Confession time…I have this habit of isolating myself. To me, there is nothing better than a pair of fuzzy pajamas, puppy snuggles, a mahogany teakwood candle, and a good book. Which is not a bad thing if it does not happen all the time or in moments when we actually need to be with other people.
See, God did not make us to be by ourselves. He said that even if everyone turned against us, we would never truly be alone because HE is with us. I used this as a scripture to justify myself when I isolated during times of hurt. Throughout these past couple years I have went through hurt from people I love. The very idea of unconditional love and not justified by works was foreign to me at one point. I am a very good, if not an expert at isolation. I even have a certain pair of fuzzy pajamas I lounge in. However, through the eyes of God this is not always a good thing, especially in times where we are hurting. While I do believe that solitude is a good thing and we need ALONE time with the Father to recharge, I was also shown this morning why it is so easy to withdraw in certain times of our life.
I was reading through Galatians 2. This is where Paul and some of the other disciples are having a heated discussion over circumcision. Paul is like, this is a different gospel you guys are preaching. Really these false apostles are trying to get you enslaved to the law again because the freedom we have through the blood of Jesus. It does not matter what people’s pasts are or their status quo, Jesus is not a respecter of persons… (Read Galatians 2). Then Paul comes to the point of of meeting Cephas in Antioch. Cephas aka Peter the disciple is opposed by Paul because he was living in condemnation. Yes, Peter was living from a place of condemnation rather than freedom. Why did this happen though? How could Peter get caught up in condemnation when the precious blood of Jesus has set him free?
“ For he regularly ate with the Gentiles before certain men came from James. However, when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, because he feared those from the circumcision party. Then the rest of the Jews joined his hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.” -Galatians 2:12-13 CSB
When the Gentiles came (people who were looked at as unclean in this day), Peter withdrew and separated himself because the fear he had of the Jews. Then Barnabas followed along in his hypocrisy. Yes, our decision effect more than just us. Remember, God is not respecter of people, meaning he does not show favoritism.
I believe that because Peter was fearing man rather than God he was caught up in hypocrisy. The fear he had was not of God at all. Which caused him to withdraw and isolate himself away from others. If he was around others before hand, Paul would have corrected him then. Paul corrected him in front of everyone. But I believe that this scripture holds true,
“Open rebuke is better
Than love carefully concealed.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” -Proverbs 27:5-6 NKJV
I know that it can be hard to get out of the house sometimes, especially during times of hurt. I know it is so much easier to isolate yourself rather than being open for more wounds. But what if it is not wounds you are going to receive?Thinking this way is from a place of fear. I believe that love WORTH having is vulnerable and that Jesus died for us to be healed and whole. Not only that, but you not only need people, but what God has placed inside of you people need that too.
“And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.” -Hebrews 10:24-25 CSB
When you gather together with other Jesus loving people who are passionate about living out the word of God and following his will something amazing happens. Your faith increases, your love increases, and you are encouraged and strengthened to do what God has called you to do. I know that getting out is not easy to do, it may even be exhausting. Remember, God is speaking this to me too. However, there is nothing like gathering together with fellow believers.