Shonebarger

As a Christian leader, I often reflect on the spiritual climate of our nation and specifically, the spiritual wellness and the depth of faith of today’s Christians. I recognize that this generation has innumerable opportunities that Christians historically have not had. There is a litany of examples.

There is an endless stream of resources on the Internet. There are Bible studies, theologies and videos of church services. There are preachers teaching and preaching the Word of God. There are Christian seminaries and colleges offering accredited degrees online. The list goes on; you see my point.

Today, there seem to be churches on every street corner, especially here in the “Bible Belt.” Christians own several Bibles to read and study. There is Christian broadcasting via satellite, 24 hours a day, on TV. Nobody in our nation can claim the inability to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Opportunity is at our fingertips. Certainly, we should have the most learned, devoted and grounded believers in the history of the Church, right?

With the broad range of spiritual opportunity, how does this generation truly compare to previous generations? As a Christian leader, I consider the spiritual formation of new Christians as well as the daily practice of spiritual disciplines. The Christians in previous generations were well known for their faithfulness to the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible study, fasting, worship, fellowship and solitude. The previous generations were known for their piety and their spiritual practices. They were learned and discipled in Christ from their youth.

Of all the spiritual disciplines, solitude stands out as a potential problem for this generation of Christians. This spiritual discipline is highlighted in Psalms 46:10a, ”Be still, and know that I am God…”

The constant motion and commotion in our lives is an enemy of solitude. Our Heavenly Father calls us to a place of peace and silence, so we may commune alone with Him. The tranquility of our surroundings enables our spirit to draw close to God without the distractions of phones, computers, television, radios, family and friends.

Our spirit must yield to the Holy Spirit of God. We must seek to hear the small, still voice of God, as we meditate alone, in silence. It seems that our generation of Christians rarely takes time alone with God in solitude. This spiritual discipline is vital to our spiritual growth.

The breadth, depth and width of our union with Jesus Christ desperately depend on solitude. While many Christians boast of their Biblical knowledge, how filled with the Spirit of God are they and specifically, how deep are their wells of the Spirit of God?

Communion with the Holy Spirit, adoration of the holiness of Almighty God, prayer, confession and listening are fundamentals in our time of solitude. We must meet with God daily. We serve a risen, living Savior who longs for this precious time with His child.

How do we follow an invisible God? How do we learn the mind and heart of God? How do we hear His small still voice? How do we discern His plan for our life? How do we know what God’s will is for us, His children? The answer is found in time alone, in solitude.

I conclude that Christians nowadays may be living a shallow spiritual life. One that is barren and thirsty for the Living Waters, one that is void of depth in the Holy Spirit. Let every Christian commit to a life of intimacy with Jesus Christ through a daily schedule of solitude. Our spiritual lives will come alive with vitality and fruit. But most of all, time alone with God allows us to truly know our Lord and Savior in a way that cannot be acquired from the printed page of Scripture.

Have a great week and remember, God loves YOU!

Contact Jon at jtshonebarger@gmail.com.

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