Solitude and Silence
I’m a person who likes to be around people. I don’t often like to be alone but in the last few years I’ve experienced more alone-time; I’m beginning to like it. Solitude is being alone, whether you leave or stay home, either way, it’s good for the soul. As a spiritual discipline this lack of fellowship is a real 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 minutes, the distracting presence of others. It’s an opportunity to practice silence as well; solitude and silence 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 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’s worth your time and effort. I usually look at some aspect of His creation, breathe deeply, close my eyes, and fill my mind with His attributes: holiness, creativity, forgiveness, faithfulness, or love. There’s much 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. True? True. When we practice solitude and silence it give us the opportunity to hear from God. There is no substitute.
Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling. (Zechariah 2:13 ESV)
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’re keeping yourself from falling into traps set by the enemy. Words can lead you where you don’t want to go and silence is a good strategy to keep those doors shut and locked. Begin to practice using silence against the devil rather than letting him use your emotionally-charged words against you.
In closing, remember that Jesus Christ is the King. In that aspect of His character He deserves our solitude and silence. When in the presence of royalty or dignitaries you don’t talk; you stand amazed. Jesus the King is worthy of our solitude and silence. The prophet Habakkuk understood this, read his words:
But the LORD is in His holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him. Hab. 2:20