God has certainly called Christians to live in community with other Christians. Proverbs 18:1 states, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.”
So we must never think God will lead us to always be isolated. Sometimes prolonged isolation can be an attack from Satan, the result of sins committed against us, or even as a consequence for our own sins.
However, there are pockets of time in our lives where God will intentionally lead us into a season of isolation for a specific purpose that is very healthy.
Here are 3 possible reasons for why God may lead you to be isolated for a period of time.
1. If You Need to Break Away from a Bad Community, God Will Often Put You in a Season of Isolation to Prepare You for a New Community
Perhaps you know you have to break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, but to fully move on you will also need to separate yourself from your friend group because this person will still be around those people. Or maybe you have been backsliding and have ingratiated yourself with other people who are living in sin. To repent of your own sinful patterns, you also know you need to distance yourself from these people you’ve been spending so much time with.
2 Timothy 2:22 states, “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” In an ideal situation where you “flee youthful passions” you would be able to also immediately find a community of “those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” Sometimes, however, there is a gap of time that goes by before you can replace what you needed to give up.
It’s a sacrifice that needs to be made. As Proverbs 16:8, “Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice.”
Never stay in a harmful community just because you are afraid of being alone. Sometimes you have to go through a season of isolation so you can then meet the new people God wants you to meet.
2. If You Are Completely Burned Out Because of a Traumatic Relationship Experience, God Will Often Put You in a Season of Isolation So You Can Reconnect with Him
Maybe you were a part of a church that just went through a messy split. Maybe you just went through a traumatic experience where your family members had a huge disagreement and you were forced to choose a side. Or maybe you had a difficult romantic relationship end in a way that has left you emotionally exhausted. In moments like these, a time of isolation can be used by God to refill your heart and prepare you to love people again.
As we mentioned already, normally it is not good to be isolated. In those instances where God will isolate you, there will always be a good reason that will benefit you in the end. God’s isolation season for you won’t last forever. Rather, it will help you have better relationships with the community God does have for you one day.
In other words, before you can really embrace the healthy relationships God wants to give you, you often need to first heal from the past relationships you were wounded by. To do this, God may use a season of isolation to help your heart reconnect with Jesus, the true source of life we all need (John 15:5).
Jesus, for example, did not live his life in isolation. However, he did take moments of isolation so he could directly reconnect with the Father. Matthew 14:23 states of Jesus, “And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.”
Selfish isolation will result in less love for people. Biblical isolation, however, will help you love people better. Sometimes we need to leave so we can come back better. Sometimes we need to get alone with God so we can hear what he has to say to us. Sometimes the most loving thing you can do for other people is to take care of your own heart first (Proverbs 4:23).
3. If You Need God’s Very Clear Confirmation About a Relationship, Oftentimes He Will Lead You Into Isolation So You Can Hear from Him
For example, if you are about to ask your fiancé to marry you, it would be a good idea to get away for a day or two to really focus on God and find his direction. Of course you should still communicate with this woman so she doesn’t feel like you are ignoring her, but you will want to really listen to God before you make such a big step in your life.
Or maybe you are wondering if you should breakup with your boyfriend. He’s a good man, but there are some things about him that concern you. Before you let someone go that you really love, it would be wise to spend a good amount of alone-time with God so you can get his word about this.
Notice what Jesus did before he officially chose his twelve disciples. Luke 6:12-13 (NIV) states:
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles . . . .”
When you really need confirmation about another person, oftentimes God will lead you to spend extra time in prayer with him.
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