The Importance of Alone Time
Regardless if you're an extrovert or an introvert, there is a time when we all need to be alone. Time by yourself is important for many reasons, and Jesus even frequently took time for himself to be alone and away from people. However, there is one important fact to consider in how Jesus spent his time alone ... with his Father.
"Yet he often withdrew to deserted places and prayed."
- Luke 5:16, CSB
As an introvert with some extroverted tendencies, I like to spend a majority of my time by myself ... especially if I'm tired or emotional. My version of time around people usually looks like conversing in small talk with the baristas at my local coffee shop and then just sitting around other people without talking for an hour or two, then I'm ready to be completely alone. However, I have to admit that the tasks I do while alone aren't necessarily beneficial to my overall health, especially spiritual. Painting, baking cookies, or piddling on my phone ... when I could be in God's word. I do always read my bible before bed, but when I read about how Jesus spent his alone time, it makes me reconsider how I should be spending mine.
While Jesus and his disciples were in one of the towns that were near Lake Gennesaret (Sea of Galilee), a man who had leprosy saw Jesus and fell to the ground and begged to be cleansed. Jesus was willing to heal the man, and so He did. Further, He gave the man strict orders to not tell anyone about the miracle and instead go to be examined by the priest. However, the man did not listen to Jesus and spread the word everywhere, resulting in large crowds following Jesus to receive healing as well. "Yet he often withdrew to deserted places and prayed" (Luke 5:16, CSB). I love this verse because it reiterates that this is not an isolated incident in which Jesus went to go be alone, it was "often". And He even though He might have been alone physically, He was not alone spiritually. He spent time with His father.
Jesus spent time alone during all different circumstances; times of grief, anxiety, and to simply rest. But, let's not forget that one of the first accounts of Jesus spending time alone was after His baptism, when the Holy Spirit leads Him into the wilderness and He was tempted by Satan. And I think this example is one that shows a stark but important contrast; time alone, as important as it is, is also the perfect setting for the enemy to attack. I know I have had to become very aware of this threat because just as in Jesus' time in the wilderness, the devil too knows scripture and can twist it just enough to cause confusion if you are not alert. Satan quoted Psalm 91:11 when he had taken Jesus to the top of the temple in Jerusalem, "He will give his angels orders concerning you, to protect you" (Luke 4:10, CSB). And as a response, "And Jesus answered him, 'It is said: Do not test the Lord your God'" (Luke 4:12, CSB). In facing the temptation to believe lies that the devil told Him, Jesus, because He had a close relationship with His Father, was able to confidently defend Himself against the attacks.
"After dismissing the crowds, he went on the mountain by himself to pray. Well into the night, he was alone."
- Matthew 14:23, CSB
Aside from the importance of how time alone can build up your faith so you can fight spiritual attacks, Jesus also simply needed time alone to recuperate. In Matthew 14 it doesn't clearly state where Jesus was, but that He went to a remote place to be alone. This is because Jesus' disciples had informed Him about the passing of John the Baptist. "When Jesus heard about it, he withdrew from there by boat to a remote place to be alone. When the crowds heard this, they followed him on foot from the towns" (Matt.14:13, CSB). So even in His grief, Jesus knew that He needed time alone, but it did not last long because many had followed Him. He had fed the crowds in this remote place, and after the miracle of feeding the five thousand, Jesus sent His disciples off in a boat to go ahead of Him. "After dismissing the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. Well into the night, he was there alone" (Matt.14:23, CSB). I can only assume what Jesus needed to work through in that time alone, but the important factor to be reminded of is that His time alone was always spent with the Father.
And so in this season that I am in, I am having to re-learn how to spend my time alone. To not just enjoy time by myself and away from others, but to also have God renew my mind and my spirit during this time as well. Pausing to just sit in silence, pray, read God's word, and to prioritize time with my heavenly Father as Jesus did. By doing this, I can be constantly reminded of the truths that I often forget or overlook; that I am wanted, loved, and heard by God. He is everything I need in order to maintain a healthy life.
So friends, what is truth? Alone time is important, even Jesus needed it. But rethink and prioritize what your time alone looks like. I encourage you that in your alone time, you will ask the Lord what truths He wants to reveal to you.
What is Truth?
Jesus needed alone time for a multitude of reasons, just like we do.
Similarly to Jesus, adjust your alone time to also include time with your heavenly Father, because He will comfort and speak to you during that time.
Stay alert and aware of your time alone, because the enemy loves to use isolation as a form of attack. But God is on your side to protect you.
Today's Scriptures: Matthew 14:12-23, Luke 4:1-13, Luke 5:12-16, CSB