I received some wise words in response to my first post titled Attitude Adjustment. If you’re new here or missed it, check it out for context. I shared my personal experience of getting through a bout of loneliness brought on by Stay-at-Home isolation. The Executive Director of Christ-Life Ministries, Jim Hobson, had the following response. I think many can benefit from this sage advice.
Renew the Mind
“In Christ-Life we teach a lot about renewing the mind and about the power of words. As I have been talking with people about the times we are now living in, I have been encouraging them to try and substitute the word Solitude for the word Isolation. Isolation says we are all alone and shut out. Solitude says we are alone with God and pressing IN to Him. As believers, deep inside, solitude is something we long for. To spend time alone with God. To get away from the hectic, distracting, bustle of life. To hear His voice in the quiet. It’s natural, normal, and even healthy to want to be connected with other people. I hope we all get to do that soon. Until then, enjoy this solitude retreat brought to you by Covid-19.”
With the celebration of Easter just past and much of our nation still in a Stay-at-Home stance, it seemed relevant to set aside the topic I originally intended to share and expound on the perspective of isolation vs solitude.
Let’s examine two of our Savior Jesus Christ’s recorded times of solitude. The first incident found in Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13 and Luke 4:1-13 is when the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness. On this occasion, the solitude prepared Jesus for ministry and His purpose on earth.
How Jesus Responded
What happened during Jesus’ time of preparation solitude? The scriptures record that Jesus fasted and He was tempted. Our sinless Savior, our model of Christian life, fasted. Hmmm… should I/we consider the value of fasting. In the Christian corporate body is this practiced enough?
There are many great teachings and resources on the benefits and practice of fasting, so I will not elaborate here. My hope is that we will all take note of the fact Jesus chose to fast. The passage records that Jesus was tempted during His time of solitude. Jesus gained victory over the temptations by “speaking” truth. The power of scripture rightly spoken led to the enemy leaving and the ushering in of ministering angels.
Garden of Gethsemane
Next, let’s look at the solitude of Jesus near the culmination of His life in Matthew 26:36-46. When reviewing Jesus’ solitude in the Garden, I notice two things. He presumably desired the companionship, maybe comfort and strength of others. He took Peter, James and John with Him. But there was a limit to how far. Likewise, in our own lives we can garner some comfort or encouragement from friends but ultimately what we truly need comes from God alone.
I find it interesting Jesus returned three times to His disciples, each time to disappointment because they couldn’t endure. The disciples had no comprehension of the depth of Jesus’ struggle in that hour. As difficult as it was, Jesus demonstrated for us how to endure – by returning to intimate solitude with the Father.
The Father can handle our woes. Jesus poured out His desire for an alternative plan but surrendered to the Father’s will. Notice His calm reserve following that third time in verse 45-46. Jesus had a break-through to get beyond the emotions He wrestled with. At that point Jesus was ready to walk obediently in the Father’s plan.
Have you experienced victory over the enemy by speaking truth? Are there things you need to put in practice to be prepared i.e. fasting or memorizing scripture? What have you learned by the example Jesus has shown in the Garden? Is there a paradigm shift you need to make in your thinking?
Father God, thank You for showing me how to resist the enemy through the example Jesus lived. Give me a hunger for Your word, so I will feast on it daily. Let me not be deceived by the evil one and cause me to be well prepared for refuting his lies. Through the power of the Holy Spirit make my mind quick to discern enemy deceptions and speak truth to secure victory over temptations. I pray You will grant me strength to endure in the midst of my hour, when I long for the support of others. Make me remember Jesus repetitively leaned into You until He had complete resolve for fulfilling Your plan. Provide me endurance to do the same that this life may bring glory and honor to Your holy name. Thank you for loving me!
I am a follower of Jesus Christ, grandmother, great-grandmother, respite foster care parent, and trauma survivor. I enjoy sipping tea, writing devotionals, prayers, short stories, and unburdening my heart to the Lord. Check the About section if you want to learn a bit more about me.
Copyright © 2020 Musings of Manette Kay™ All rights reserved. Requests to the author and publisher, Manette Kay, for permission.
Left photo image by Simona Robová from Pixabay and right photo image by Pexels from Pixabay.