(If you’re not much of a reader but are interested in this topic, this series has been condensed into a 43min sermon that I was privileged to share with my church family in Manchester earlier this year. Click here.)
Welcome to Part 3! We’re nearing the end of our series so if you’re here for the first time and you like you what you see, do go back to the start and check out the Intro, Part 1 and Part 2. Let’s jump in.
Did you know that when you lay a baby on their mother or father’s chest their breathing and heartbeats synchronise? My friend Jonno once told me that God wanted me to apply this principle to my relationship with Him. Whoa. He emphasised the fact that it’s not like syncing an ipod but that I was to stay in this place. This is what it means to carry the Secret Place within us. This reminds me of Jesus’ words in Matthew 6 and His value for the Father who sees in secret being our motivation for all that we do.
Have you ever just thought about how insane it is that you get to know God…? Maybe you’ve grown up attending a church and grown a little dull to this ridiculous fact but just think about it.
God wants you to know Him personally.
God. No seriously, GOD!! Don’t just let that pass you by! This is the same God who somehow manages to be there before the beginning of Genesis 1!! This is the same God who is holding the universe together by sheer force of will! The same God who can view the whole of time and space, past, present and future without even moving His eyes! The same God who is perfect, never learning, changing or growing! That God. He wants tiny, little, insignificant you to know Him personally.* Ok, with that God in mind, go and read Matthew 6:1-18.
It is really easy to get bogged down when it comes to prayer and seeking God. Much of my Christian life has been a prolonged feeling that I should be praying more. Can you relate? Often I think this is because we either don’t know or we forget two things: 1) Who we’re speaking to and 2) What happens when we seek Him. He is Alpha and Omega, He is the Great I AM but He is also our Father. Jesus didn’t speak of our Judge who sees in secret, our Teacher who sees in secret or our Lord who sees in secret, although God is all of those things. Jesus told us it is our Father who waits to meet with us in the secret place of our hearts. Awesome.
In Psalm 27:8 David says to God, When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.” According to my Bible footnotes, the word for “seek” in the first part is addressed to more than one person but David responds to God from his own heart. I think it’s easy to feel like we’re responding to the call to seek God when we’re at church or at a Christian conference surrounded by others who appear to be doing the same thing however,
The call to the Secret Place is corporate but the response has to be individual.
Knowing God the Father, for real, through Jesus Christ is actually kind of the whole point of this Christianity thing. God doesn’t want a long-distance relationship with us. He had one and He didn’t like it so He sent Jesus. In John 17, Jesus is praying and says that the Father has given Him authority to give people eternal life and He explains what He means by eternal life:
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” – John 17:3
So eternal life, the “life and life abundantly” that Jesus came to give us exists in our intimate knowledge and experience of God the Father, through God the Son by God the Holy Spirit. This isn’t a surface level knowing things about God from a distance. This is an invitation to take what the Bible says about Him and experience it for ourselves. This is grabbing hold of Jesus the Rock and sinking into the bottomless ocean that is God, led by the light of the Holy Spirit (1Cor 2:10-12). This isn’t just agreeing that God is kind, it’s His kindness tearing into our hearts and chasing out harshness towards others as we experience it for ourselves. This isn’t just knowing that He is love, it’s seeing our fear crushed under the weight of His love as we experience it for ourselves!
The place of prayer is the outer court of the Secret Place but we want to get into the Holy of Holies, the Father’s Heart! This is the crucible and the refinery and He is the All Consuming Fire. It’s the place of moulding and shaping where the Master Potter forms the clay. This is the place where our insecurities meet their match and dissolve in His affirmation. This is the place where our wounds are dipped in the ointment of His liquid love and we are healed and made whole. This is the place where the steel of our courage is sharpened. This is where our self-will and self-focus is melted away in the fire of His passion for people.
In the furnace of the Father’s heart we hear His voice in the depths of our souls and receive truth that sustains us and wisdom that guides us. His emotions wash over us, purifying our own and we actually begin to feel what He feels and see what He sees.
Jesus knew what it was to live from the Father’s heart, knowing His will and being fed by His approval. The Father’s words at Jesus’ baptism (Matt 3:17) and on the Mount of Transfiguration (Luke 9:35) confirm for me that I need to hear these things from God simply because if Jesus did…duh! But on another occasion when the Father speaks audibly in John 12 Jesus pretty much says to the people that heard it, “That was for your benefit, not mine.” WHAT?!?! Imagine how clearly you must need to have heard the Father’s voice in your own heart that you can consider His public affirmation of you “unnecessary” for your confidence in His will!!
The Furnace of the Father’s Heart is a dangerous place. This is where the “fruit that remains” comes from and lasting change is made to our souls. This is where kingdom vision and strategy is given to us along with the anointing to carry them out. This is why the enemy has so much artillery aimed at the Secret Place. If he can keep us out of the place of prayer, if he can keep us continually in the lime light, serving ourselves and our reputations, if he can keep us distracted with technology and nonsense, killing our appetite for God, he can distract us from connecting to our Source and receiving life and power.
Next up: Part 4: The Battle for the Secret Place
“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” (Ephesians 1:17 – NIV)
*Here’s a little video to help you remember Who you’re dealing with. If it blows your mind and you love it, let me know!! I couldn’t even talk to God for a little while after first watching it haha!