044 – Silence & Solitude – Spiritual Disciplines Series

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“There is something both appealing and transforming about silence and solitude. Other than Jesus Christ, perhaps the greatest men under each Covenant – Moses and the Apostle Paul – were both transformed through years of virtual isolation in a remote wilderness.” -Donald Whitney

Silence & Solitude

We live in a culture that renders silence and solitude a near impossibility. Yet the Bible is replete with examples of great men of God, including Jesus, that needed times of silence and solitude to reconnect with God the Father. If those great men needed silence and solitude, so do we.

In today’s podcast episode I will continue the book review series of Spiritual Disciplines For The Christian Life by Donald Whitney. As a result of overwhelming response to my 2014 reader survey, I want to focus on the challenges of personal spiritual growth. Literally, 100% of those that participated in my readers survey selected personal spiritual growth as a challenge in their life. With that, I’m diving into a very influential book that offers practical application.

Spiritual Disciplines For The Christian Life by Donald Whitney has been powerfully impactful on my personal spiritual growth. I’m convinced it will help you as well. I encourage you to get a copy, read it, and begin to discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness (1 Timothy 4:7).

Book Notes:

  • “There is something both appealing and transforming about silence and solitude. Other than Jesus Christ, perhaps the greatest men under each Covenant – Moses and the Apostle Paul – were both transformed through years of virtual isolation in a remote wilderness.”
  • “Just as we must engage with others for some of the Disciplines of the Christian life, so there are times when we must temporarily withdraw into the Disciplines of silence and solitude.”
  • Explanation of silence and solitude
    • “The Disciplines of silence is the voluntary and temporary abstention from speaking so that certain spiritual goals might be sought.”
    • “Solitude is the Spiritual Discipline of voluntary and temporary withdrawing to privacy for spiritual purposes.”
  • Valuable reasons for silence and solitude
    • Follow Jesus’ Example
      • Matthew 4:1 – Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness…
      • Matthew 14:23 – After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray
      • Mark 1:35 – Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
      • Luke 4:42 – At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place…
    • To Hear the Voice of God Better
      • “One of the more obvious reasons for getting away from earthly noise and human voices is to hear the Voice from Heaven better.”
      • “There are times to eliminate the voices of the world in order to hear undistracted the Voice of God.”
      • “Wherever it is, we need to find a place to be alone to hear the voice of Him whose presence is unseen yet more real than any other.”
      • “I believe the convenience of sound has contributed to the spiritual shallowness of contemporary western Christianity.”
      • “Because we are the most urban, noise-polluted generation ever, we have an unprecedented need to learn the Discipline of silence and solitude.”
    • To Express Worship to God
      • “Sometimes worship consists of a God-focused stillness and hush.”
      • “Worshipping God in silence may occur because your heart is so full that words cannot express your love for Him.”
    • To Express Faith in God
      • “The simple act of silence before the Lord, as opposed to coming to Him in a wordy fret, can be a demonstration of faith in Him.”
      • Psalm 62:1-2 – My soul waits in silence for God only…
      • Psalm 62:5-6 – My soul waits in silence for God only…
      • Isaiah 30:15 – This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.’
    • To Seek Salvation of the Lord
      • “A time of silence and solitude to seek the salvation of the Lord can refer either to a nonChristian seeking salvation from sin and quilt in Christ or to a believer seeking God’s salvation from certain circumstances.”
      • Lamentations 3:25-28 – The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the now who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young. Let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him.
    • To Be Physically and Spiritually Restored
      • “Everyone has a regular need for restoring the resources of both the inward and outward person.”
      • Mark 6:31 – Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest
      • “We all need times to unstring the bow of our routine stresses and enjoy the restoration that silence and solitude can provide for our body and soul.”
    • To Regain a Spiritual Perspective
      • “There’s no better way to step back and get a more balanced, less worldly perspective on matters than through the Disciplines of silence and solitude.”
    • To Seek the Will of God
      • “Perhaps one of the most common reasons believers have a time of silence and solitude with God, at least on occasion, is to discern His will about a matter.”
      • “God often makes His will clear to us in public, but there are times when He discloses it only in private. To discover it requires the Disciplines of silence and solitude.”
    • To Learn Control of the Tongue
      • “Learning to keep silent for extended periods of time can help us control our tongues all the time.”
      • Proverbs 17:27-28 – A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.
      • James 1:19 – My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
  • Suggestions for Silence and Solitude
    • “Minute Retreats”
      • “I encourage you to find ways to turn the routine into the holy, to find those ‘minute retreats’ that can punctuate and empower even the busiest days.”
      • “Of course, the key is not just taking a breath and settling down, as important as that is. What I’m advocating is looking to Christ and listening to His Spirit.”
    • A Goal of Daily Silence and Solitude
      • “Without exception, the men and women I have known who make the most rapid, consistent, and evident growth in Christlikeness have been those who develop a daily time of being alone with God.”
      • “This daily devotional habit is not easy to develop because we lead busy lives and have an Enemy aware of the stakes involved.”
    • Getting Away for Silence and Solitude
      • “Getting away for an extended time of silence and solitude may be nothing more than finding an empty room in your church in which to spend an afternoon, an evening, or a Saturday. Or it may involve spending a night or a weekend at a retreat center, lodge, or cabin.”
    • Special Places
      • “Locate special places that can be used for silence and solitude.”
    • Trade Off Daily Responsibilities
      • “Arrange a trade-off system of daily responsibilities with your spouse, or a friend when necessary, in order to have the freedom for extended times of silence and solitude.”
  • More Application
    • “Will you seek daily times of silence and solitude?”
    • “Will you seek extended times of silence and solitude?”
    • “Will you start now?”

Links to resources mentioned in today’s podcasts:

Disciplines

Spiritual Disciplines For The Christian Life

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