There is a fundamental need to belong, interact and co-operate with other humans, for isolation is a potential killer as “It is not good for man to be alone” (Gen 2:18). Besides relating to other humans, we were created for fellowship with God. For those who accept His offer of salvation, the Holy Spirit comes and indwells each believer and together they become part of the worldwide redeemed family (Jn 14:23; Rom 12:5; 1 Cor 3:16, 6:19; Eph 2:19, 3:17, 4:16; 1 Jn 4:16).
Some people, because of hurts, deception, or poor relational skills, isolate themselves from others in the Christian community claiming its just ‘God and me’ that is important, yet they deprive themselves of the richness of life together, and their life will be stunted. Pictorially, their relationship with God is also suffering as the cross has two poles: one vertical signifying our relationship with God, the other horizontal depicting relationship with man. Satan wants us out of relationship with both. In contrast, the ideal is a strong connection with God that is well able to support the various human scenarios as we interact with others in our daily life that offer love,support and accountability.
We are part of the body of Christ, with the whole becoming a unit as everyone mutually contributes their abilities to the overall benefit (1 Cor 12:12-30). A person who withdraws from other believers is in danger of being distracted from the Christian pathway by Satan or falling into deception (1 Pet 5:8). A burning coal removed from the fire soon goes out while those in close contact with other glowing coals keep burning. We are exhorted not to cut ourselves off from our church family as we can’t function effectively without this interaction with friends for fellowship, support and to keep us accountable as we speaking into each other’s lives especially with advice and guidance in the important issues of life (Prov 27:17; Heb 10:24,25). However, sometimes we must make an individual stand on matters of principle and not be swayed by peer pressure or the views of other people.
Despair makes us feel isolated from God as does sin, so in times like these we need to confess our sin, cry out to God, encourage ourselves and trust in God (1 Sam 30:6; Ps 32:5, 42:5,11, 130:1,2; Isa 59:2). On the cross, Jesus cried to God, “Why have you deserted me?” (Mt 27:46). This was the only time He was spiritually separated from God and was because of the sin He was bearing, suffering on our behalf.
There needs to be the right balance between isolation and involvement
pilgrimage. We need the mutual support of likeminded people who can aid us in our time of need as we do in theirs, or to challenge and hold us accountable in Christian love (Eccl 4:9-11). As it is possible to be alone even in a crowd, take the initiative and reach out as appropriate in friendship to others. Don't wait for them to make the first move.
It is necessary to have times of separation from the busyness and chaos of life to fully connect with the source of divine life, free from the distractions that press in on us. Emerging from these times of isolation or solitude alone with God, we should rejoin the crowd to impart and bless them besides contributing to society. Thus these times of detachment are designed for a reason and a season.