Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Becoming Like God...In His Serenity (2 of 3)

In this week's first post, I set the stage by telling a story of when God brought about an opportunity for me to be silent and have a time of solitude to set the stage for this second post – taking a biblical look at reasons to engage in these two Disciplines. (I will simply list several Scriptures and provide a brief comment on each.)

1) To Follow Jesus Example.
Matthew 4.1 – Jesus also fasted during this time.
Matthew 14.23 – Jesus sent the crowds, and those closest to Him away, to spend time with God.
Mark 1.35 – Jesus got away from the crowds to prepare for the day ahead (and recover from the previous days.
Luke 4.42 – Jesus COULD meet all their needs. But He did what HE needed first.

Principle here – Jesus was always with the crowds, so He had to find a time alone – to keep His priorities straight, and to maintain His spiritual strength.

2) To Minimize Distractions in Prayer.
The examples of Jesus from #1 – Also Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
1 Kings 19.8 – Elijah hearing God in the low whisper (vv. 11-13) - requires silence.
Habakkuk 2.1 – Habakkuk entered a guard post to get alone with God.

Many have an addiction to noise. Background noise can be ok, but do you NEED it? More than you need God?

3) To Express Worship to God.
Habakkuk 2.20 – All of the earth will be silent in awe of the Lord.
Zechariah 2.13 – Everyone will be silent before the Lord.

Worship can be through words and songs, but it can also be in silence.

4) To Express Faith in God.
Psalm 62.1-2, 5-6 – David waited for God, because He knew God was the true source of his hope.
Isaiah 30.15 – God offers salvation through rest and strength through quietness and trust, yet the people were unwilling and pursued their own ends.

What does the world offer? Noise, busyness Spending time away from noise can show a longing for God

5) To Seek the Salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3.25-28 – Jeremiah was in agony over the fall of Jerusalem, but knew God's faithfulness was great and that being quiet before God was the appropriate response.

Seeking salvation of the Lord can apply to those who do believe in God and those who don't believe.

For those that don't believe, this salvation is from sin and the consequences of it. Luke 18.13

For those that do believe in God, this is a salvation from present circumstances. Psalm 64.1-5

6) To Be Physically and Spiritually Restored.
Mark 6.30-32 – Jesus encouraging His disciples to restore themselves after a time of ministry.

Above we saw that Jesus needed to be restored for ministry. If Jesus needed this, how much more do we?

7) To Regain a Spiritual Perspective.
Luke 1.20, 59-64. The story of Zechariah, the father of John the baptizer was made silent. At the time of his boy's birth, Zechariah wrote the name "John" on a tablet, and his ability to speak was restored.

8) To Seek the Will of God.
Luke 6.12-13 – Jesus went off to pray all night before calling His disciples.

Have you ever pulled someone aside to ask someone a question? This is kind of the same idea. It is as if you are inviting God to meet you in private in order to ask a question.

9) To Learn Control of the Tongue.
Proverbs 17.27-28 – A silent fool may be considered wise.
Ecclesiastes 3.7 – There is a time to speak, and a time for silence.
James 1.19 – Be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.
James 1.26 – Without control of the tongue our religion is worthless.

These are 9 biblical reasons to engage in the combined Disciplines of Silence and Solitude.

Spending time in silence and solitude allows us to learn to listen. These Disciplines allow us to hear what might not otherwise be heard – like me on the lake. The noises were there all week, but I just wasn't listening, because I was caught up in the noise – the noise of the jet-skis and boats....the noise of the people riding along...the noise of laughing and screaming. And the noise of life – simply being too busy to appreciate what was around me – including, and most importantly, God.

We need to take time be silent. We need to find times when we can be alone. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, these Disciplines can help us become more like the people God desires us to be – a person more like Him. In the final post this week, I will convey some ideas on how to apply these Disciplines to our lives.

*This series of posts is adapted from Donald Whitney's book, Christian Disciplines for the Christian Life.

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