In churchy circles, we hear a lot of talk about “The Secret Place.” The phrase comes from various parts in the Bible where the authors wrote about the deep, quiet places where God spoke to people, revealed plans, imparted rest or protected them from enemies.
You are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble… (Psalm 32:7)
And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness — secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name…(Isaiah 45:3)
(Jesus retreated often to places of solitude, to be with His Father) As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. (Matthew 14:13)
In our fast paced, social media-infatuated world, there is no substitute for spending time alone with God. We have to be with Him to find out who we are and what we are made for. It is not enough to live parasitically off someone else’s relationship with God. No one else can do this for us.
I’ve noticed a dramatic difference in people who have invested time with Jesus. There is a humility, a hidden quiet confidence, a knowing of God’s heart, a settledness radiating from them.
A year and a half ago I was invited to a small group seminar led by a woman, a guest speaker who had flown in from another state. I introduced myself quickly as we all grabbed some coffee and a snack, then sat down to listen. I attended, not knowing what the topic was about or knowing the others in the group, but knew I was supposed to be there.
As soon as she started talking, something new and weird hit me. Five minutes into her talk, I just knew strongly This Is Jesus Speaking. We sat in a normal physical room but it felt like flashing lights, fireworks and confetti in my brain. She spoke for 8 hours that day using no written notes; I was transfixed. I would have missed precious seconds of information if I had even tried to take my own notes, so I just sat and stared with my mouth hanging open.
I drove home thinking what just happened all day? Since then I’ve recognized this in other people. Their words come from the Spirit — they are weighty, full of power and wisdom that is otherworldly – often only recognizable to those who stay close to God’s heart. To those who don’t, it seems like frufru words, like absurdity.
We do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. (1 Corinthians 2:13-14)
When a person is in close relationship with God, and in purity allows Him to speak through them to others who are also in that same type of relationship, we can learn something life changing – in an instant – that normally would take years to learn and incorporate. When human time and space is removed out of the equation our spirits can take in something much more quickly and live it out immediately because our spirits recognize the truth when it comes.
This kind of relationship with God is free and available to all. It is the most inclusive, exclusive club that exists and nothing else is so worthy of pursuing. No one is ever excluded except those who choose to exclude themselves.
Developing closeness with God is not easy. It takes time. That’s the requirement. There is no replacement. It occurs in unseen places, privately, with no accolades, no recognition from others, no Facebook Likes and Shares. Its results are only apparent in the radiance and outflow of a person’s life.
It seems that God refines deeply each person who comes to Him wanting to know His voice. It’s a heavy responsibility to carry the heart of God to others. Those who say yes to that high calling may first go through much pain and trial, likely being misunderstood until all the junk is cleaned out. What remains is a clean, pure and humble heart. This process can be utterly wrenching and painful in a good way, because in yielding to it, there is a sense that it will serve some higher benefit and purpose.
As layer upon layer of toxicity is removed, our eyes become clearer, our desire for Him alone is deepened, and nothing else in the world is worth putting time into.
I believe that God values this process as much or more than actually bringing us into His purpose for our lives, because in the process we become His friend in the deepest sense. The process can last for years, and in some seasons can feel like we won’t live through it. Just when we think we cannot possibly endure another day, a whole year will pass as He relentlessly builds endurance in us.
The end result is a person who can’t be moved away from God’s heart. One who doesn’t easily get upset at the minor things of life. One who applies love quickly, forgives immediately, keeps connection as a high priority. One who exudes time spent with Jesus. There is no greater goal in life than this, nothing even close.
I guess from reading this you might not want to join this inclusive club. It probably sounds too taxing, like too much work, like you will have to give up too much. All I can tell you is that nothing will really ever satisfy you. The voids will never be filled. You can spend your life chasing everything else that doesn’t really matter.
It’s an everybody-welcome inclusive club. To join might cost you everything. It’s worth it.
The Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it! (Matthew 13:45-46)