You are alone in your faith: It is just you and God. Nobody else matters
I recently watched teaching by a Christian believer who stressed the importance of being alone with God. We have been taught that we should be the light and salt, in other words have an influence among people. However, some of the most important revelations from God come to believers when they are alone, isolated, even imprisoned. Let us look more closely at a few examples.
The prophet Elijah faced a lot of opposition and even had to flee his enemies. God met with him in a cave where he was hiding, not through the wind, an earthquake, or a fire, but in a still voice:
11And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: 12And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. – 1 Kings 19:11-12
Here God revealed to Elijah what he had to do (1 Kings 19:15-18). If we really want to hear God, we should listen for the small voice! We can only experience this when we are alone.
Daniel spent hours studying the Word while he was in exile. He did not allow the fact that he was a stranger in a country with heathen customs, to side-track him. God rewarded his faithfulness by revealing to him what would happen in the future. One example is found in Daniel 9. He was alone in his room, praying and confessing the sins of his people, when the angel appeared to him to reveal to him (Daniel 9:22) the essence of what he had read in the books (Daniel 9:2). Let us look at the divine connection between man and God:
22And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. – Daniel 9:22
Daniel’s commitment was to remain faithful, even in a strange country, and God provided by sending the angel to teach him and reveal to him a future which only himself, Paul and John would have insight into. God hears our prayers and replies to our requests when we are committed and are prepared to spend time with Him, alone.
Jesus took time off from His busy schedule, to pray and seek wisdom from the Father. We might think that as the second person in the Trinity He would not need wisdom, but He did, thereby setting an example for us. We read that He was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit so that He could be tempted:
1Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. – Matthew 4:1-2
Again, there was divine intervention as angels came and ministered to Him after the devil had left Him (Matthew 4:11). The result of this event, where He was alone for more than a month, was that He started His ministry, as recorded in Matthew 5 onwards. This is another stunning example how God meets with us when we put aside the need for other things and focus on Him instead. Jesus would no doubt have become hungry, and the devil uses exactly this as bait to tempt Him (Matthew 4:2-3). If you want to walk closer to God, set aside your desires for earthly things and focus on Him instead. Masses of people around you will not allow this to happen.
Paul spent years in prison. We may wonder why God would allow this to happen. Surely, from our perspective, he would have been more effective had he been allowed to roam about freely to spread the message of good hope. Prison life made him even more resilient and while chained and locked up, God revealed future events to him that no one else in his time was privileged to experience. On his way to Rome to present his case to Caesar, an angel appeared to him:
23For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, 24Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. – Acts 27:23-24
As his nature was, Paul would have been praying, even while the storm was fierce around them. The result was that again, an angel visited and encouraged him. During all those times he was imprisoned and abandoned by others, his faith never wavered. God did not disappoint, and revealed future events to him.
John was alone on the island of Patmos when he received the revelation of future events from Jesus Himself. Isolation did not diminish his faith. It only increased. We read of his encounter:
9I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, – Revelation 1:9-10
Like the others mentioned earlier, John was praying (in the Spirit). He did not allow his isolation to take his focus away from God. In fact, it only strengthened. What followed was the greatest single revelation of the future any person has ever received. What Daniel saw only in part, John experienced personally in great detail. This is an example of God’s progressive revelation to man.
In all of these examples, great men of God made an active choice to spend time in the Word (or at least the limited parts of Scripture that were available to them at the time), study, and pray. In each case, God answered them and revealed more to them than they could ever wish for. They would hardly have been able to be in this position had they been surrounded by masses of people. There are countless more examples from the Bible that shows how our relationship with God is an intimate one, not to be shared with the masses. Are these the only great men of God? Absolutely not! You are a great man (or woman) of God as well. Today, make the time to be away from others, away from the influence of the world which attacks us through the visual media. Focus on God alone.