Sunday, 15 June 2014

Avoid isolation

As a kid growing up, I hated having neighbours. I vowed to live all by myself when I grew older. It wasn’t that I didn’t like people, but my neighbours were often nosey. 

They were incredibly good most times, but as is usual with human relationships, they often stepped on my toes. Instead of seeing the good in them and how they looked out for me, I chose to focus on the few times they exasperated me, and wanted to become a recluse.

A story in the Bible demonstrates the dangers that occur when we choose to live all alone, not needing anyone or being needed by anyone. It is a very tragic story of a town called Laish in the book of Judges 18:7-10, 27-29. You see that town was secure and at peace, they were nice people who treated strangers kindly. But they were far from neighbouring towns, and this was their downfall.

When five spies from the tribe of Dan realised the vulnerability of the town, they marched up against it with their warriors, killed the people and occupied the place. We read in verses 27 and 28 that, 27 Then theywent on to Laish, against a people at peace and secure. They attacked them with the sword and burned down their city. 28 There was no one to rescue them because they lived a long way from Sidon and had no relationship with anyone else.”

God values relationships, in fact the very essence of Christianity is relationship with God, ourselves and others. God doesn’t want us all by ourselves, He wants us to be a blessing to others and for us to be blessed by others. We read in Proverbs 27:17 that, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” And again in Hebrews 10:24,25 it is reiterated, “and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near”

Dear friends, we are living in terrible times of great deception. Our adversary the devil is desperate to destroy as many as possible. One of his strategies is to attack weak and isolated people, just like a lion attacks the weak animals or those who are isolated from a herd. 

You will rarely see lions confront the whole herd, because it knows they will pull together and save the one being attacked . The Bible says it nicely in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

I know that forming relationships can expose us to hurts and disappointments even among Christians, but it helps to remember that no one is perfect and to be forgiving. Look out for the welfare of others and accept correction or criticism from others as a show of love and support. Pray regularly for others, be patient with their mistakes, knowing that you too have your weaknesses. Remember that you cannot claim to love God, who you cannot see, if you don’t love your brothers and sisters whom you see. To know the attributes of love, you might want to read 1 Corinthians 13.

Also study the Bible regularly as a source of knowledge and revelation of God’s mind towards you, listen to sermons online from other sources other than your church. Let God be your constant companion, pray as often as possible, be thirsty and hungry for God. 

All in all, develop your relationship with God and others, so that you can resist the attacks that are bound to come. Whether we like it or not, we are in a battlefield, a spiritual one. Depression, panic attacks, fears, persistent sin, indulging our weaknesses, etc are some of the ways we can succumb to the attacks of the enemy and be destroyed. 

The devil is is our persistent enemy and will never stop his attacks, but we can overcome him if we will develop our relationships with God and with other like-minded Christians. Don’t make the mistake of Laish, do not stay isolated.

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