There is a drastic difference between solitude and isolation, one brings life and the other brings death.
At multiple points in Jesus’ ministry, He shows us that there are times in which we need to get away from the noise of life and turn our antennas fully towards God (Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16, Matthew 14:23). Not only does He show us this, but He also commands us to do this in Matthew 6:6, “When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret…”
Jesus both showed us and told us that we should seek solitude, but why? What is the importance of solitude?
Matthew 6:6 continues, “…your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
There are multiple rewards that we receive when we seek solitude, let’s look at one spiritual reward, one physical reward, and one emotional reward.
- Spiritual Reward: We get to spend time alone with God
- Physical Reward: We get to lower our heart rates and breathe
- Emotional Reward: We get to release our anxieties to God
When we seek solitude in the sense of intentionally being alone with God, we receive many life-giving rewards.
The primary difference between solitude and isolation is the intent of why somebody wants to be alone. Whereas solitude seeks God and life-giving rewards, isolation seeks to run from God and community to seek self-satisfying desires.
Proverbs 18:1 says it this way, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.”
In short, isolation is the devil’s playground. There are multiple curses that Satan gives us when we seek isolation, let’s look at a one spiritual curse, one physical curse, and one emotional curse.
- Spiritual Curse: We get to spend time alone with Satan
- Physical Curse: We get to become lethargic and tired
- Emotional Curse: We get to become anxious and depressed
When we seek isolation in the sense of intentionally running from God and community, we receive many death-producing curses.
So let me ask you some pointed questions:
- When you’re alone, do you grow closer to God or further from God?
- Is your alone time marked with life-giving joy or death-producing depression?
- And now let’s shoot straight, have you been spending time in solitude or in isolation?
We all need people in our lives that hold us accountable for our alone time. Who do you have in your life that asks you questions similar to the pointed questions above? Or, have you isolated yourself from such people because you don’t want to have to give such an answer.
Let me tell you firsthand, one of the best decisions that I have ever made was to seek community accountability and submit myself to these types of pointed questions. I much prefer the life that comes with solitude, than the death that comes with isolation.
October 23rd, 2019 | Pastor Chris Cartwright | firstname.lastname@example.org