Monday, September 8, 2014

Lessons from Rest: Shhhhhhhhh

"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." (Luke 5:16)

Friend, I want to challenge you with a single statement:
"Silence and Solitude are non-negotiables for a healthy soul."

I have come to believe the above statement. I simply don't believe it's possible for anyone to have a healthy soul without having a regular time of silence and solitude. I know we don't all encounter God the same ways; (author Gary Thomas wrote a great book called Sacred Pathways about this), but there are a few spiritual disciplines that regardless of how we're wired, we simply must practice to stay healthy. Among them are prayer, Bible study & application, sabbath, silence, and solitude. The first two on this list are talked about and preached about often, and rightly so. The last three, the three S's are often neglected a little...and this to our own detriment. The only case I need to make is found everywhere in Scripture. Jesus, of course, modeled all of these...but so did many others. A model for us to follow.

During my sabbatical I had extended time to quiet my heart, quiet my surroundings, and just "be." It was amazing how difficult this was. About 4 weeks into my time, I was able to get away by myself for 3 full days and 2 nights to Lopez Island. I remember vividly the feeling I had as I stepped onto the ferry boat and began to depart. It was a feeling of release, and I had this distinct sense that God was near me, breathing into my soul.

It's only when we are quiet that we can tune our minds and ears to the voice of God. It's also only in these times where we can rightly name and identify the voices of our enemy, and do battle with them.

Some of us are afraid of silence, afraid of solitude. Sometimes I am. And yet that is even more reason why we need to enter that time. Intimacy with God is not just something He desires, it is something you and I desperately need. Without slowing down and having times of silence and solitude, it is easier for our enemy to get his message across, and harder for God to get His across. I think that in the midst of our noise-riddled, busy, fast-paced lives, it is easier for Satan to get us to believe in his lies then it is for God to get us to believe His truths.

Let me say this to you - if you believe that God loves you unconditionally, then there is no reason to fear intimacy with Him, anymore then you'd fear going to the doctor for a broken arm. God has already dealt with the only real reason you should fear intimacy - your sin. If you stand on the blood of Jesus Christ and claim Him as your king, then your sin is dealt with now and forever. So why do you fear hearing His voice? All He wants is what's best for you.

You can have solitude without silence...but you cannot have silence without solitude.

So where in your life to have a regular pattern of silence and solitude? If you don't, not to worry...God built one in for you. In fact, it's so important to Him that it made His top-10 list. It's called Sabbath...a 24-hour period set aside just for you and I to re-charge, replenish, rest, delight, and be with Him. But that's for another post...

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