While there has rightly been much emphasis in recent years on the community of God’s people being the focus of the Bible rather simply the individual there is always a danger that we make our spiritual life merely a function of being with other people. Simply put this means that we only ever pray or think about God when we go to church or some other event. This can lead to a form of hypocrisy where all our religion becomes a performance for others to see and is bereft of personal engagement.
CH Spurgeon asks an interesting question on this very subject:Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word.
Closet here simply means the private place where we go to read and pray. His reasoning is that where there is a lack of personal, private, secret engagement with God, then there is either slow progress or no progress. This seems to be confirmed both in the experiences of God’s people in the Bible (think of Daniel and the Psalms) and in the lifestyle of Jesus himself who took time to be away from others so he could pray.
Perhaps it’s time to reorder our private world so that we can shut the door to the noise and take the time make our souls happy in God.