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The Power of Solitude - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
January 24, 2024 12:00 am

The Power of Solitude - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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January 24, 2024 12:00 am

Prioritize your relationship with God by pulling away from your to-do list and diving into His Word.

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Are you full of anxiety and stress while waiting to hear from God about something? It might be that it's time to be still.

Today's podcast brings a reminder of the power of solitude. Stress not only creates tension and pressure upon our mind and our emotions, but also it can have a devastating effect upon our body. And if you'll think about the society in which we live, there is conflict, confusion and disorder, creating all kinds of distress. In fact, you think about the environment that most of us live in and work around and people we're around, oftentimes there's a great deal of stress because of the demands that are upon us, expectations by other people, the drive to succeed, the fear of failure, all the things that create stress in people's lives. And the tragedy is there's no place to run and hide so you can absolutely eliminate all stress in your life. Now, most people are probably aware of some areas of stress in their life or some of the causes, and they attempt to do something about it. The most devastating kind is the kind that you're not aware of. And even though you're not aware of it, it's working against you every day and every night. So the question is this, as a child of God, does He expect us to be continually harassed by distress?

Does He expect us to be defeated and act like the rest of the world? Is it possible to live our lives in the midst of all the stressful things that go on and yet have peace and contentment and assurance and confidence and joy in our life in spite of that? Do we have to live under our circumstances or is it possible for us to live above them?

Well, it is possible to live above them. We don't have to give in to them. We don't have to surrender to it.

We don't have to take the world's ways and its avenues that lead to disaster to deal with stress. So I want you to turn, if you will, in the Scriptures to one psalm. We could turn to many of them to find Scriptures for this. But in the fourth psalm, I want us to read just the first four verses. And the title of this message is The Power of Solitude. So it begins in verse one of chapter four of the Psalms. Answer me when I call, O God, of my righteousness.

You have relieved me in my distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer. O sons of men, how long will my honor become a reproach?

How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception? But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man, or woman, for Himself. The Lord hears when we call to Him. Trimble and do not sin. Meditate in your heart upon your bed and be still. And does He not send a four to six psalm, Be still and know that I am God?

Cease striving, cease striving and know that I am God. Does He have an answer to this? Yes, He does. Does that mean that you and I will be able to eliminate all stressful circumstances?

No, it does not. We live in a very real corrupt carnal world that's working against most of what we believe and working against our very physical bodies. And I believe in this message if you'll listen carefully. God will show you how to deal with stress in your life.

He will help you to overcome one of those very, very painful causes of distress in your life. So let's think about for just a moment the whole idea of stress and what causes it and the idea of solitude. So before I define solitude, I want to think for just a moment what loneliness is about because most people have the idea that solitude and loneliness are synonymous, but they're not. When you think in terms of loneliness, for example, loneliness is that separation anxiety, that separation anxiety that comes from feelings, that the result of feelings of feelings of what?

Feelings of being disconnected, feelings of being isolated, feelings of no longer being wanted, feelings of being shut out. And so a person who is lonely is a person who feels disconnected to their environment, to people around them, and so it is a very, very painful circumstance in life, and most of us would run from loneliness. And so we're not talking about just being lonely. Solitude is something entirely different. While loneliness means being alone, and while solitude also involves being alone, solitude is not something you run from, solitude is something you run to.

One of them you want to escape from, the other you want to escape to. Because in solitude, that is, solitude is that time of being alone, and when a godly person, when a child of God thinks in terms of solitude, we think in terms of it in this manner. Solitude is that time when we can be alone with our Heavenly Father. Not detached and disconnected, becoming very attached and very connected to Him. Not feeling isolated and shut out and separated, but feeling very close and very near and very much belonging to our Heavenly Father.

It is a time of refreshing and renewing. There's some amazing results that we'll talk about in a few moments that come as a result of being connected with the Father. That is, spending time with Him, devoting time with Him. And so when we think in terms of solitude, the difference primarily is this.

Both of them are being alone. One of them is loneliness, and the other one is being very connected, very intimately entwined, very much in tune with our loving Heavenly Father. And certainly solitude is one of those experiences in life that He desires for every single one of us. Now, when I think about all that and think about how God works in our life, I want us to think about this whole issue of the effects. What effect does solitude have upon our life?

That is, think about this for a moment. What effect does your being alone and being quiet and being still, not necessarily praying or reading the Bible, but just lying or sitting or kneeling in His presence and just saying, Lord, I'm here to listen. I'm here to learn.

