The Secret Place

IMG_20141229_103733There’s a place where the Lord longs to fellowship with us. A place where we can escape every other thing vying for our attention. A place where our circumstances fade in the peace of His comfort. A place where my flesh is rendered powerless.  A place where the enemy cannot reach me. The place where the Lord dwells.

The secret place is the place where quietness and stillness of mind meet the whispers of the Lord. Through God’s Holy Spirit working within the souls of His followers Jesus quiets our hearts with the soothing calmness of His love. And the Holy Spirit leans in to still our hearts and speak truth to our souls.

I need to be in the secret place so desperately. It’s the only place where anxiety has no room. Where worry has no room. Where temptation has no power. Where sin holds no condemnation. It’s the place of access with us and the Father, made possible through Christ as it says in Ephesians 2:18.

What a comfort this is for my soul that in the midst of being overwhelmed with so many things around me there’s always immediate access to a place where I am free. Especially since I can get so overwhelmed sometimes with pressures of life. And it can be easy to get stuck focusing on everything that’s burdensome. But there’s a better way to live our lives. There is peace beyond what we face.

When I imagine a secret place, I think of the story of The Secret Garden. I always loved the story growing up. It’s a story about a little girl who goes to live at her uncle’s estate after the loss of her parents, and stumbles upon a mysterious key, soon discovering what awaits just beyond its moss-covered door. Beyond are flowers and foliage galore… draping the velvet grass with what once were bright tulips and roses and daisies. Light shines through the willow trees warming her face. Something new has  been discovered. And it gives her hope. She finds a secret place…a place where she can escape the burdens of life. A place that she sneaks away to every chance she gets. And as she continues to steal away to the garden she starts to restore the garden back to its original beauty and splendor, cultivating the natural radiance of the flowers.

I find this so picturesque of the secret place we have access to with our God.

A secret place of refuge. A secret place of refreshment and sweetness. A secret place of fellowship with our God. A place that’s worth sneaking off to and remaining just as long as possible. A place that’s worth cultivating. A place that’s worth devoting time and energy to.

This is the place God longs to draw us to. He has invited us in to a secret place of union with Him through His Spirit. The secret place where we experience the presence of the Lord through the Holy Spirit working within us. A place that frees ours hearts and minds.

But we have to make room for Him to enter. We have to invite Him in to the everyday details of our lives. We have to make time to be with the Lord.

For each person the secret place looks different.

For the secret place resides in the souls believers. It’s not a physical location. It’s not a ritualistic effort. It’s not a requirement to check off our list of to-do’s. Rather it’s the gift of being in constant communion with God, letting Him have access to our lives as we seek access to His Holy throne. It’s a mutual effort, just like any other relationship. And with time, we get to know Him better and His ways and His heart and His passions…and through this, God is able to direct our hearts.

Psalm 139:7-10 says,

” Where can I go to escape Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
If I go up to heaven, You are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there.
If I live at the eastern horizon
or settle at the western limits,
10 even there Your hand will lead me;
Your right hand will hold on to me.”

No matter where you are, God’s presence envelops you. It surrounds you. It never leaves you.

We have this access to God forevermore…but we must reciprocate this initiation by accepting His invitation. The invitation to join Him in the secret place. Just as the little girl found the key to the secret garden and so journeyed to find its door, we’ve been given a key to unlock the treasures of relationship with our God, if we would seek Him out and let Him take us beyond what we can see. Communing with God in the secret place has the power to reinvigorate our lives… giving us purpose, excitement and joy.

For you…spending time in the secret place may be talking to God in your car without any inhibitions, driving through a busy thoroughfare just conversing with God about your day. Just you and Him, ever aware of counsel to guide you. Maybe it’s getting away from all distractions to be alone and saturate yourself with the Word and prayer, ever aware of His sufficiency to be enough. Maybe it’s listening to music that connects you to God, tuning out the noise around you, walking through the crowds of people, ever aware of the Lord’s presence in that moment. Maybe its waiting in line at the grocery store, meditating on the name of Jesus and dwelling on His goodness, ever aware of His sovereignty in all things.

It may seem difficult to find time with God going about your day, but when we discover that we have immediate access to God wherever we’re at, it will change the perspective of our relationship with Him.

