Summary: There are numerous that we face that can pull us and distract us from serving the Lord. It is important that we know the Word of God, so that we maybe able to escape from their pull.
Escape from Lonesome Valley
In our evening services we have started a sermon series entitles, “Salvation from Destructive Emotions.” I am not leading this series, because I am a psychologist or psychiatrist. I am leading us through this series, because there is a vast realm of emotions that can derail us from what God has called us to do. That is serving Him.
Loneliness is everywhere: from the heart of the socialite surrounded by the glitter of the world, to the heart of the mother surrounded by the demands of an active home; from the skilled surgeon’s busy office full of waiting patients, to the modern rest home’s quiet rooms full of elderly people waiting out their last days.
Someone has said, “Loneliness is the most devastating disease of our society.” Sociologists call us “the lonely crowd.”
Loneliness is the Christian servant’s greatest enemy. Temptations that make little or no headway under normal conditions become almost irresistible in times of loneliness. Many a Christian in the midst of loneliness has given up the fight. Satan has struck some of his most devastating blows when Christians have been caught in utter loneliness.
In thinking about escaping from Lonesome Valley, it is imperative that we understand the difference between loneliness and solitude. In other words, it is one thing to be alone and another to be lonely. Many people who live alone are not lonely. In fact, the state of solitude where one is alone is many times helpful. But feeling alone can be a devastating experience. Many people who are almost always surrounded by a crowd are pathetically lonely. It is escape form this kind of loneliness that concerns us.
I. Factors contributing to loneliness
a. Self Pity
i. Someone has said, “Loneliness is 90 percent self pity.”
ii. The next time you feel lonely, stop and see how much of it can be attributed to your feeling sorry for yourself.
iii. Self pity causes loneliness, because it leads us to shut ourselves in and others out.
iv. Self pity causes us to spin our own cocoons; thus, the sorrier we fell for ourselves, the lonelier we grow.
v. We can expect loneliness as we surrender to self pity.
b. Self Sufficiency
i. When we dethrone God and put self on the throne, we are headed toward loneliness.
ii. When we push God from the center of our lives and acquire attitudes of self sufficiency, we are headed toward decay, defeat, and loneliness.
i. We become dull and listless when we have nothing to do.
1. A short while after Elijah prayed down fire at Mount Carmel and won a dazzling victory over pagan forces, he was found alone, praying to die.
2. He was incredibly discouraged and lonely, saying, “I, even I only, am left” (1 Kings 19:10)
ii. The Lord exposed Elijah’s real problem by asking, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9)
1. That was it – he was doing nothing!
2. What famine and armies could not do to him, idleness did.
II. Factors to conquer loneliness (Fourfold way)
a. There is something to question
i. We must ask ourselves, “Is my loneliness my own fault?
ii. Am I lonely because of self pity or self sufficiency or idleness?
iii. Am I lonely because I am wrapped up in myself?
iv. If we are like that, we cannot help but be lonely.
v. Loneliness cannot be overcome until we are willing to recognize the part that we play individually in being lonely and are willing to ask ourselves, “Is my loneliness my own fault?”
b. There is something to remember
i. Escape from Lonesome valley is attained by building up a great reservoir of happy memories and thoughts.
1. A mind full of pleasant memories, a heart that can count many blessings, and an eye that looks for beauty and good wherever it can be found will not brood long over being alone.
ii. There is something else to remember.
1. While every soul has its experiences of loneliness, god is at work holding every soul.
2. In him we live, and move, and have our being.
3. We can go as fast as we wish and as far as we will, but we will never out distance God.
4. The prophet Isaiah discovered this great truth when he heard God say, “Fear not: for I have redeemed three, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passes through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee” (Isa 43:1-2)
c. There is something to feel
i. You must feel that you have been sent.