Hello On-Mission Disciples!
This month we are continuing our look at spiritual disciplines and focusing on the discipline of solitude. Often this discipline gets overlooked, or it gets put attached to other disciplines such as fasting, prayer, or meditation. Often you will see disciplines overlapping. This isn’t a bad thing. These are practices that develop a heart position toward the Father. Sometimes more than one is used at a time, and that’s okay! What’s important is knowing the reasoning and the biblical basis for the discipline.
The word solitude comes from the Latin word solus, which means alone. The key principle of solitude is a separation from distraction and focusing on God. We see this often in the life of Jesus. He often went into solitary places to spend time with the Father. A few examples can be found in Mark 1:6, Luke 5:15, Mark 6:31, Matt 14:23, Matt 26:36-46. Times of solitude build you up spiritually because it is a direct connection with the Father.
Yet, we also see Jesus living in community with his disciples. Thus, the practice of solitude cannot be understood without its counterpart of the practice of community. The life on mission is a life that knows the importance of both and doesn’t overemphasize one over the other because they are both important.
Community without solitude leads to burn-out.
Solitude without community leads to isolation.
John Mark Comer in his book The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry said that “Solitude is when you set aside time to feed and water and nourish your soul. To let it grow into health and maturity. Isolation is what you crave when you neglect the former.”
Solitude is not a life of isolation. But a time of separation. It is not a time of emptying out, but a time of being filled.
To learn more about the practice of solitude, look at these resources below!
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