We can seek Him out. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all of your heart.” We must be intentional about seeking Him in everything and every place.

Every place has potential to be converted into a secret place when you accept the invitation of God to be with Him in that moment.

We need to accept this invitation. We need to run to the secret place when life gets overwhelming. We need to run to the secret place when spiritual attacks render us weak and discouraged. We need to run to the secret place when we don’t know what to do or how to respond to life situations. We must run. Not walk. Not stumble upon. Not get there when we get there. We immediately must run to that place if we want to be renewed and refreshed. We have to be intentional in our pursuit of the secret place with God.

I know that in my own life, when I fail to spend time the secret place I start to crumble. When I forget that He is with me everywhere I go, I’m tempted to rely on myself. I can get irritable under the confusion of what I don’t understand or what I feel is too much to handle. I can forget the truth of the Word. Or I can just be blind to the peace of God surrounding me, waiting for me to let go of unnecessary pressure. And this is just not where I want to be. I want to be in the place where God’s glory meets my inadequacy. I want to my mind to be ever aware of Him.

We can learn a lot from Jesus, who was ever aware of the Father and took time to accept His invitation of communion. Jesus spent time in the secret place. In John 7:59-8:1, after many in the crowd debated over Jesus’ claims, it says that “each one went to his own house. But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. (emphasis mine)”

I love any sentence that starts out with a “But Jesus…” It illustrates how Jesus is different from all the rest. He’s so much more than all. The rest of the people went their separate ways but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives to be alone with God. Jesus went to commune with His Father. He knew that the crowd had been talking about Him. He was aware of the controversy. But He didn’t bother with the conflict. Rather, He went to the secret place, or the Mount of Olives in particular. The place where He knew He could hear the Father’s voice the best and fellowship with Him there. Jesus knew His priorities. And for Him, the secret place was supreme. It’s where He drew His strength.

This encourages my heart to learn from the One who existed as God in all fullness but still sought out the secret place with God the Father. This reveals how important it is to take any moment we can to steal away with the Lord. Wherever you’re at. In whatever capacity you can. Even when you don’t feel like it. As a result of your obedience and posture of humility, the Lord will honor your time with Him and refresh you by His Spirit. And this refreshment is always so worth it.

As I look back, the moments where I’m the least anxious and worrisome are when I spend time with the Lord in the secret place. Those are the moments when my faith cannot be shaken and nothing else matters except His presence meeting me in that moment.

I’m finding more and more that there’s power in the secret place. The place where the Lord dwells.

For in the presence of Jesus His glory eclipses my entire being, all cares and burdens included.

His importance, His radiance, and His awe totally outweighs it all and I am left speechless just resting in wonder. It’s where I long to be. And where I long remain. It’s the place I strive to be. Without it I grow weak. We all do, if we’re honest. If we’re going to make through life in step with our God, growing in Christlikeness, and letting God conform us to the image of His Son as it says in Romans 8:29, we need to prioritize spending time with Him in the secret place.

2 Corinthians 3:18 also says “We all, with unveiled faces are reflecting the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.” As we spend time with the Lord in the secret place, we are transformed…our old self no longer has the power it once did. For we are being renewed in the very image of Christ, who empowers us to follow in His ways.

Jesus waits for you in the secret place. He longs to speak a Word to your heart. He longs to settle you down. To calm you. To love you. To let you know He’s near to You. To let You know He’s aware of what you’re facing. Jesus says, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light,” in Matthew 11:29. Every moment spent with Him is a moment that benefits our souls. It’s never a waste. May we be ever aware of our unlimited access to our God and King, converting seemingly ordinary moments into sweet moments of meeting with God in the secret place.

“Lord, I love the house where you dwell, the place where your glory resides.” – Psalm 26:8-

Questions for Today:

  • What is the secret place?
  • Why is it significant that Jesus took time to go to the Mount of Olives?
  • Do I accept God’s invitations to meet with Him in the secret place?
  • How can I convert ordinary moments into moments of meeting with God?
  • What next step is Jesus asking me to take in my relationship with Him today?

Elevation Worship, “The King is Among Us”

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