Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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"Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled."
"All they of Asia have forsaken me."
Paul, in his letter to Timothy.
"You are blessed when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake."
Jesus, in Luke 6:22, teaching his disciples.
It seems that the very things that humans dread most and strive most earnestly to avoid are the very things that God requires for success and joy in His kingdom. We enjoy being liked and praised by others, but Jesus asked, "How can you believe, while receiving honor from one another and not seeking the honor that comes from the only God?" (Jn. 5:44). Normally, even though everyone sees death as inescapable, virtually everyone will go to great lengths and spend all they have to delay its coming; and yet, Paul told the saints in Corinth that one of the secrets of his spiritual success was that he died every day (1Cor. 15:31). To this, Paul added, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain!" (Phip. 1:21).
Perhaps the hardest trial for most is loneliness, and yet, as the Scriptures above plainly show, being ostracized from the company of men is a condition that is to be expected when true holiness is attained. "Woe unto you," said Jesus, "when all men shall speak well of you!" (Lk. 6:26). Even well-intentioned praise from others can interfere with the work of God in your life.
This is the unalterable truth to which Preacher Clark was referring when he told the little flock gathered in that old farmhouse, "God will never do much with you until all men forsake you." He, and they, had not come to that knowledge by mere study of the Scriptures. They had attained to that wisdom by experience. They were a despised, although thoroughly happy, little band of saints. They sought, and they found, the praise that comes only from God. They were content with that.
On another occasion, my father explained why it is true that we serve God best when we are cast out of men's company. He told his little congregation that the company of men interferes with God's communication with the soul. It is best for our souls when God clears from our minds the static of human conversation so that Jesus can have our undivided attention. It is not so much that people around us intend to harm us as it is that only God can do in us what needs to be done.
If you are blessed with friends in Christ, be thankful and take advantage of their faith to build your own. But do not make the mistake of provoking Him to jealousy with His gifts to your life. Take time away even from the saints to commune with your heavenly Father and for Him to feed your soul with His power, goodness, and wisdom. You need it.