Developing A Personal Spiritual Growth Plan-Silence & Solitude

myplan

Silence and solitude aren’t really things we think about as disciplines that will help us grow in Christ-likeness. Part of the reason for this is that we live in a very noisy world. Think about how often in our normal days that we experience a time of silence and solitude. For most of us, that’s not very often. We have radio’s, TV’s, Ipods, smart phones, tablets and computers that make noise. Even if they aren’t actually making audio noise, they are making mental noise.

Silence and solitude are so rare for most of us that we almost have an aversion to it. Let’s say you’re in a car, office or somewhere with someone and then suddenly no one is talking. What do we call that? We call it an awkward silence.  Despite the fact silence and solitude is pretty foreign to our culture there are good reasons to practice this discipline.

To Follow Jesus’ Example.  “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Matthew 4:1 (NKJV)  “And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.” Matthew 14:23 (NKJV)  “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.” Mark 1:35 (NKJV) Jesus made it a point to have a regular time of silence and solitude so He could be alone with the Father.

To Hear The Voice Of God Better. There are many Biblical examples of people getting away from earthly noise so they could better hear from God. Elijah going to Mount Horeb where he heard God speak in a still small voice (1 Kings 19:11-13). Habakkuk going to the guard tower and keeping watch so he could hear what God would say to him (Habakkuk 2:1). The Apostle Paul going into Arabia after his conversion so he could be alone with God (Galatians 1:17). This is especially important when we are seeking God’s will about something. Jesus spent time in silence and solitude when He was seeking God’s will about who to choose as the twelve He would make apostles (Luke 6:12-13). The noise of our world can, and likely will, distract us and keep us from hearing from God.

 To Learn To Tame The Tongue. Learning/choosing to be silent for a period of time can help us learn to control our tongue all the time. The Bible has much to say about the way we speak.

An uncontrolled tongue demonstrates our religion is useless (James 1:26).

Even a fool can be thought wise if he keeps silent (Proverbs 17:28).

The words we speak come from the overflow of our hearts (Matthew 12:34-35).

We will give an account for the words we speak (Matthew 12:35-36).

Those who can be self-controlled in speaking can be self-controlled in every other area of life (James 3:2).

How can the Disciplines of silence and solitude teach tongue control? On a long fast you discover that much of the food you normally eat is really unnecessary. When you practice silence and solitude, you find you don’t need to say many things you think you need to say. In silence we learn to rely more on God’s control in situations where we would normally feel compelled to speak, or to speak too much. We find out  that He is able to manage situations in which we once thought our input was indispensable The skills of observation and listening are also sharpened in those who practice silence and solitude so that when they do speak there’s more of a freshness and depth to their words.” (Donald S. Whitney Spiritual Disciplines For The Christian Life)

My commitment regarding silence & solitude:

Here are some tips to ensure that your commitment is truly a commitment that helps you grow in godliness.

Your commitment should be specific. Specific commitments are always better than general commitments. To make commitments specific, they must explain exactly what is expected.

Your commitment should be measurable. The idea here is that if a commitment is not measurable, it is not possible to know whether you are making progress toward successful completion. Measuring progress is supposed to help you stay on track and keep your commitment.

Your commitment should be attainable. This stresses the importance of commitments that are realistic and attainable. While an attainable commitment should stretch you in order to achieve it, the commitment is not extreme. The commitment should be challenging but attainable. In the end, unattainable commitment will discourage you and keep you from keeping your commitment.

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