often did.
I believe we can learn many lessons from examining Jesus’ lifestyle of solitude. First, if we see that the Son of God made sure to have frequent periods of communion in silence, away from it all, in spite of the great work He was called to do, then certainly we can, and must, create blocks of time where we too may commune with God in quietness, reaping the benefits of His restoring presence in our lives.
Second, let’s be careful not to separate the silence of Jesus from the work of Jesus, as if they are two unrelated subjects. In other words, Jesus’ solitude was directly related to His work. His effectiveness was so great because of His quiet and focused Spirit. His direction was clear because He took the time to listen. We will see examples where some of Jesus’ most profound decisions were made after He had removed Himself from the immediate pressures of a situation in order to “Be still” (Psalm 46:10) and receive heavenly direction from His Father. Miracles Jesus performed were also often preceded by His having spent a significant amount of time in the communion of solitude.
A third basic lesson to be learned from examining the solitude of Christ is that the focus and quality of our work is directly related to how well we understand and practice the presence of God. It’s as the Lord spoke through Isaiah, “In quietness & confidence is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15 KJV).
Fourth, I think we can safely conclude that Jesus actually looked forward to being alone in communion with God. He enjoyed it. He instinctively knew this was where He gained His strength from. Hopefully we too will realize that this is where our strength, joy, self-image and direction come from. This is where we experience the presence of God. This is where we gain wisdom, happiness, effectiveness, and peace. King David expressed this thought well when he wrote, “In Thy light we see light” (Psalm36:9).
In beholding our Savior’s practice of being still, we are given the invitation from the Holy Spirit to enter in, allowing this same pattern of living to be impressed upon our new hearts in Him. The apostle Paul declared, “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17). Our old life, outside of Christ, may not have had a single moment or reason for solitude, for a variety of reasons which we will explore in this book. But now that we are in Christ, new things have come and receiving a centering inner strength through communion in solitude with God is one of these new things.
In the chapters ahead we will see that practicing solitude provides us with a life- enhancing set of priorities, a balanced sense of self, in touch with our own creativity and hearing the whispers of the supernatural, as we delight to be in the presence of our Abba Father. May our Savior quicken our hearts to receive and understand all He has for us, as we behold the solitude of Jesus.
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