April 13

Isolating

Proverbs 18:1 Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.

This scripture can be read two ways, and both are true. The one who self-isolates does so because he is seeking his own desire to be alone over the desire of the Lord for him to enjoy connection and fellowship. And, in a more general sense, the person who pulls back from others when he should be doing the opposite is being selfish and doing so to pursue selfish goals.

We live in a dangerous culture today in regard to isolation. It’s far too easy to be isolated and not realize it. It’s also too easy to isolate and get away with it. There are all kinds of electronic devices that provide the illusion of connection behind the entertainment, and social media can allow us to isolate and seem (or even feel) connected at the same time.

We were created by God to need people, and connect with them regularly. The 150+ “one anothers” in the New Testament are unable to be obeyed if we isolate. How can we prefer one another, love one another, or carry one another’s burdens if we withdraw? How can the spiritual gifts of God flow to the edification of the body if we don’t show up? How can we be a blessing to others if we don’t avail ourselves of human contact? Or conversely, you may well be waiting on God for an answer that He intends to bring through a human being.

Take another look at the New Testament. There are no books to the isolated, or the hermit, or the one who has just been too hurt by the Church to ever get involved again. The New Testament was written to and for believers living in community.

Isolating is dangerous, and is a common trap to those looking to escape from any kind of addiction. People in recovery know it’s a trap. But we’re all in recovery from the effects of sin, and isolating is a trap for us all.

Proverbs 18:1 also points to the negative consequences of isolating. Something terrible ends up happening: the one who isolates comes to strongly resist ”sound judgment. “ That could include wisdom, understanding, discernment, correction, or just clear thinking. “Breaks out against” is a strong term. And breaking out against sound judgment will continue to feed the monster, because the railing against sound judgment will give the isolator continued “proof” that he is right to remain alone.

If you are an isolator, take a good hard look at the consequences of isolating, and start looking at all the “each other” and “one another” scriptures in the New Testament. Then starve the monster by going to church or fellowship when you least want to. Go knowing that God is with you and will work on your behalf. He’ll have His hand in yours the whole time.

Prayer: Father, I recognize that You want Your people to be together, work things out together, and enjoy one another. Forgive me for the times I isolate. Draw me close to Yourself when I’m tempted, and remind me of the blessing of Psalm 133.

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