That seems like a strange title . . . “Withdraw to Advance!” How in the world can we withdraw from something and still be advancing at the same time?
Let’s look at a verse that offers great encouragement to all of us today:
Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
I’m sure we would all agree that for the brief, three-plus years of earthly ministry in the life of our Lord, He was constantly making forward progress. The ministry of the Almighty was marked by continual advancement in the direction of His intended destination. And this verse offers us some very necessary insight into the process and pattern in the life of the One who withdrew to advance.
Do you remember the Energizer Bunny commercials? That Bunny kept going . . . and going . . . and going! There was no “Off” switch, so there certainly was no “Withdraw” switch either. Sadly, far too many of us are just like the Bunny. We have so much going on in life, we simply keep going . . . and going . . . and going . . . but this certainly is not God’s plan for our lives!
Jesus set the perfect example for all of us to follow. Take another look at Luke 5:16 above; it says Jesus withdrew . . .
This was not a one-time event in the life of our Lord, nor was it occasional. Jesus often withdrew to commune with His Father in heaven. Can the same be said about you? What would those closest to you say about your “often withdrawing” to spend time alone with Jesus? Make no mistake: this is as important in the life of the Christian as water is to a fish and air to a bird. No man ever had more to do in life than Jesus! Yet He knew when to work and when to withdraw . . . and by doing so He was able to make continual forward progress.
No matter where this message finds you, let me encourage you to withdraw often to be with Jesus. Notice something else that is very important. Jesus withdrew to quiet, “lonely” places. He did not go to the center of Jerusalem, surrounded by people pressing in on Him. He went off by Himself to quiet places where He could simply commune with His Father in heaven. Let me close with a wonderful promise from the prophet Isaiah for those who will discipline themselves to “often withdraw to lonely places and pray.”
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!