“And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.”
People are social by nature — most people like being around other people and truly hate it when they have to be alone. As I write this devotional, the coronavirus has caused many nations to quarantine people and establish social spacing guidelines. For a little bit of time, being away from people doesn’t bother most, but one thing I have learned is that people enjoy being around people, and the social spacing sounds good, but it is rarely heeded.
However, getting apart from people is important at times for your spirituality and your relationship with God. Jesus said to the disciples in the verse above, “Come ye yourselves apart…” The word “apart” means to separate or distance yourself from others. Jesus knew that the disciples had been thronged and were getting tired, and He knew that they needed some time alone to be refreshed. When I look at the word “apart,” I find the Scriptures tell us several times when we need to go apart.
First, you need to come apart to fight sin. James 1:21 says, “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” You must distance yourself from those who would cause you to do wrong. One of the greatest mistakes in fighting sin is that people don’t want to leave the old crowd that commits the sin with which they struggle. You will never overcome sin until you come apart from the crowd that does your sin.
Second, you need to come apart to rest. The verse above shows that Jesus knew the importance of getting alone to rest. Everybody needs rest at times, and you cannot have rest and refresh your body and mind by being with people. I am for working, but there will come times when you need to come apart to be refreshed so that you can do more for the LORD.
Third, you need to come apart to be taught. Matthew 17:19 says, “Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?” There are times when you must distance yourself from others so that you can learn what you need for the future. The best studying is done when you are apart from others so that the noise of life is silenced and the mind can absorb the most.
Fourth, you need to come apart to build a relationship with God. Matthew 17:1 says, “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,” The disciples would have never seen Jesus transfigured had they not come apart, and you will never see Jesus in the right light until you come apart and spend time with Him. You NEED time alone in God’s Word so that He can better reveal His Word to you. God’s Word speaks the loudest when you come apart from the world to get alone with God so He can speak to you.
Fifth, you need to come apart to pray. Matthew 14:23 says about Jesus, “And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray…” You will never have a productive prayer life until you shut everything down and come apart to pray. The best prayer time is when you are alone. Shut down the world and its devices and get alone with God so your prayer life can become productive.