Right after Jesus spent an extended time alone with God, He dove right into fellowship with others. Specifically, He chose the twelve men who were to make up His inner circle from that time forward.
Jesus shows us that there is a balance between time alone with God and time with others.
To quote the well-known German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer from his book Life Together, “Let him who cannot be alone beware of community…let him who is not in community beware of being alone.”
Each of us has a preference for either being alone or with others, depending in part on whether God created us as introverts or extraverts. Yet we should not let that preference cause us to avoid seeking the balance that Jesus models for us.
Tending too much toward solitude can cause several problems.
First, those who emphasize solitude too much can develop an unbalanced view of themselves. God places us in community so that we can interact with others and within those interactions become aware of our own faults and peculiarities.
All of us are imperfect creatures…and we need to become aware of those imperfections through our interactions with others.
A God-centered community will also accept us while we work on our imperfections. They support us as we are being transformed into the image of Christ.
If we spend too much time in solitude, we deprive our community of the unique contribution God has created for us to make.
We each have a specific role to fulfill within our community.
When we fail to fulfill that role…the community suffers.
Finally, God has given us community in order to grow us into maturity.
Through the interactions, challenges, and admonition of others, we grow to become the person God created us to be.
Avoiding time in Christian community causes deprivation of spiritual growth.
Yet, solitude is necessary for us to incorporate what we learn in community deep into our hearts and in our relationship with Christ.
Community draws us out…and solitude builds us up.
Make sure you are achieving the balance you need between solitude and community.
Prayer: Lord, show me any imbalance in my life regarding solitude and community, and help me make the necessary changes.