Are you feeling lonely? You’re in good company! Elijah was sure that he was the only one who was still following God, as he ran from Jezebel. Noah was probably feeling like a complete failure, as over the many years while building the ark, he only managed to win over his immediate family to the LORD. Paul was left in a Roman prison with only a few visitors, and many who probably believed that he deserved to be there. If you really want to get a role model for loneliness, let’s look at our Lord Jesus, He was left without one person standing for Him as he faced a miserable, excruciating death. So the point is: being outside the crowd may be the best place for us to please God, if we are to follow the example of many of the pioneering saints in the Bible.
Now….to set the record straight….I’m not in favour of the “Lone Wolf Ministries” who go out of their way to stay isolated with a very skewed viewpoint. It seems that their identity is somehow immersed in their “strange and unique” perspective! They alone believe that everyone else is deceived, except them, and they need to travel the world correcting one and all concerning their Christian understanding. There are a lot of “Fruits, Flakes and Nuts” out there folks. Make no mistake about it….being alone in and of itself is no guarantee that your train is on the right track, and you are personally called upon to usher in the next move of God upon the earth. So let’s get back to examining the examples of the powerful saints in the Scriptures who did not choose to be isolated,….but, instead, understood that it came with the territory! Many of us have become so highly motivated to seek the ‘praise of man’, sometimes without really knowing it. When we read the Scriptures, we clearly see that there is a warning about the praise of man being a snare (Proverbs 29:25) and this tidbit of truth is hopefully, the inspiration that will turn us around, and help us to become seekers of the praise of God first and foremost. This laser beam of Biblical truth should become the catalyst to start you and I onto the path to becoming inspired to seek the praise of God above all things! Are you ready for that? If not…..the desire for the praise of man may become the stumbling block that will twist you right off the trail of being on fire for Christ, into the mushy deadness of lukewarmness in your life. Beware! You are not to go out of your way to seek this path of loneliness…..please….. it is a by-product of your choice to serve God and keep your focus upon pleasing Him, according to the evidence found in the Scriptures. The first requirement is to know the Word of God and what the Bible teaches about how to walk this walk and not just “talk the talk”! We need to be doers of the Word and not just hearers! (James 1:22)
I believe that most of you have already made the decision to follow Jesus no matter what the cost, so this concept is not new to you. I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who reminded me that most of the pioneer warriors in the Bible had only a few dedicated friends. He then reminded me that in the North American ‘church’ we often use the evidence of a large number of acquaintances or big church attendance, to be the assurance that we must be doing something right in our lives as Christians and as Christian ministers. There is a phrase that comes to mind, “There’s strength in numbers”, but then the next phrase that comes to mind is, “Misery loves company”. It is not of primary importance to accumulate lots of people around you, or to gather great multitudes into your church buildings, to prove that you are doing the “right thing”. If multitudes follow you because of your obedience, praise God! We seem to often use the yardstick of “nickels and noses” to judge our success in ministry. (ie: How much money and how many people were there?). This is hogwash and definitely has the power to lead us into steams of compromise in our lives! Jesus is calling all of us to raise the bar and live our lives as dedicated disciples of the Master, obeying the Word of God without reserve. Again……I am not suggesting for a minute that any of us move into a monastery or cloister ourselves away from other human beings. God has called us to mingle and proclaim to all the world, the greatness of God and the good news of Christ! We are called to “Be in the world but not of the world”. We are not “special because we are called”…..we are just ‘called to proclaim’ that He is “special” and that He has the answer to everything.
So…..where am I going with this? If you feel that you are isolated and alone in many of your viewpoints about the state of Christianity today….don’t worry….you are in good company. There are many pockets of people around the world who agree with you, you just haven’t met them yet! You need to find and stay connected with other people around you and on-line, who share your love of the truth, who are committed to crucifying their flesh daily, and who want to become God pleasers rather than man pleasers! We are also called to submit to authority, which is a concept that irritates many of the “Lone Wolf” ministries and drives them into rage and anger! If we can’t come under authority, we will not be given authority. All of God’s structures are organized according to this model. God is the ultimate authority, and he has placed many others in positions of authority in order to maintain peace and order throughout His creation.
Let’s get back to the “Lonely” theme that we started out with shall we? If you ‘decide’ (and you do have to make a decision) to follow Jesus, no matter what, then you need to be prepared to face the very real possibility that you may lose people around you who were once your greatest supporters. This may not be your goal. It is, as I said above, a repercussion of becoming an “on-fire, lover of the truth, no mixture, no compromise” follower of Jesus, who is focussed on the praise of God above the praise of man! Do you want to continue on the “narrow road” to the cross? Of course you do! In order to avoid undue heartache and discouragement, it is important to keep your centre of attention on the goal, of becoming obedient disciples of Christ, and weigh the cost.
If you are feeling lonely, and you don’t seem to fit into the large group mentality, do not despair! You are part of another larger group, made up of smaller groups throughout the world, who relish the things of God above the things of the world. We all need to find and stay connected with people who are hearing the same message in the Spirit. I believe that the Holy Spirit can speak to people in Canada and China, and other parts of the world, at the same time with the same message? The issue is: are we listening?
Your focus is not in becoming weird and esoteric! Your focus is on being a true lover of God above a lover of men, with all the things that this world can give you. Are you ready to be led into the desert to meet with your God? Are you ready to be stripped of your own self-confidence in favour of His eternal confidence? Are you willing to let go of your flawed personal decisions, and relinquish control to Him? Are you having a hard time believing and trusting that He has something so much better than you can ever imagine for your life? Let go and let God show you His great plans make your plans look like an infant’s first colouring book! He will surprise you at every turn, because He is the greatest Father that has ever lived, and His love for you and I surpasses anything we have ever conceived of. He tells us in James that we need to take the first step, and he will take the next! Are you ready to step out? Just tell Him that you are willing, and He will get you ready! You need to prepare to be pruned! Remember that pruning means some things and some people might be snipped off! It is all part of His glorious plan for your life! It is the reason that you were born! Get ready! Something great is about to happen! Warrior ARISE!!!
Here are a couple of songs included on this Epistle to uplift you. The first is off our first CD called “Worship Warrior” it is called “Warrior Arise”
This next song is a brand new song that came from a recent conversation with Scott Holtz, and these words came out of his mouth as he was telling me about an experience at a church a few years ago
“Remember to Run the Race
Look forward to My embrace
You were made to seek My face”
God spoke these words to him as he experienced an incredible moment with Jesus!!
Rob and Jody