The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and stay here with me.” (Exodus 24:12)
To be sure, we have been created for community. It was God who, after having pronounced His benediction over all that He had created said, “It is not good that man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18 NKJV). God Himself is community: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And we, having been made in His image, are made to live life in the context of community. But inasmuch as God has called us to be together as His family of faith, He has also called us to be alone.
Jesus spent His three-plus years of ministry surrounded by people, from the massive crowds to the chosen twelve. He lived a life of community. But He also made sure to set aside time to be alone with His Father in heaven.
Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:16)
Jesus frequently withdrew from the community to commune alone with His Father. This is the model for every one of His disciples to follow. The roots of our redemption drive the deepest when we are alone in communion with God. I am convinced that we do not learn deep things from others; rather, we learn them as we spend time alone in contemplation and communion with God.
As a pastor, I have seen an alarming trend today in the church—too many Christians are “all together” often, which is good, but rarely “all alone” with God . . . which is bad. For many, the group has become, in some strange way, their god, which can become a stumbling block to our relationship with the Savior.
Don’t misunderstand me; I am not suggesting that we seek the quiet solitude of the monastic life and seclude ourselves from others. But if the lion’s share of our time in discipleship is spent in community, we will end up looking more like the community than the One in whose name we gather: our Lord Jesus Christ. We must balance our time by being both “all together” and “all alone” if we are going to grow into the person God is calling us to be.
We have all heard the statement, “There is safety in numbers.” But we must remember that God is not calling us to safety, because safety does not sanctify. He is calling us to an intimate, personal relationship with our Savior, who alone sanctifies, and that relationship requires not only “all together” time, but “all alone” time as well.
So . . . how balanced is the time you spend each week with God? Would it serve you well to set aside a little more all alone time with Jesus?
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!