Seek Solitude, Seek To Be Social
Many people don’t know that I’m an introvert. This fact means that I thoroughly enjoy extended times of solitude and silence, alone with God and my thoughts. It’s why I could write my first book and how I continue to develop materials and write this blog. Call me crazy, but I especially enjoy overcast and rainy days. Despite this, I write extensively about the dangers of men and solitude. My message may seem contradictory, but it’s not. Let me explain.
In Called to Community: The Life Jesus Wants for His People, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “Let him who cannot be alone beware of community…Let him who is not in community beware of being alone…Each by itself has profound pitfalls and perils. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation, and despair.” What he’s saying here is that both are a necessary part of the Christian life. There are times we must contemplate, meditate and wrestle with God in solitude. Then there are times we’re to be in community, serving one another.
For example, Jesus frequently sought solitude to be alone with the Father. In Luke 6:12, Jesus spent the entire night alone before selecting the twelve disciples. When he learned of John the Baptist’s execution, he withdrew by boat to a “lonely place” (Mat 14:13). Shortly after, in Matthew 14:23, he “went up into the hills by himself” after feeding the five thousand. These passages show us that solitude is sometimes necessary before and after God does something special.
However, Scripture also shows us that there are times we need fellowship. For example, Hebrew 10:25 tells us, “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Another passage tells us that in community, we “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal 6:25). These passages and many others tell us that being in fellowship or community is for the benefit of all.
In summary, there are times we’re to withdraw and at other times come together. However, most notably, we need always to be connected to God in both situations, whether we’re taking time to listen to God or minister to others. Whether in solitude or social settings, always seek how each of those situations gives glory to God.
Answer and Journal the Following
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. 16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
Pray for courage to be obedient to what God calls you to do.
Meditate / Memorize:
Contemplate and meditate on or memorize the passage. What is God saying to you? Then, determine what you will do with what you’ve learned.
Share what you’ve learned with someone else.