Summary: This sermon looks at Four Benefits of Solitude 1. Helps Me Hear The VOICE Of God 2. Helps Me Build INTIMACY With God 3. Helps Me Express My FAITH In God 4. Helps Me Become SPIRITUALLY Restored (Sermon 7 in this series)
Finding a Balanced Life – Solitude An Act Of Discipleship
Have you ever lost your balance? Have you ever driven a car that had unbalanced tires? I know that I have. One time I went and bought new tires for my car. I had not driven very far when I noticed that something was wrong. The steering wheel was shaking – and the car was doing things that it had never done before. I turned the car around and went back to the tire store. A very simple thing was overlooked. Do you know what it is? They had mounted the tires on the rim – but they had overlooked balancing the tire. The way they did it back then is they would add small weights to the rim of the wheel in order to have the tire balanced. When a tire is out of balance – it can affect a lot of things. Have you ever lost your balance?
Sometimes we lose our balance on ice – and we fall. Sometimes we lose our balance in life and we fall too. One of the neglected disciplines of discipleship is solitude. We live in a world where business and activity is the norm – but you don’t hear many people talk about silence and solitude – do you? These are not highly prized activities. But do you know that silence and solitude were a regular pattern of life for Jesus? Jesus found time for silence and solitude – even in the business of His life.
How many of you like peace and quiet? (Most people will raise their hands.) Do you really? If I take my watch and say, “Ok, what we are going to do for the next five minutes is be perfectly still and quiet. There will be no talking – there will be no looking around – also there will be no sleeping – (sleeping does not count.) – all you can do is sit there and be still.” Do any of you think you would be uneasy with that request? I think that some of us would shutter at the thought of absolute silence – absolute stillness. In our fast pace world silence and solitude don’t usually make it to the top of our priority list.
Dietrich Bonheoffer wrote, “We are so afraid of the silence that we chase ourselves from one event to the next in order not to have to spend a moment alone with ourselves, in order not to have to look at ourselves in the mirror.”
For those of us who follow Christ – it is easy to see in the gospels the examples that Jesus set when it comes to solitude and silence. In Matthew chapter fourteen there are two examples where Jesus sought solitude. Follow along with me as I read Matthew chapter fourteen verses ten through thirteen:
*Solitude At the death of John the Baptist (The Storm Of Death)
“He (Herod) sent and had John beheaded in the prison. And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. His disciples came and took away the body and buried it; and they went and reported to Jesus. Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself.” Matthew 14:10-13a (NASV)
At the hearing of the news about the death of John the Baptist – Jesus sought solitude and silence. Folks the storms of death will more than likely touch each and every one of our lives. For many of us – it has already happen. A parent – a grandparent – a sibling – a spouse – a friend – can be touched by death – and it is times like those that we may need to seek silence and solitude with our Father in heaven. I know this was true of Jesus.
A second incident takes place later on in the same chapter. It seems that Jesus popularity kept growing and so did the demands of the crowds. Follow along with me as I read Matthew chapter fourteen and verse twenty three:
*Solitude At the pressure of popularity (The Storm Of Pressures)
“After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.” Matthew 14:23 (NASV)
Folks, popularity has its own pressure – as well as the fast pace world we live in. There are times we need to seek silence and solitude to help us recharge our batteries for the challenges that may lie right around the corner. Daily pressures can take a toll on us. I know that Jesus sought solitude because of the demands on His life. Perhaps we should too.