In my life, I've experienced depression on a few occasions.  In those dark times, I've learned it's not a place I want to remain for long periods of time.

What I remember most about depression is how it makes a person withdraw from life.  They have little joy in the activities around them, and before long, depressed people put themselves into a self-imposed isolation

Been there--done that--don't wanta go back.

Not too long ago, I watched a TV special about a prison in California that specialized in using isolation as punishment to break the will of inmates.  Prisoners who were considered gang leaders, were sent to this prison sometimes for as long as a decade with one purpose in mind--to break these men by removing them from all human interaction.  The isolation that was imposed on the inmates was so severe, that the prison had to be closed because of pending law suits.

None of these prisoners acted on their own.  They did not willingly go to this place of isolation.  Yet, there are Christians who do just that.  They willingly choose isolation over the community of believers.

I'm not talking about any form of clinical depression.  That is something altogether different than Christians choosing to believe the lies of the enemy that they are not worthy.  They are not accepted.  They are not loved.  They don't fit in. 

Those in isolation get their relationship with the Lord all mixed up and falsely rooted in feelings.  If they aren't getting the "feelings" then God must have abandoned them.  They believe other Christians are too judgmental and don't care--so they go into a self-imposed isolation by withdrawing from the body of Christ.

When Christians isolate themselves from other believers, this act of isolation gives Satan opportunity.

In John 10:10 (LB) it says this about the enemy of our spiritual souls.

The thief's purpose is to steal, kill and destroy.  

When we choose isolation over the community of believers, we open ourselves up to the enemy whose main purpose is to destroy us by what ever means he can.  As with any predictor, when given opportunity, Satan's plan is first...isolation!

The first half of John 10:10 tells us what the master of isolation is like, while the second half of the same verse tells us what Jesus, the master of community, can do for those in isolation.

 My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.

You may be saying, "Well, what does that have to do with me?  I'm a faithful church attender.  I go to a Life Group.  I attend Wednesday night service.  Hey, if the church doors are open, I'm there! 

Well, here's what it has to do with you and me!  We are not without responsibility to those in isolation.  Hebrews 10:24 (NET) gently rebuffs us with these words.

And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works...

Has the Lord laid someone on your heart recently?  Have you noticed someone missing from your fellowship of believers?  If so, reach out!  Your act of human love may be the thing that moves that person out of isolation and back into fellowship.


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