I am a person who likes to be around people. I don’t like to be alone a lot but in the last few years I have experienced more alone-time; I think I like it. Solitude is being alone, whether you go away or stay home and it is good for the soul. As a spiritual discipline this lack of fellowship is really a challenge, but a good one. It forces us to be more aware of God’s presence and leaves behind, even if just for a few hours, the distracting presence of others. It is an opportunity to practice silence as well. I think they complement each other. More often than not, when we choose to be alone with God we tend to talk. We fill the air with our words. That’s not all bad but it’s also good to be still and just KNOW He’s God. It’s a discipline. When we are quiet with God He receives our total attention and in return He promises to fill us with strength (Is. 30:15). We don’t empty our minds of all thoughts (that’s occultic) but center them on the LORD. It takes consistency and self-discipline as we continually bring our thoughts back as they wander, and they will, but it is worth your effort. I usually look at some aspect of His creation, breathe deeply, close my eyes, and fill my mind with His attributes: holiness, creativity, faithfulness. There is such value with this exercise.
Another way to view this spiritual discipline is from the opposite side. We fill our days with talking. Our cell phones are continually attached to our bodies. Our words are constantly flowing, whether through text or verbal, oftentimes getting us in trouble. We don’t practice the art of listening because we think what we have to say is more valuable. Can you identify? Solitude and silence give us the opportunity to hear from God. There is no substitute.
The final aspect I want to mention is using these disciplines as spiritual warfare. When you choose not to respond to words from others you are keeping yourself from falling into traps set by the enemy. Silence is a good strategy to keep yourself from sin. Our many words open doors that should remain locked. Do you know what I’m saying? Use silence against the devil rather than letting him use your emotional words against you.
In closing, remember that Jesus Christ is the King. In that aspect of His character He deserves our silence. When in the presence of royalty or dignitaries you don’t talk. You stand amazed. Jesus the King is worthy of our silence. The prophet Habakkuk understood this as he wrote: But the LORD is in His holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him. Hab. 2:20