No “Off the Grid” In God’s Kingdom

A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment. – Proverbs 18:1.

For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free–and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. – 1 Corinthians 12:12-20.

This is bound to breed a little controversy and I didn’t start out that way. In fact, it would have been even more controversial if I had put the title I first wanted, “There Will Be No Hermits In God’s Kingdom.”

In all honesty, the concept or idea came to me the other day after prayer when I was meditating on a couple of portions of the Word. I thought at first it might have been due to some television shows touting the romance of living “off the grid” like so many people seem to be trying to do. There are a lot of Discovery Channel shows and National Geographic shows that depict those that are living off by themselves (for the most part) and they all have a tendency to brag, yes brag, about their self-sufficiency and willingness to suffer at any cost to not be tied down by society.

The fact is, my wife and I haven’t watched any of those shows in a long time, but I did run across that Scripture found in Proverbs 18:1 and after checking it out in various Bible versions and looking at a couple of commentaries, I finally “bit the bullet” and pulled up one of my Hebrew English Lexicons and decided to check out the original term for the New King James Version word for isolates. Now you have to understand that checking out word meanings and usages still demands that you apply the context with which they were put into place or translated.

pd proverbs 18_1

It literally means to: divide, as in to separate one from another. It can be used to indicate a river branching off of a main course, or it could me the same as when Lot, the nephew of Abram (Abraham) separated himself from his kinsman and chose the well-watered land of the Jordan.

Actually there is a whole lot of meaning in that original word meaning to divide, be separated, apart from, etc. The gist of Proverbs 18:1 though makes itself pretty clear and straightforward. Those who isolate themselves from others, do so usually out of selfish desires and it usually, if not always demonstrates poor judgment.

Now to steer your thinking back to the term or title, Hermit, which I was going to use. I did some study on that term and it is often used to denote those who go into voluntary solitary isolation for the sake of religious observances such as prayer, fasting and so on. In fact here is a list of synonyms that are associated with the actual word hermit; recluse · solitary · loner · ascetic · anchorite · anchoress · eremite · stylite.

This lifestyle is mainly associated with monastic style living and to be honest, I knew this could open up a whole “can of worms” as it were. Most of those recognized as “Christian” hermits are in secular encyclopedias, Catholic and Orthodox History, (Some Jewish traditions do mention hermits), and I’m sorry if it offends, but I won’t go into what I call tainted or suspicious history of the early church at this time. That is a lesson for a much different time. Let’s concentrate on the point of the lesson.

To get back on point concerning the solitary or isolated lifestyle so enamored by many, it is no where advocated in the Scriptures except in the very limited reference to “getting away for a time for prayer and/or fasting,” and that is usually in reference to marriage (1 Corinthians 7:5). It in no way indicates a voluntary isolation from society as a whole.

The whole trouble with living a life away from others, in complete isolation is not the fact that you can pray in a more focused way; rather, the problem is that if you are truly praying and seeking God (true prayer is two-way communion), then He is bound to give you instruction concerning ways to demonstrate love toward your fellow man and you can’t demonstrate Godly love if you have isolated yourself and withdrawn from the very ones who would benefit from that service!

pd two way prayer

You might think you are getting closer to God, (and I’m not say you wouldn’t) but God created each of us for a purpose according to His will and I’m sure the closer you would get to Him, the more you would want to be around more of His creation. Yes, getting closer and more intimate with Him is extremely important and even more so IF we mature as Christians. But that same intimacy has a tendency to create in us a more Christ-like nature and that nature yearns to be of service and help to others in an unselfish way. You can’t accomplish that if you are a loner and isolated.

The other thing about isolating yourself in such a way is that the Bible attributes that tendency to selfishness and selfishness is exactly opposite of Godly love. You just cannot have both. Again, as Jesus stated when speaking of two masters (yes He was speaking about love of money, but He was stating a spiritual principle as well – See James 4:4), you can’t serve two masters. It’s either God, or self, not both.

The other thing that stands out against that concept as being in God’s will for a person, is that when you accept Christ Jesus into your life and you surrender your life and will to Him, He sends to dwell within each of us the Holy Spirit that He promised. The Holy Spirit is the manifestation of Him and the Father for the Father is Spirit. Jesus knew that in the body, He could walk with His disciples and guide them and teach them, but only so far as limited by getting close to each. However, by sending His Spirit, He can be a part of everyone that becomes His disciple and dwell with them all the time! This was always part of the Father’s plan. It is a part of our redemption and it is an amazing and miraculous part of abiding in Christ.

The thing is, when that happens, you are a new creation as the Apostle Paul stated. We become a part of the overall, whole Body of Christ with Jesus as the Head, that which directs us and motivates and leads us. We are individually members with certain gifts as Paul wrote in the verses above, but we are ALL a part of the Body, that is IF, if we have accepted and surrendered to Christ. You can’t be a part of the Body, if you choose to be a loner. It would be the same thing as if you were to amputate your hand and leave it on your desk. Yes, it’s still your hand, but it isn’t any good for anything AND it doesn’t and can’t get any “signals” or instructions from the head! There is no spiritual gift that relies on solitary existence, at least not a voluntary one.

pd needing one another

I guess what I really wanted to convey is that we so need one another. If you are truly a Christian, a follower and disciple of Jesus and you are striving to be more and more like Him everyday, you desire fellowship and the company of your Brothers and Sisters. The truth is that when we accepted Christ as Savior and Redeemer, we did just need Christ Jesus, we needed Christ in one another!

Remember what Jesus commanded the disciples around Him? Go out and make more disciples of Christ. Jesus was telling them to gather in brothers and sisters and teach them to gather in brothers and sisters and so on. Remember when Jesus told Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew to “follow Him and He was going to make them fishers of men.”? (Matthew 4:19). I don’t believe that mission has really ended. Jesus told them to continue that same thing in others when He told them to make disciples.

So you see, there just can’t be any loners in God’s Kingdom. The only ones that will be “off the grid” when it comes to eternity, are going to be those who have rejected God and chose NOT to follow after Him and His plans.

*Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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2 Responses to No “Off the Grid” In God’s Kingdom

  1. Great teaching, Roland! As I read this I thought of two things. One was a play my daughter and I saw a couple of days ago, “The Great Divorce,” a dramatic presentation of the book by C. S. Lewis. In the story, hell is a place constantly expanding. As new souls come in, they find they can’t get along with their neighbors, so they move to the outskirts to live alone. In this dream Hell is a kingdom of loners.
    The other thing I thought of was the movie “Sister Act,” where Whoopie Goldberg plays a witness to a murder being protected by joining a monastery, disguised as a nun. The monastic life is not for her, and her trying to adjust is a source of much of the humor. The uplifting scene is where she has obviously influenced the nuns and gotten them to venture outside the walls of the convent and get involved in the community. It shows them interacting with the street kids, cleaning up the neighborhood, etc. I’m not Catholic, but I loved that movie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I’ve just gotten C.S. Lewis’ book on my Logos Software, haven’t read it yet though I love his writings. Also, I’ve seen Sister Act one and two long ago and thought it was hilarious. That’s when Whoopi was funny and yes I enjoyed some of her movies. Today, all I can say is I pray for her. Thanks for the response. I was a bit hesitant posting it at first, but the Lord knows how to NUDGE! 😉 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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