Mon | Sep 25, 2017

The power of solitude

Published:Friday | February 19, 2016 | 2:02 PM

There are some of us who are saying to God, "I want more. I know that I don't have all the things right, but I am not satisfied with where I am ... Lord give me more!"

That is the heart God wants to hear ... hearts that are set on Him. And, God is determined to give you more.

We are designed to be more like Christ. But, to know what we should be like we have to look at the life of Jesus. When we consider the life of Christ it is characterised by peace, Purpose and Power. But what is it that He did that allowed Him to operate in these ways?

One significant key that opens the door for us to be like Jesus is the habit of solitude. When we look at the life of Jesus Christ through the gospels, a significant feature of His life was times of solitude and silence. Solitude powers you up for the tasks ahead. "It was very early in the morning and still dark. Jesus got up and left the house. He went to a place where He could be alone." Mark 1:35 NIRV.

If we want to operate like Jesus we have to schedule time for solitude. But what does solitude look like? Isaiah 30:15 NLT says: "Only in returning to me, and resting in me, will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength."Solitude is not just about being alone by yourself; without God present this is isolation and loneliness.

When I am in solitude, I am: alone with God; quiet before God; focused on God.

So how does the habit of solitude power up my life? Developing the habit of solitude allows me to:

1 Have balance and peace

When we become a Christian, the Holy Spirit enters our life and begins to transform us from the inside out. He's making us more and more like Jesus as we mature in our faith.The daily demands and disturbances of this fast-paced world can drain us and there are times we need to seek silence and solitude to find a sense of balance and peace.

"The news about him spread ... people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." Luke 5:15-16 NIV.

2 Hear God better

Hearing from God is critical to our spiritual life. This was the key to Jesus' success in ministry. Hearing God the Father allowed Him to walk in the power and the purpose of God. Jesus said: "... the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the father doing ... ." John 5:19 NLT.

3 Recharge your batteries

When you become a Christian as you start to live out your faith and serve others, it will drain you. Jesus had similar challenges because He was the ultimate giver. In Mark 6:31 NLT, it says, "Jesus said, 'let's go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest a while.' He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and His apostles didn't even have time to eat." Jesus said you have to take care of yourself and only time with God to recharge can do that.

How do I get started and how do I practice solitude?

1 Daily solitude

Christians have called this practice ' Having a quiet time'. It is taking 10 or so minutes out of your day, finding a place that you can be alone and quieting yourself before God. It is the time when you bring your requests to God and listen to Him.

2 Spontaneous solitude

Once you have learned the discipline of solitude, you can find solitude in the most everyday places when you get alone. They say that you can be alone even when standing in a crowd.

3 Retreats

There are places where you can go to be alone with God. Go for a day, or even half a day. You can also try practising solitude for longer periods like a weekend retreat. Some people think that going on a solitary retreat is only for super Christians, full time Church workers, or people who are really messed up, or all of the above. The truth is, I would recommend that all Christians try to take a day-long solitary retreat at least once a year.

When you spend time alone with God, quiet before God and focus on God, you will become more like Jesus. You will experience more peace and balance in your life, and be able to hear God better when He is trying to speak to us. Isaiah 40:29, 31 NLT says, "He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless... . But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength ... ."

So today, include in your prayer requests for God to help you to develop the habit of solitude, and to lead you to the right place where you can be in solitude. Then, ask Him as you practice this time, to speak into your life, and to give you wisdom, understanding and guidance, to recharge you.