Thursday, May 27, 2004

The Secret of Standing - Cultivating a secret life with God.
by Bob Sorge

One of the best kept secrets of our faith is the blessedness and joy of cultivating a secret life with God. Imagine the sheer delight of it even now. You're tucked away in a quiet nook; the door is shut; you're curled up in a comfortable position; the living word of God is laid open before you; Jesus himself stands at your side; the Holy Spirit is gently washing your heart; your love is awakened as you meditate upon the gracious words of his mouth; your spirit is ignited, and your mind is renewed; you talk to him, and he talks to you in the language of intimate friendship.

Ahhh, it doesn't get any better than this!

Hell will do everything in its power to misrepresent and distort the exuberant delight of this dynamic reality; this present world system is strategically designed to squeeze out your time and energy for the secret place; the church usually focuses its best energies on getting saints busy; and there seem to be relatively few believers whose secret life with God is so vibrantly life-giving that it kindles a contagious desire in others to follow their example.

I connect viscerally with the pain of countless believers who carry a conviction that the secret place is central to an overcoming life but who struggle on a regular basis to maintain the secret place as a daily lifestyle. I know what it's like to live below what the Christian walk could be and yet feel almost powerless to change anything. I've watched myself return persistently to the sources which are no sources at all. For example, when wanting to get revitalized from a draining day, we look to television, as though its distractions will renew us—only to be left empty for the umpteenth time. Or, we will attend a church service in the hope that the preacher's walk with God will infuse us with fresh energy for the journey. But deep down we know that sermons and teachings, although edifying, can never replace the carrying power we find when we sit at Jesus' feet and hear his word for ourselves.

I don't want to add another condemning word to the berating voices we all know so well. What I want to do is to help encourage you in your secret place relationship with God. I want to strengthen you by sharing with you the secret of standing in your secret place.

When you retreat to the secret place, you are standing in the Spirit together with all the saints on the sea of glass and gazing upon the One who is seated on the throne (Revelation 15:2). Even though your eyes are veiled so you can't see him with the natural eye, you are still standing directly before the throne! The highest privilege of all creation is to stand before the living fire of God's presence and burn with holy affection for your Father and King. Standing here is your eternal destiny, and you can taste a bit of heaven on earth by shutting your door and standing before your God in the beauty of holiness.

Your schedule doesn't want to let you stand here; work demands militate against your standing here. But you are awakened to the beauties of holiness and now you long to come aside and stand in his presence. Just to stand, and having done all, to stand!

To stand, despite the warfare; to stand, despite the resistance; to stand, despite the hassles; to stand, despite weariness; to stand, despite distresses; to stand, despite the temptations; to stand, despite personal failure and collapse; to stand, despite the grief; to stand, despite the loneliness; to stand, even when chained; just to stand!

To stand, because of the cross; to stand, because of the Lamb; to stand, because of his affections; to stand, because of his acceptance; to stand, because of his mighty power within; to stand, because of fountains of living water flowing from the innermost being; to stand, because of his surpassing beauty and greatness; to stand, because of his eternal purpose; to stand, because of his everlasting mercies; to stand, because of love!

The job description for the Levites is still applicable to us today: "At that time the LORD separated the tribe of Levi to bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister to him and to bless his name, to this day" (Deuteronomy 10:8). One of our prime responsibilities (and privileges!) is to stand before the Lord to minister to him. In the secret place, we simply stand. No great agenda, no mighty ambitions, no rush to move on to the next thing. We just stand before him and love him.

There are seasons when God calls us to simply stand. We might prefer the adrenalin of chasing down a great cause, but sometimes God calls us to stop all activity and just stand. Sometimes, He gives us no choice. Occasionally, circumstances will constrain us beyond our ability to steer a different course, and we become prisoners to the chains that bind us to God's will. Incapable of extricating ourselves and moving on to the next thing, all we can do is stand and burn in holy love for our King.

It is commonly said, "Don't just stand there, do something!" When circumstances in our lives are careening out of control, the great temptation—when you don't know what to do—is to do something. "God can't steer a stationary vehicle," they say, "So start moving out on something, and let God direct your course."

That may be the way to go in some situations, but I've found that the Lord has been working differently in my life in recent days. He inverted that common saying and gave it to me this way, "Don't just do something, stand there!" It came like this: "When you don't know what to do, don't just do something! Wait on me, stand before me, minister to me, until. Until I speak. When I speak to you, then you can move out in response. But until I speak, just stand there."

The Scriptures show us that God has mighty angels who stand in his presence, in some cases for hundreds of years, and wait for his bidding. God doesn't need our strength and productivity; he needs our availability. He's just looking for us to stand in his presence, gaze upon him, love him, and fulfill his word when he speaks.

Are you between assignments? Then just stand before him, enjoy him and let him enjoy you!

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