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Joined: 2007/5/22
Posts: 319


To truly follow "hard after God" (per Tozer), it is a very lonely experience. To only want to talk of Him...while others. especially in the Church, want to talk about anything but Him- this is a difficult and lonely walk.

This experience is required I feel for true spiritual growth. It's a difficult yet wonderful experience.

Ask God in your prayers for good fellowship and God will lead you to people who can help you or whom you can help. Ultimately though He is our rock of comfort.

God Bless


 2007/8/2 3:59Profile

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4529



What a wonderful thread! There is certainly a loneliness that accompanies believers. We are strangers in this world -- with a citizenship in the coming world. As a result, we often get so homesick.

As a young believer attending public school, I often walked the halls of my school feeling like I didn't belong. Oddly, I was a very "popular" guy in school before I met the Lord. My mind was always on the Lord and "things above." My sister even bought a t-shirt for me that stated the obvious: "[i]This World is not my home[/i]." I walked daily knowing that, in a heartbeat (...or lack of a heartbeat), my journey in this world could come to an end. My life was dedicated to knowing the Lord as much as possible here (in real intimacy), and to introduce this Lord to others. Of course, this placed me at odds with the people of this world, former friends, teachers and even members of my own family. I remember the loneliness that I often felt -- even amongst some believers. As a teenager, it felt difficult to find others who "loved Jesus as much as I" did.

One day, my English teacher "forced" the class to read Bunyan's [i]Pilgrim's Progress[/i]. Since I was not familiar with the book, I thought that it might be yet another work meant to mock the things of God. But as soon as I opened the book, I was amazed to find words that described my exact feelings. The character "Christian" in this allegory expressed those same feelings of loneliness as he walked "through the wilderness of this world."

However, there is a different form of loneliness that accompanies believers who, by their conduct, alienate themselves almost entirely from this world. While they still interact with this world and the Church, they have made themselves into "virtual Amish" (in a personal sense). Some of them refuse to "get along" with anyone who disagrees with them and those things that "God showed them." Consequentually, they almost pride themselves on their self-imposed isolation, comforting themselves as being "rejected like Christ." Yet they don't recognize that this rejection is simply the result of their own personality issues.

[i]Pilgrim's Progress[/i] wonderfully illustrated that there are many "[i]Hopeful[/i]"s and "[i]Faithful[/i]"s for each "[i]Christian[/i]" -- even in the [i]Valley of the Shadow of Death[/i]. Thus, we should not wallow in our own isolation, but rejoice in our fellowship with Christ and the fraternity of believers. Remember, even in the darkest of times, God still has his remnant around the world who have "[i]not bowed their knees to Baal[/i]." It is for this reason that we should not "forsake the assembling of ourselves together" (Hebrews 10:25). I don't believe that this translates to an organized, corporate Church. Rather, this "assembling" can translate to "breaking bread" in our homes, fellowship on this forum, or simple fellowship with other believers (going fishing for fish OR men). Why? We need to ENCOURAGE one another.

I have a network of friends who encourage me as such. Some are Baptist, Pentecostal, Nazarene, Presbyterian, Methodist, Non-Denominational, Charismatic, Holiness, Independent, Home Groupers, etc... While we may not always agree on the specifics of Biblical or spiritual interpretation, we recognize one another's love of God. We don't go running around accusing one another of "deception" due to doctrinal differences, and then pity ourselves for our (unwittingly self-imposed) "isolation for Jesus." Rather, we encourage one another to continue seeking the face of the One who saved us.

With God's help, such fellowship will help relieve some of this loneliness. Besides, even when we are lonely -- we are never alone. Our Lord is a "very present help in times of trouble." Indeed, He is a good friend.



 2007/8/2 11:01Profile

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