HS Week #11: Silence & Solitude

Bria Connolly speaking on the discipline of silence and solitude. She reviewed the purpose of disciplines and the practice needed to reflect Christ. She focused on Jesus and how he made times of silence and solitude a priority, even in the midst of chaos, he withdrew to desolate places to be with God.

Spiritual Disciplines

  • Spiritual disciplines are how we live out our discipleship to Jesus, how we spend time with him, and how we start to look like him.
  • Discipline is a practice, it’s training. Discipline is necessary for growth. Practices based on the life of Jesus that create time and space for us to access him.
  • As a follower of Jesus you are in a race called life, a race that to be run well must be trained for.
  • We are called to work towards excellence, to work toward what is important to us, to practice. The spiritual disciplines are how we put in the practice, to live as Jesus in a world that desperately needs Him.
  • That is why we continue in these teachings, not because they are good ideas, but because they are how Jesus lived, and they make us more like Him. 
  • Political tensions are high. Our world is in chaos. We need people who look a lot more like Jesus. There is a sense of urgency for not just a knowledge of Jesus, but a people disciplined in His way.

Luke 5:12-16

  • What I love about the gospel is that the healing of Jesus isn’t about how he mends a wrecked body, but how he draws people to himself.
  • vs 12 we see a man desperate for Jesus.
  • We cannot proclaim God’s healing over the sick. We can wait expectantly on Him.
  • So like the man with leprosy we beg, fall on our face, and cry out to him, with complete and total faith in God who heals our sickness here and now…but all the while with his same words on our breathe “Lord, if you will”
  • If he doesn’t heal we praise Him, and if he does we praise him.
  • In this story, Jesus does heal the sickness.
  • But even with the silence that was asked for, word spreads. Now everyone wants a piece of Jesus. Imagine hundreds of people coming to you, wanting to simply touch you.
  • Then imagine this: In the face of all of these needy people, you step away. You get alone, leaving them.
  • vs. 16 says “But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.”

Silence and Solitude

  • Jesus makes sure to get alone, and if spiritual disciplines are what we do to emulate the life of Jesus, to be as he calls us to be, getting alone must matter.
  • vs. 15 says “he would withdraw.” not “he withdrew” which would connote that this was a one time occurrence, but instead it says “he would withdraw.” This was a practice that was routine.
  • In the middle of a high demand for his presence, and a ministry that only Jesus can do, he withdraws regularly.
  • Think of the things we do regularly, without compromise. What if, like Jesus, we prioritize withdrawing regularly?
  • We would start to see a life that looks a lot more like Jesus, and an intimacy with our Father that comes from that kind of prioritizing.
  • Take stock, what is taking the place of this discipline that, if we follow the example of Jesus, should be a part of our daily rhythm?
  • We can give as many excuses as we want but we don’t have more on our plates than the Savior of the world.

Desolate Place

  • A desolate place is where no one else is around, nothing is going on, it is barren.
  • Jesus is emphasizing the need for a quiet that is only found when we are in the presence of Jesus. 
  • What does a desolate place look like for us? Maybe it’s early morning, or a quiet spot in nature. Maybe it’s your room, where you intentionally create silence and solitude.
  • It looks like getting rid of extra distractions in this place. If God is trying to teach us what this discipline looks like when HE is the only focus point of our attentions? What if he wants to meet us in the silence where we are so uncomfortable and teach us to love it there? I’ll never know unless I allow myself to experience true silence.
  • When you are with your best friends, silence isn’t so awkward is it. There is a relationship built, where silence is less daunting and a place of freedom.
  • Jesus wants that with you. That your relationship could move past the point of awkward silence into a place where silence brings us peace.
  • Maybe the silence feels awkward to us, but just that it feels boring.
  • He answers us with silence, or we can’t really see what He is saying, or we try to be in the quiet for a second…and we get bored. So we decide that silence and solitude isn’t really worth it.
  • We need to get over ourselves. The one who crafted you, wants time alone with you. God meets us in silence, and he has a lot to teach us about why it is so important.
  • Just as Jesus did, get away to your desolate place. Turn off any distraction that might be in the way of God meeting us in silence in a desolate place.

Once we are there, what do we do?

  • Jesus shows us that too – he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
  • It is a time that is just us and Jesus and we bring all that our heart is feeling to him. We hear from him. Sometimes we sit in the silence, knowing that we are in the presence of a God.
  • The scriptures don’t tell us exactly what Jesus prayed in all of those spaces, but we do get to see what Jesus prayed at some times: one of those times was in John 17:20-23.
  • Jesus prays for us. In his time with God, he thought of us. He continues to pray for us, to make intercession as the scriptures say, on our behalf.
  • Just as Jesus has intimacy with the Father, He desires that intimacy with us. He came so we could experience that kind of love, that kind of connection.
  • He died and promised us a relationship with him forever. So that we could get away to desolate places and know that the God of the universe hears our every word. We get to come to Him, leaving behind the noise looking only at Him.
  • Silence and Solitude is one way we seek intimacy with God, the intimacy that he gave up everything for. It is possible for us to be with Him, now and forever.

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