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Secret Place

September 26, 2011

Several years ago my car broke down in the middle of a busy intersection.  I had already experienced a lot of trouble with it and this was the last straw.  I called a tow truck and sent it to the mechanic.  After the mechanic looked at it for a while he came to give me his diagnosis.  Was it the engine?  Did I snap a belt or clog something (I know nothing about cars)?  Nope.  I ran out of gas.  Plain and simple.  No matter how much you fill up your car with gas, eventually it will run out. 

This is true of our lives spiritually, too.  No matter how great our spiritual victories or how much depth we have had in our relationship with Christ in the past, they will not last.  They will run out and you will need to fill your tank again.  You will need fresh bread to eat because the stale bread of yesterday will no longer satisfy.  You need a “new song” to sing as the psalmist says as well as the worshippers in heaven in the book of Revelation (Rev. 5:9).  To do this, you will need to invest in your relationship with Christ through prayer, Bible Study, and worship in the secret place. 

Jesus uses the phrase “secret place” to describe our private time with God.  He tells us to do our charitable deeds in secret (Matt. 6:1-4), pray in secret (Matt. 6:5-7), and fast in secret (Matt. 6:16-18).  Jesus is not opposed to public expressions of our faith.  In fact, Jesus does charitable deeds and prays in public.  The point He is making is that true Christian spirituality means that our lives in secret fuel our public lives.  To live a public spiritual life but lack investments into your spiritual depth in private is pure hypocrisy.  Also, it is impossible to have a potent private spiritual life and it not influence our public faith expressions.  Therefore, our private and public spiritual lives are deeply connected in a way that powerfully emphasizes the need to nourish our spiritual lives in the private or secret place.  What you do there will affect the rest of your life. 

Now, it is possible to feign spiritual depth in public without engaging God in the secret place.  You can do it for a while, but eventually you will run out of gas.  It is in the secret place that Christ becomes supreme in our lives.  We aren’t in need of a newly acquired and unique spiritual experience, but rather a fresh encounter with the same Jesus who is the fount of all of our blessings.  It is in the secret place that we prepare for a life of faithful imitation of Christ.  It is in the secret place that our true heart is revealed.  In other words, you are what you feel and think when no one else can hear you much more than who you are when others are watching.   It is in the secret place that we are truly formed to be like Christ. 

I am writing this today out of my own experience.  I have found myself in a dry season and have recently realized that I am spending my life investments on the public place rather than the secret place – in ministry rather than prayer.  My worth and joy have been coming from ministry rather than ministry that springs forth from the worth and joy I have in Christ.  The difference is huge.  Stillness is hard for me.  It always has been.  But, I can say that I am being renewed in my time with God and I sense that my life is becoming more Christlike through my time in the secret place. 

If you are weary, check out your secret place.  That might be the problem. 

If you are doubting, take a look at the nourishment or lack there of in the secret place. 

If you are just in a funk, pause for a sabbath and fill the tank once again in the secret place. 

Whatever you think of when nothing else is going on in your life is what occupies your secret place.  Christ wants to be supreme over your secret life.  For if Christ is not supreme of the secret places of our lives, then He is not supreme at all.

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