In our earlier posts, we had talked about what is solitude, inner and outer solitude. Today we will be looking at what makes it hard for a believer to find his or her way into solitude.
As we have said, inner solitude is gained when the Spirit of Christ has been allowed to dwell peacefully in our heart (Eph. 3:16-17), hence, when there is nothing in our heart to grieve God. The hindrances to solitude then are those things that grieve God within us, and therefore would keep us from prayer. There are many things that would grieve God, sin is sin, there is no greater sin than the other but we will talk about four things in particular: the sins of lust, the sins of anger, the sins of pride and selfishness, and the entanglements of this world.
The sins of lust. What I am referring to here are all those sins that are sexual in nature—immorality, impurity, and lust. I believe God is especially grieved by these kinds of sins. They are a perversion of His most precious and intimate gift. Furthermore, they are extremely damaging to our relationship with God and others, and they corrupt us to the deepest level of our being. The root of these kinds of sins (Eph. 4:19) seems to be the hardening of the heart toward God, to the point where there is no sensitivity toward Him and others. One who has developed this hard, rebel heart has blocked out God and has decided to get his needs for intimacy met on his own terms and in his own way. The result of this kind of sin, for a believer, is that there is great turmoil in the soul— for he seeks pleasure in the flesh, and at the same time, in his spirit, he hates what he does (Rom. 7:15). Wherever he goes and whatever he does to find solitude, if he does not confess his sin and get right with God there will be war against his soul (1 Pet. 2:11). I have found myself in this bondage and it takes only God do deliver one from the last of the flesh, an individual’s effort will only result to futility.
The sins of anger. Anger is one of those sins that invites many other sins to come along with it. I think the angrier we get and the longer we continue being angry the more sins we seem to attract to ourselves. So what I am speaking of here as the sins of anger is not only anger itself, but all those sins that go along with it, such as quarreling, jealousy, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder (2 Cor. 12:20), also bitterness, malice, unforgiveness (Eph. 4:31), and filthy language (Col. 3:8). I would say that anger is the sin that keeps these other sins together and strengthens them; and in turn they work to strengthen anger. Together they work in harmony (or perhaps in disharmony) as a choir, not to sing but to yell and curse and cause discord. These sins are a great hindrance to finding inner solitude—for God is greatly grieved by them, and therefore, it is impossible to pray and commune with Him. As to prayer, we cannot pray if we are angry with a brother, because when we are angry our hands are not holy, they are bloody from the hatred we feel in our heart for another; thus anger prevents us from “lifting up holy hands in prayer” (1 Tim. 2:8, NIV).
[Anger] can never suffer a man to be in a disposition to pray. For prayer is the peace of our spirit, the stillness of our thoughts, the evenness of recollection, the seat of meditation, the rest of our cares, and the calm of our tempest;
The sins of pride and selfishness. Pride and selfishness, I would say, are sort of the same. To be prideful is to be arrogant, rude, haughty, and disdainful. Selfishness, it seems, is the root of pride. It means to think only of yourself, or at least to think more of yourself than others. One who is selfish and prideful is one who is always thinking of his own status and importance and reputation and happiness—without regard to others. He is also one who thinks others should serve Him, but he doesn’t really care to serve them (Phil. 2:2-8). It causes one to forget God, His goodness and from receiving God’s grace
When God causes men to prosper, their heart often becomes proud with all they have. In their pride they forget the one who gave it to them.
The entanglements of this world. What I am speaking of here are all the things of this world that tend to entangle us and entrap us so that we have no time for God. What is it in your life today that has replaced God’s position in your life?
The world has much to offer that may rob us our focus towards God. If we are in a position to be true to ourselves and allow God deliver us from the above then we can have a fruitful solitude moment.