I'm here to love You and to be loved by You. Well, there's some things you and I can expect. So you may want to jot these down and think about them. And number one, I would say simply this, solitude makes our busy days and activities far more productive.

And here's the reason why. Because when you've been in His presence and He already knows what you're going to face, you know what He's doing without your even understanding? He's getting you ready. He's giving you so much of Himself and making you so much aware of His presence that when you walk into busyness and you walk into this activity, there is a sense of poise about you. There is a sense of calmness about you. There is a sense of confidence about you that you can't lay your finger on anything and say, I did this and I did that.

No, it was the simple presence of God that caused it to happen. A second effect you can expect is this, and that is I'll put it this way, it repairs the damage of the frets and the cares and all the noise of the world that you and I face every day. People run from God in all kinds of ways. Loud music, loud this, lots of noise, lots of this, lots of that to keep everything on your run. Jump in bed at night and go to sleep.

And you know what? You wake up the next morning, you haven't rested. Running from stress is not the way to get rid of it. But what it does, solitude sometimes in some way repairs the damage done by fretting and noise and the clamor of the world. Another thing it does is this, it just simply prepares us to face tough days. If you're living in continuous reaction to your circumstances, you'll never have any peace and joy and contentment in life.

That's not the way God intends for us to live. Solitude prepares us to face the tough days. When He knows that situations and circumstances are going to try us, and we can face them without losing it.

Another effect is this, and what I call those surprise moments. In solitude, there are those surprise moments when God very clearly answers your question that's been perplexing you, or He gives you a solution to a problem that you've been contemplating or trying to figure out and you can't figure out, you've sort of given up and you don't know what to do. And not even when you're thinking about it, in His presence, God just gives it as a gift. That's what solitude's all about.

Remember what I said? Listening, learning, loving, allowing God to do the talking. Shut my mouth while God speaks. Listen, open my ears to Him.

That is my spirit and my heart. Not the physical ears because God does not usually speak audibly. He speaks through His spirit, which is far more powerful than what we hear audibly.

Another effect you can expect is this, and that is, it is a powerful inhibitor to pride. Think about this for a moment. How can you sit before the Lord, allow before Him, and tell Him that you want to listen to Him, that you acknowledge His awesomeness? And without even saying it, you are acknowledging His awesomeness, His omniscience, His omnipotence, His omnipresence, His grace and mercy and love and goodness, and you're lying or sitting or kneeling there in absolute awe of who He is? You don't have to say a word.

And what happens? The longer you sit there, the more you think about who He is and what's happening in your life. What just naturally takes place is the fact you realize how unworthy you are of His grace and goodness and love and mercy. It's real difficult to be prideful when daily you meet with the Heavenly Father who rules and reigns in this universe, and every good thing that's come your way came right from Him.

And we're to acknowledge His awesomeness and that He's first and foremost, He's the zenith and the pinnacle of everything in life that matters. It doesn't give much place for pride in your life, so it's certainly an inhibitor to pride. Another thing is this, it promotes good health. You say, now wait a minute, you can't prove it, yes I can, I'm getting ready to. You mean to tell me that being alone with God, sitting before Him or lying before Him promotes good health?

Yes, it does. Now remember we're talking about this whole issue of stress. Stress is a killer.

Stress can physically kill. And what can solitude do? Solitude can heal and can strengthen. So I want you to think about this for a moment. And I wrote these down so I could quote them accurately. And this came from some studies that have been made by people in the health field, doctors and so forth. And I want you to listen to what they concluded by people who just go to church and who have a strong belief in whatever they believe.

Listen to this. They have lower blood pressure. They have lower cancer rates. They are more likely to survive major surgery. They are less likely to experience depression or commit suicide.

They are better able to cope with chronic disease and they live longer. Listen to this. Perhaps even more amazing in certain cases, a lack of religious belief has been found to be as bad for our health as smoking and drinking. Now these are not preachers. This is not preacher stuff.

These are medical figures. Listen to this. Two top medical scientists, one from Harvard and one from Duke University, report that when a patient is wired to machines that monitor brain waves, blood chemistry, heart rate and stress levels and is asked to pray, phenomenal changes take place. Strong faith can help us cope with stress because it helps us slow down our automatic responses to stressful events and make us less likely to rush the judgment.

For example, if you believe that God is in control of everything, you're not going to be quick to be judgmental or quick to respond and react and become angry and hostile and bitter because someone wrongs you in some fashion. Studies show that when we get quiet and disregard passive thoughts, we can actually decrease our heart rates, lower our metabolic rates and slow our breathing and brain waves. Now if somebody says, well, what does prayer and solitude have to do with good health? You just heard it from people that you probably never thought you'd have heard it from. You know what's happening?

