Have you ever felt the need to get away from people? I’m not talking about the normal desire to get away from that one “uncle” every family seems to have. Nor am I talking about the need to go home after a long day’s work and get some rest. I’m talking about the desire to flee the company of God and his people. As creatures created in God’s image we are endowed with a desire to be in a relationship with God, and with other people. In the heart of every person is a desire for fellowship. But sometimes, through various circumstances, we feel the need to flee the fellowship of God and the society of his people.
That’s where the enemy of our souls wants to drive you. He wants you to be alone. He wants you to be in solitary places. And in that place he wants to convince you that you do not need God, and you do not need the fellowship of other people. It’s a lie.
In the Gospel of Luke there is an account of a man who fell under the control of a demonic spirit. About this man we read that he “was not living in a house, but in the tombs.” Further, we read that because of the evil spirit’s influence this man was “driven by the demon into the desert” (Luke 8:26-39).
There are many interesting truths in this account; but what I want to take note of here is the fact that the evil spirit drove this man from all society. We are told that he was moved to live in the tombs and he was also driven into the desert. Both of those places are marked by their absence of society. They are lonely and empty places. In this story then, we are given a clue to the enemy’s strategy against us.
The strategy set forth by the enemy is to drive God’s people into places of spiritual solitude. The general principle is to divide and conquer. We are at our weakest when we are alone. This is why the Bible encourages us to assemble together, worship together, pray together and follow Christ together. There is no such thing as Lone Ranger Christianity!
We must be on guard. In many places the Bible describes the spiritual landscape around us as a war zone. As a result we are called to put on the armor of God and fight the good fight of faith (Eph. 6:10-12; 1 Tim. 6:12). In the account of the demon possessed man we see why.
Have you ever been tempted to stay away from church and the body of Christ? Perhaps you have found yourself accusing people in the church, or just the church in general and then concluded “I don’t need to be in church to worship God.” If so, you have been deceived and driven into solitary places. Perhaps you use the excuse that you are too busy; or maybe you tell yourself that Sunday is your only day to rest. Again, you have been deceived and driven into spiritual solitude. Perhaps you go to church, but make it a point to stay away from worship and Bible study. You are at the beginning of the process of being driven away. The enemy is subtle. He wants to slowly but surely drive you away from the society of God’s people.
This is not what God wants for you. He wants you be an active part of the body of Christ. This is for your benefit. God does not want you in spiritual solitude. He loves you. He wants you to be filled with the Spirit, walking in the newness of life, strengthened by the joy of the Lord. These things happen when we encourage each other and support each other in the Lord.
Don’t be taken captive by the enemy to do his will. Flee the solitary places. Come and worship the Lord Christ, study his word and be a part of the fellowship. God loves you.
-Travis Biller, Pastor - Immanuel Baptist Church