These past three weeks have been the longest I have ever been away from my beautiful wife. I have been traveling to Russia and South Africa in pursuit of uplifting Christian leaders, reaching the lost with the love of God and building relationships with pastors who have the same heart for God's ministry as I have. It is wonderful, fulfilling work, but I admit, even while doing what I love most—sharing the love of God all over the world—it can be easy to feel alone when I am far from home.
I know I am not the only one who grapples with these feelings. In fact, many Christian leaders face the attack of isolation every day. Left undealt with, isolation will undermine your ministry and erode your effectiveness for the kingdom.
Isolation comes in many forms. You can feel isolated physically, socially, emotionally or even spiritually. In order to isolate us, the enemy starts by encouraging thoughts and feelings of strife, anger, loneliness, hurt, rejection, hatred, unworthiness, comparison and wrath. These feelings are, in themselves, a challenge to overcome. But they are even more dangerous when they are allowed to linger, eventually causing us to withdraw from the people and relationships that can provide us with a lifeline in the midst of the enemy's assault.
The enemy wants to destroy our relationships and isolate us. He knows there is strength in Christian community, while isolation leaves us vulnerable. After all, it is so much harder to take us out of the will of God when people we love surround us than when we are alone.
This is why God does not want us to be alone. God created us to be social people! He knows that we need people in our lives, and He designed us for fellowship:
Two are better than one, because there is a good reward for their labor together. For if they fall, then one will help up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has no one to help him up. Also if two lie down together, then they will keep warm; but how can one keep warm by himself? And if someone might overpower another by himself, two together can withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken (Eccl. 4:9-12).
The best way to combat isolation is through relationships—relationships with God, our families, churches, friends and communities. It is these people, the people we interact with every day, who are often God-sent and God-placed in our lives to provide a buffer and blockade from the enemy's attempts to overcome us.
We need people in our lives to laugh with.
We need people in our lives to cry with.
We need people in our lives to help us through the hard times of life and celebrate with us in the best times.
We need people to help us carry out the will of God in our lives.
We need people in our lives that are different than we are.
We need people in our lives that believe in us.
We need people in our lives that believe with us.
Relationships are worth more than gold. As Christian leaders and pastors it is especially important to maintain healthy relationships. You cannot run a ministry on your own. You need people! Don't let the enemy rob your life through isolation.
You're beautiful! I see Jesus in you!
Mikel French has challenged spiritual awakening all across America, where many celebrations extended into multiple weeks, and has conducted celebrations in France, Sweden, Russia, Romania, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia, Germany, South Africa, Malawi, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Haiti, Japan, Singapore, India and Thailand. He conducted an outreach celebration in Manila, Philippines, reaching 200,000 teenagers with the book of hope. Through the generous support of partners, he has presented the message of Jesus Christ to millions of people in the nation of Russia through televised citywide soul-winning celebrations. Mikel considers it an honor to assist in conducting the annual pastor's conference, where thousands of pastors from Russia's 11 time zones come for training, teaching and equipping. Mikel and his wife, Marsha, reside in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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