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What does the Bible say about the value of solitude?

Solitude, or being alone, is frequently regarded as one of the traditional spiritual disciplines. It is frequently associated with silence. The goal is to spend time alone with God, praying, reflecting on His Word, and simply enjoying His presence. Some people use solitude to get away from the world's distractions, acknowledge the inner workings of their hearts, and hear God speak. Being alone can also be a time for rest and rejuvenation.

The Bible clearly recognizes the importance of solitude. "Be still, and know that I am God," says Psalm 46:10. In solitude, it is much easier to "be still." "The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the Lord's salvation," says Lamentations 3:25–28. It is beneficial for a young man to bear the yoke. Allow him to sit alone in silence because the Lord has bestowed it upon him."

In the Bible, we see examples of God's people practicing solitude. Moses, for example, met with the Lord at the tabernacle on a regular basis (Exodus 33:7, 11). While Elijah (1 Kings 19) and Jacob (Genesis 32:24–32) were alone, God spoke to them. Jesus is the best example, who "frequently withdrew to lonely places and prayed" (Luke 5:16). God in the flesh, Jesus, spent time alone with His Father. After performing miracles (Mark 1:35), in times of grief (Matthew 14:13), before choosing the twelve apostles (Luke 6:12–13), in His agony in Gethsemane (Luke 22:39–44), and at other times, we see Him seeking solitude. In Jesus' life, he practiced solitude on a regular basis.

Jesus invited His followers to join Him in times of solitude (group solitude). "Then, because there were so many people coming and going that they didn't have time to eat, he told them, 'Come with me alone to a quiet place and rest.' So they sailed away alone in a boat to a remote location" (Mark 6:31–32).

Solitude is a beneficial practice according to the Bible. God can examine us if we spend "alone time" with Him. It can be a time of deepening our knowledge of God, strengthening, refreshing, sharing our deepest concerns with God, and simply being with the One who created us and loves us beyond our comprehension.

Another advantage of having periodic periods of solitude is that it allows us to refocus on what is truly important. It's good to "come away" every now and then; we need time away from others, from cell phones, from television shows, and from the daily grind. We don't want "life's worries" to choke out the Word (Mark 4:19). Rather, like Mary of Bethany, we want to spend time with Jesus and sit at His feet to hear what He has to say (Luke 10:39).

Like other religious practices, the practice of solitude can be taken to unhealthy extremes. Solitude is not a desirable place to reside. We are not to live as hermits or shut ourselves off from the rest of society. However, we must have times when we relate with God one-on-one in order to fully enjoy our relationship with God and fully participate in godly community.


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