1. To the persecuted church in Smyrna, Jesus had His servant John write
"Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life."
2. This promise certainly demonstrates the importance of believing in
a. For the "crown of life" is a figure for the gift of eternal life
that Jesus offers
b. And if we wish to receive this "crown", we must remain faithful!
3. But the rewards of faith in Jesus are not limited to "the
a. There can be victories to be enjoyed even in this life - 1 Jn 5:
b. In this series we have noticed how faith in Jesus helps us to
overcome such things as:
1) Sin 5) Despair
2) Anxiety 6) Discontent
3) Boredom 7) Fear
4) Depression 8) Grief
4. I wish to provide one more example of
how faith in Jesus helps us in overcoming the world with its many
a. I am referring to the problem of "loneliness"
b. It is has been said that "Loneliness and the feeling of being
uncared for and unwanted are the greatest poverty" (Teresa of
c. A Jewish proverb states that "Loneliness eats into the soul"; it
can also have an adverse effect on the body
[As we shall see, faith in Jesus can help us overcome the problem of
loneliness; but let's begin as before by seeking to better understand
the problem we face...]
I. UNDERSTANDING LONELINESS
A. LONELINESS IS NOT THE SAME AS SOLITUDE...
1. Solitude describes a situation where one is alone by CHOICE
a. To reflect, meditate, or simply enjoy solitary activites
such as writing, drawing, reading, etc.
b. Every one needs some solitude from time to time
2. Loneliness is a feeling of dissatisfaction with the quality
and/or quantity of one's relationships with other people; it
can be broken down into two types
a. Social loneliness - as when a person goes to college or
takes a job in a new town and are isolated from friends and
b. Emotional loneliness - when we feel that we have no one
to talk to, no one who understands our deepest concerns and
3. Other comparisons between loneliness and solitude:
a. Where solitude enriches and energizes, loneliness detracts
b. Solitude can build a desire to involve one's self with
1) Loneliness often robs one of any such motivation
2) Loneliness can provoke a vicious cycle of despair so
that the sufferer shys away from social contact and
support needed to overcome
c. Perhaps this why it has been said: "Loneliness and solitude
are quite different. One is defeat--the other victory."
-- The above notes were taken mostly from the General Loneliness
FAQ of the soc.support.loneliness newsgroup
B. HOW PEOPLE REACT TO LONELINESS...
1. Active solitude
a. Becoming engrossed in some activity that we enjoy and which
enriches our lives
b. Such as listening to music, reading, exercising
c. This is a postive reaction to loneliness
2. Social action
a. Such as calling or visiting a friend or relative; helping
someone less fortunate
b. It is a deliberate action that breaks the isolation and
involves us with others
c. This too is a positive reaction to loneliness
a. Doing something to take our minds off our sense of
b. Such as going for a drive, or going shopping
c. This is a more neutral reaction, and really only a
4. Sad passivity
a. This is where one continues to feel badly and does nothing
to positively impact the problem
b. This can lead to a downward spiral of depression, and often
includes sleeping too much, overeating and self-medicating
c. This, of course, is a negative reaction to loneliness
-- The notes in this section come from an article by Rona
Subotnik, M.F.C.C., who refers to a book called "In Search of
Intimacy", by Rubenstein and Shaver
C. CHRISTIANS NEED TO RESPOND POSITIVELY TO LONELINESS...
1. For being lonely may be a sympton of a more serious problem
a. "Loneliness is being unaware of the One who is with us
b. "Many Christians suffer from loneliness because they are
sitting instead of serving."
-- Croft M. Pentz, The Complete Book of Zingers
2. When one walks with God, they are never truly alone - cf. Jn
a. "The soul that has been enriched by communion with God
will not be dismayed by isolation but will welcome
solitude. He will seek not the crowd but the closet, and
emerging will never walk alone, for he has unseen
companionship." (Frances J. Roberts)
b. "The soul that is growing in holiness is the least lonely
when it is most alone." (F. Andrew)
-- Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the
[When one suffers from loneliness, it is an indication that their
relationship with God and others may need some work. There is no one
better qualified to help us in that regard than Jesus Christ...]
II. HOW FAITH IN JESUS OVERCOMES LONELINESS
A. JESUS RECONCILES US BACK TO GOD...
1. Paul explained that Jesus' ministry was one of reconciliation
- 2 Co 5:18-20
2. Jesus offered Himself as the only way to God - Jn 14:6
3. When we keep Jesus' commandments, we are assured of the
abiding presence of both the Father and the Son - Jn 14:21,23
-- Through faith in Jesus, we can be reconciled to God and
thereby never truly be alone!
B. JESUS ADDS US TO HIS FAMILY...
1. We read where Jesus added people to the church - Ac 2:47 (KJV,
2. This "church" is also described as God's house, or family
- 1 Ti 3:15; cf. 5:1-2
3. Indeed, Jesus told Peter what His disciples would enjoy in
this lifetime, which I understand to be a reference to His
church - cf. Mk 10:28-30
-- Through faith in Jesus, we are born into a spiritual family
where we should never be alone
C. JESUS' WOULD HAVE US RESPOND POSITIVELY TO LONELINESS...
1. He teaches us to pray, which builds companionship with God
a. To pray always, and never lose heart - Lk 18:1
b. To pray to our Father in secret, where you are one on one
with Him - Mt 6:5-6
2. He teaches us to serve, which builds companionship with others
- Mt 20:25-28
a. One cannot be alone when they are busy serving others!
b. Remember, "Many Christians suffer from loneliness because
they are sitting instead of serving."
-- Through faithful obedience to Jesus, we will establish and
nourish relationships whereby we will never be alone!
1. Just as Jesus knew He was never alone (Jn 16:32), so Paul
experienced the reassuring presence of God...
a. At a time when others had forsaken him - 2 Ti 4:16-17
b. Which gave him hope for the future - 2 Ti 4:18
2. As Christians, we are promised never to be left alone...
a. "...and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
- Mt 28:20
b. "For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake
you.' So we may boldly say: 'The Lord is my helper; I will not
fear. What can man do to me?'" - He 13:5-6
Add to such wonderful promises the blessings of being a part of God's
family, the church, and truly we should be able to say to overcoming
loneliness, and to overcoming any problem we face:
"Faith Is The Victory!"
from OVERCOMING LONELINESS
, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, '97
More Scriptures on loneliness
Following the links below will take you straight to the Bible text:
Proverbs 18:24 -A friend closer than a brother.
Jeremiah 17:14-17 -Refuge in the day of disaster.
John 14:1-6 -Let not your heart be troubled.
John 14:26:28 -The Spirit's comfort.
John 16:1-16 -Why you are not alone.
Dr. Trudy Veerman. Webmaster
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