THE SECRET PLACE
“He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1)
THAT I MAY KNOW HIM
I was reading some commentary from the late David Wilkerson the other day and feel led to share his words. I was thinking about this year’s spiritual direction, and our highest priority must be about drawing closer to Jesus. Many of us are walking with God but none of us can say that we cannot go further into His presence. We can be as close to God as we dare. We are facing much temptation to indulge in pleasure, to relax, enjoy and generally take it easy. Listen as David shares his heart.
“If you can go about your daily life facing all sorts of chaos, interruptions and demands, and yet not spend ten minutes in God’s presence (the secret place), your love for Him is dying. Think about it: If you love someone exclusively above all others, you will make that person feel they are the most important being on earth. Everything else will pale in comparison to them. Is this not how you first loved your spouse when you were courting? If he or she called while you were busy, you dropped everything just to talk to them. If anyone intruded on your time alone together, you resented it. Everything else took second place in your efforts to develop the love between you. Many Christians today go for weeks, even months, without spending quality time with Jesus. How can they love Him with a whole heart when they neglect Him for days on end? In The Song of Solomon, the bride could not sleep because her beloved had left (Song of Solomon 5:6). This woman arose in the middle of the night, saying, “My soul failed . . . I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer” (same verse). So she quickly ran into the streets, looking everywhere for her lover, crying out, “Have you seen my beloved?” Why was this such a serious matter to her? Because, as she said, “This is my beloved, and this is my friend” (verse 16). “I am sick of love [faint with desire for him]” (verse 8). She could not be without her beloved for even a short amount of time. How does Jesus feel when He spreads the table and anxiously awaits our company, yet we never show up to fellowship? The Bible calls us His bride, His beloved, His one great love. He says we were created for fellowship with Him. Therefore, what rejection must He feel when we continually put other “lovers” before Him?”
The Lord knew that if He stayed in heaven and left us on the earth by ourselves, we would drift away from His presence. This is why He came to live inside of us, so that we could live in constant communion. Is it preaching to the choir to ask, “Is Jesus the center of your universe?” (When Christ is our Lord, He sits on the throne of our heart and rules our thoughts and actions). Do you discuss everything with Him? “Of course, Brother Billy, I said I was a Christian. I go to church when I can and I was baptized”. I realize that many seem to be interested in religion, but I believe there are people who call themselves a child of God, yet do not live IN Him, WITH Him or FOR Him. It is mentioned in God’s Word that in the end there will be many who will try to explain all of the good deeds they have done. Evidently, they were actually involved with spiritual works, gifts and miracles as an outreach of “Christian” ministry. Yet, we see God responding that He does not even recognize them. “Not everyone that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven; but he – (led by God’s Spirit – filled with His nature) that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say unto Me (Jesus) in that day (judgment), Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in Your name have cast out demons? and in Your name have done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity.” (Mathew 7:21-23)
I understand this is a difficult passage, because it would appear these ministers were at least out there “trying” to do a service for God. I understand the human view and the emotional justification of the individual’s intentions; however, if we believe that ministry is a religious “free-for-all” we are drifting away from the truth of how perfect God is. He is so perfect that He does not (cannot) bend His Word to fit our ideas or someone’s unique circumstance and does not compromise with “special” situations. A spiritual principal that must become a personal revelation is called “divine order”. This is a very precious pillar of absolute truth. If we look deeper into divine order, we notice that our spiritual development is based on a foundation, and then our life (or house) is built “upon” the solid rock of who He is – LOVE. So, what is the meaning behind this scripture? These people may have had good intentions; however, many times “good intentions” do not count for anything. It is ALL about obedience! I personally believe these people were trying to build their house on the sand. They were more concerned with taking pride in their accomplishments than walking in Agape love. The foundation of our existence on this planet is to be filled with God’s LOVE! Everything we think, say and do must be constructed upon this “rock”. I believe these laborers thought more of their religious performance, than God Himself or the ones they were trying to help. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of “prophecy”, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have ALL FAITH, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I AM NOTHING. And though I give all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profits me NOTHING.” (I Corinthians 13:1-3)
There are different “levels” of knowing someone. We can learn about a historical figure, but we do not know them “personally”. The same thing can happen when people read “about” God in the Bible, yet they may never encounter or have an intimate relationship with Him. It is common for people to add and include the knowledge of God into their lives instead of surrendering their heart so that He can transform them. Notice in the Corinthian passage, that someone could actually be a “scholar” of God’s Word, yet without knowing the Lord, it would just be information. Jesus was saying in the Mathew passage that these religious leaders were being led with an emotional connection. Trying to walk in the Spirit, while in the “flesh” is like trying to plug a 110 cord into a 220 outlet. It is not “what” we do – it is “why” we do it. It is the same spirit of Pharisee that attempts to be a follower of God, but have never had their spiritual eyes opened. “But all their works they do, are for to be seen by men: they broadcast their knowledge of the Law of Moses, and enlarge the borders of their garments.” (Mathew 23:5) Unless our works are built on love and the obedience of His voice, they will be burned to ashes.
This lesson today is for me. I am convicted by the Holy Spirit that my life is not in the correct order as it should be. Of course, I may say that I love everyone and have a desire to reach out to everyone in need, but I am not sure this is true. I believe many times, we have waited for God to intervene in our lives and answer our prayers, but since we have been out of “order”, He could not do it. It is not that He does not want to – He cannot override the perfect integrity of His system that gives us the freewill to disobey. Selah. Last year we had neighbors move in next door, and they were definitely struggling financially. The mother came over one day and said the house was in need of much repair and they had little furniture and no money. At first, I was compassionate with their situation as they also had children, but I began to notice they hardly ever went to work. They would not clean the outside of their house or pick up their trash that was all over their yard. They would not even mow their lawn. I am sorry to say, but I lost my respect and patience for them because I started thinking that it is difficult to help someone who will not try to help himself or herself. This attitude began to hinder my sympathy for them as I started looking at them with anger. I admit, I made some negative comments about them and I do not believe this is the right thing to do. This is just an example, but as I have thought about it, I must have a deep-seeded “love” problem. If we only love those who live life as we think they should, what are we doing? This truth of not having the “fullness” of Agape love operating in our lives is a “crack” in our armor. Within this “unlocked” entrance to our conscience, the enemy can focus his attack on our already weakened and unstable thought patterns. It is the RENEWED MIND, which has absorbed God’s nature and character, and with obedience has given top priority to doing what HE SAYS and not our opinions or judgments. If we embrace the worldview that everyone must live according to our “standards” and only reserve our concern for those who pull themselves up with their own bootstraps, then we have missed the mark of God’s idea of love. “As you would that men should do to you, do also to them likewise. For if you love them which love you, what benefit do you have? For sinners (the lost) also love them love those that love them. And if you do good to them, which do good to you, what blessing do, you have? For the lost also do the same. And if you lend to them of whom you hope to receive, what do you have? For sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.” (Luke 6:31-34)
If we cannot love the people on our street, then how can we minister to people around the world? “But whoever has this world’s good, and sees his brother have need, and closes his bowels of compassion from him, how does the love of God dwell in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” (I John 3:17-18) The hotter the fire, the more the dross is consumed, and as we allow Him to refine us, the more pure we will become. “Father, help us this day to be emptied of our old nature, and fill us with our holy, compassionate love. May we learn that when we reach out in love to others, we are reaching out in love to you”. Amen.