The medical field's finally catching up with the Word of God. And that is solitude. Think about this for a moment. Sitting in the presence and listen, and this is one of the most important parts, being aware that you're in the presence of a loving Heavenly Father who loves you, cares for you, provides for you, protects you, has planned the best for you. When you and I spend time in that kind of atmosphere which every single one of us would have the privilege to do if we chose to. I'm coming to something somebody's thinking. I already know what you're thinking. I'm coming to it.

It has to have an effect upon the physical body. Now you say, I'm a mother. I got four little children. When I get up in the morning and you name all four of them and you know he's crying and she needs this and he needs that and this, that and the other and all these things are going on. How in the world can I have solitude?

You know what? God understands that and He understands also that nobody can tell you when. Nobody can tell you that you must get up in the morning early before you do anything and have solitude.

You may have to have it in the middle of the afternoon when you have fed everybody and got them all asleep or whatever it might be. Or certainly if you're married to a godly man, he would know that you need some time alone to yourself just between you and God. And every godly husband ought to be sensitive to that.

But I think about all the people who do not have that problem. And so what do they do? They spend their time sitting in front of a television set, having their minds filled with the way the world thinks when they could cut it off and be quiet and have their minds and hearts filled with what God thinks. Their emotions would be quieted. Their spirit would be quieted. They would begin to sense a rest within their hearts.

Their whole being would be transformed. That is the power of the presence of God. Now think about this.

You and I read the book of the Revelation. We think about the throne of God and the majesty and the power and the awesomeness of that. And we think, oh my, if I were in the presence of God, I'd follow my face in His presence and all of Him.

Well, think about this. God hasn't reserved the privilege of being in His presence till the time we get to heaven. This is why Jesus said, I'm abiding in you and you're abiding in Me. And because we're abiding in Him and He's abiding in us, we have His presence within us.

You see, the issue is it's awareness. If my ears are being bombarded with somebody else's thinking, their words, or music, or whatever it might be, I can't really concentrate upon Him. He wants us in absolute quietness, listening, learning, and loving Him. Solitude is not something you run from.

Solitude is that experience of aloneness that you run to. And so when I think about all the wonderful effects it has upon our life, for example, I think about it this way. It really makes us more joyful and happier with our friends and people we work with when we have been alone with Him. Because you see, you remember the Bible says that when Moses came down from the mount, his face shone that, and when he'd come out of the tabernacle, he'd been with God.

What a different countenance he had. You think about this. Is it not true and reasonable and likely that when you and I spend time with our Heavenly Father, quietly listening and learning and loving Him, that surely it's going to make a difference in our life?

Absolutely. Will somebody else be able to tell that? They won't know what's going on in your life. They'll just know that there's something about you that's a little different. And it won't make you prideful, because you see, they'll probably never know it. They'll never say anything to you about it.

Even if they do, you couldn't tell them exactly what it is. You've just been in the presence of a loving Father, a living God. You don't like your circumstances?

Get alone with Him and just say to Him, Father, I just want to listen to You. I want to learn from You. I want to love You.

In my circumstances, I'm just going to spend time with You and see what You do in my life. You see, so often we're so busy telling Him what He ought to do and how He ought to do it and when He ought to do it and get up and go on our way, He never gets a chance to say anything. Now, how many of you love to be in a conversation where somebody does all the talking? Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk.

You can't even get in where it is. You know what you want to do? You want to get up and walk out.

You just want to walk away. Well, that's what we do to God, Heavenly Father. I want to thank You in Jesus' name. And we just go on and on and on. We thank You in Jesus' name. Amen. We get up and walk away. And you know what? He hasn't said a word.

He couldn't say anything for us running our mouth. God wants us to listen to Him and enjoy the fellowship with Him. Now, you know one thing that solitude will do?

Listen carefully. It will deliver us from shallowness. And there are lots of people who name the name of Jesus Christ who are very shallow in their living. They're not walking wholly before God. They don't share their faith. They compromise their convictions. They compromise their ethics. They compromise their morals. They read the Bible once in a while.

That is a shallow form of life. God wants us to walk righteously and wholly before Him because He has the best for us. And in order for me to enjoy the best, I must surrender everything to Him. Thank you for listening to The Power of Solitude. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-24 03:26:42 / 2024-01-24 03:34:17 / 8

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