Are you a troglodyte?

This week I’m focusing on the topic of Loneliness. Read Part 1.

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In 1 Kings 19, we find the Prophet Elijah sitting alone in a cave, feeling sorry for himself. Despite the great acts that he had just witnessed from God, Elijah was not in a good mood.

After taking part in the defeat of the prophets of Baal, and successfully praying for God to end a drought, he had fled for his life to the wilderness. Even there, miracles abounded as angels provided him food and drink.

Yet still, Elijah was depressed.

In response to God’s question of why he was hiding in a cave, Elijah said:

I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 1 Kings 19:10, emphasis mine

Elijah was lonely. He had seen the power of God displayed in multiple ways. He knew God was his provider, that God would save him from his pursuers. However, this mighty man of God felt alone.

You can tell that this is the heart of the issue by noting God’s response: He sends Elijah to anoint Elisha as a prophet in his place, providing Elijah with a companion. Additionally, He tells Elijah that there are 7,000 in Israel who have not turned to worship Baal.

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God does not intend for us to go through this life alone.

He created us to be relational, with Him and with our fellow human beings.

Hermit

recluse

solitary confinement

These words all invoke images of unnatural, unhealthy situations. If someone chooses to seclude themselves away from society, we worry about them, wonder what could be wrong.

It is in this very area that Satan frequently chooses to attack us. Marriages fall apart. Families crumble. Friendships die. Churches split. Businesses fail.

This leaves us feeling isolated, alone, rejected and misunderstood. Stranded, we become gun-shy about opening up to others.

And this is exactly Satan’s plan.

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Why does Satan care about our relationships? What does he gain by us feeling isolated and lonely?

Well, here’s what Jesus has to say about the power found in numbers:

Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heave. Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst. Matthew 18:18-20, emphasis mine

So, if Satan can get us to remain separated from others, he can decrease our effectiveness for the purposes of the God. But that’s not all.

Not only is there power in numbers, but there’s power in diversity.

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly… Romans 12:4-6, emphasis mine

We know that iron sharpens iron, and a cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. There is strength in working together, alongside others. In times of weakness others can support us, in times of strength we can support others. As much as I’d like to think I do, I don’t have the ability to do it all. We all have our own talents and giftings, things that God has given us to minister to the body with.

Satan is trying to get us to hide in our cave and focus on our fears and feeling of isolation and loneliness instead of working together as a body, supporting and encouraging one another.

Tomorrow I’ll be talking about some of the relationship killers that he uses to keep us from being in unity with one another.


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Still wondering if you’re a troglodyte? Find out here.
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12 Comments

  1. jasonS says:

    Isolation separates us from the “herd” so to speak. It’s how we get picked off. God, in all His love and grace, provided a family for us. They aren’t perfect, but it will be a blessing to us (and ultimately beneficial) to live in this covenant. Great thoughts, Melissa! Thank you.

    1. Melissa says:

      Great imagery, Jason. I never pictured it that way, but that’s totally what I was talking about. :) Thanks.

  2. Jason says:

    This is a fantastic post. Very very very very….very well done. :)

    “Satan is trying to get us to hide in our cave and focus on our fears and feeling of isolation and loneliness instead of working together as a body, supporting and encouraging one another.”

    I don’t know why but I had this thought when I read that section…are we as a “church” (generic) creating a culture where encouragement and support isn’t really there but more of a consumer mindset? The church members are there to be used for projects but not really to encourage them and challenge them to find ways God uniquely gifted them? We’re encouraged to work together but only as little more than slave labor?

    People I know who tend to be loners…usually very creative in many ways…don’t fit into the “show up and mow the church lawn” mindset for long periods of time.

    Anyway, that’s probably a rabbit trail but it’s what popped into my head. :)

    1. Melissa says:

      I definitely see that mentality in a number of churches. Especially in small churches. The staff feel so overwhelmed, and they look at the congregants as workers. I’ve even seen instances where the staff are resentful of members for not volunteering enough! And yes, we all need to help because we are the body, but I think sometimes the tasks overtake the relationships. Good rabbit trail, Jason. :) I think that’s important to look at.

  3. Haley says:

    Great reminders, Melissa! I’m so excited about this series! :-)

    1. Melissa says:

      Yay! I like to hear that. :) Thanks, Haley.

  4. Melissa says:

    As outgoing as I am, I am a hermit! I have to muster up all the energy to get up and do life with people. In the end, it has always been worth taking that step of faith no matter how hard.

    I find myself wanting to be alone when I am struggling. But it’s in those moments I need the body of Christ the most. To listen, to pray over me and encourage me.

    This was excellent and so encouraging. Thank you sweet friend!

    1. Melissa says:

      I talk about that in tomorrow’s post. :) It’s funny how similar we are. It must be our fabulous name. Haha!

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