The Secret Place
The greatest thing that anyone can ever accomplish in this life is to be before the King, and to be known by Him. I know this from personal experience. I have already achieved great things in the eyes of man, and it is all worthless compared to being before Him. The calling to ministry has become an idol in the charismatic church. It has become our goal. But the Lord is extremely merciful to judge our idols and remove everything that hinders love. Ministry can never compare to the beauty of the Lord in the secret place. Nothing compares to Him.
The pride of life has found its way in to the church. We want to make a name for ourselves. Be somebody. Be known. Be recognized. We take pride in who we know, where we have been to ministry school, who we are connected to, who knows us, who sees us, and how accepted we are by leaders or other leadership. We want the praise of men more than the praise of God. We would rather spend time with a "big name" leader than with the Lord. This is a great deception.
We must all understand that being before the Lord in His presence, is greater than being before any other man. There actually is no comparison. Yet we seem to value the recognition of man more than the recognition of the Lord. Shouldn't only the Lord seeing us in the secret place be enough? Why do we need man to see us? Our hearts need to be purified and the pride of life needs to be removed. This can only happen in the secret place of His presence. Generally it will take years.
Being before the Lord is greater than being before any president, actor, or church leader. I saw this so clearly once when I was deep in His presence. I cannot effectively put the experience into words but I will try. I was in the Spirit, lost in the Lord's manifest presence. One with Him. I understood His greatness. The majesty of the great King. I saw how no one compared to Him. I was shown how people on the earth knowing me was complete rubbish compared to Him knowing me. Then I understood with clarity that He knew me, because I had been coming before Him on a continual basis. He saw me. And when He saw me, it was all that mattered. For the great King to know me and see me. To have access to the God of everything. Nothing compares. No one compares. Multitudes of people certainly don't. I saw so clearly that the greatest thing that anyone could ever accomplish in this life, was to be before the great King. To know Him and be known by Him. This is total fulfillment.
In this life so many people are striving to be somebody. Striving to accomplish something and be a success. Striving for significance. Even in the church, believers are striving for ministry. Striving for leadership or to be accepted in the church. But all of this leads to more emptiness. The secret place, being alone with Christ, is the fulfillment of every need and desire.
The Presence of God
My journey into the secret place started in 2008. I read through the Bible for the first time. I begin spending more time in prayer and study. In 2009, I heard a few people talk about waiting on God. I tried this a hand full of times with negative results. I couldn't get past my own thoughts and I never felt any of the Lord's presence. Then in September of 2009 breakthrough came. I went to some meetings in South Dakota that changed me forever. The minister prayed and the manifest presence of the Lord filled the room (by manifest presence I mean you actually feel the Lord's presence in your physical body). The presence of the Lord feels like Heaven is inside of you; because it is. Jesus said that "the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21). This encounter with the presence of God put a hunger in me that has only intensified over the years. After that meeting, I set my heart to wait on the Lord until I became a carrier of the Lord's presence.
I began by waiting on the Lord for 2-3 hours a day. In those early days I would listen to worship music, today I do not. Note that this practice of waiting on God was added to my preexisting practice of fasting, prayer, study, and meditating on the scriptures. After about three weeks of waiting on the Lord, His presence started to come. It was not strong, but it was there. Up until this point in my life, I had mainly only felt His presence in a corporate setting (public worship).
For just over a year His presence was with me, but at a lower level. Towards the end of 2010, the Lord removed His presence from me. I went through a year and a half season of stripping. It is complete misery to have had His presence in the secret place, and then have it leave. During that year and a half period I continued to wait on the Lord even though I was not feeling His presence most of the time. After my season of stripping, the presence of the Lord returned in the spring of 2012. By the time 2013 came along, His presence had increased in my life to another level. It kept increasing on in to 2014. Now in 2015, I am walking in the highest level of His presence that I have ever walked in. Probably five days a week and for the majority of each day. It is beautiful.
I am not talking about my experience with the Lord to draw attention to myself or talk about how great I am. I am telling of my experience so others will get hungry for Him, and enter into His presence for themselves. My intent is to lead people to Him. The presence of the Lord is available to every believer. Being in His presence is simply being in close proximity to Him. So close that you sense or feel Him. If the Lord has given His presence to me, He will give it to you. I am nothing special and the Lord is no respecter of persons. The condition to walking in the manifest presence of God is spending time with Him.
To him who has time (with the Lord), more will be given. To him who does not have time (with the Lord), even what he does have will be taken from him. Spend the time that you do have meditating on the scriptures and waiting on God, and He will give you more. There is no formula for entering into the presence of the Lord in the secret place. It's based on relationship and your pursuit of Him.
There are some Christians who might say, "It's not about feeling. It'sabout faith, and it is enough to know that He is always with you." This statement and statements similar to it, are formed out of ignorance. If people only knew the level of intimacy that comes with feeling the presence of the Lord, they would never say such things. Could you imagine getting married to someone, and then telling them you never need to feel their physical presence. "You don't need to hug me, or kiss me, or ever make love to me. Just knowing that you are in the room with me is enough." What kind of marriage would that be? A lifeless marriage without intimacy. But how many Christians have a dull and dry relationship with the Lord? And why? Because they have never physically touched Him or felt His presence. Many Christians in America lack intimacy with the Lord.
Waiting on God
The silent prayer of the heart is something that much of the church has lost. We live in a busy and distracting world. In our society it is difficult to secret yourself away with the Lord. However, if you want to go deep into intimacy with Him, it must be done. He will only release His presence to those who value Him enough to spend time with Him. Any believer who has been baptized in the Holy Spirit can feel the Lord's presence during corporate worship. Only those who pursue Him in the secret place will know the Lord's manifest presence in their daily lives. If you would like a Biblical reference of 'waiting on God,' please refer to Psalms 25:5, 59:9, and 62:5.
In my early days of pursing the Lord, I would have to meditate on the scriptures or wait upon Him for His presence to come. Now, since we have progressed in our relationship, His presence will just start filling me "all of a sudden." But that does not mean that I neglect meditating on the scriptures and waiting on God. I know that as I continue to press into the Lord, His presence will increase. I want to walk in a much greater level of His presence in the future. I must have more of Him.
Waiting on God can be challenging when you are just beginning. The goal is to quiet your mind and sit in silence before Him. Wait on Him until His presence fills you. Then stay in a place of communion for as long as possible. Going deeper and deeper until you are lost in Him. This process can not be easy explained. It is best learned from the Holy Spirit.
Waiting of the Lord will require discipline and determination. After years of waiting on God I felt I had not made much progress. There is always the temptation to give up. Your progress must be measured in years or decades rather than months. As I look back on my journey I can see that I have come a long way. Of course, as I look forward, I can see that I am so far from where I should be. I am honesty still walking with the Lord at a lower level. Poverty of spirit will keep you humble. But I long to walk with the Lord as Enoch did.
Waiting in the manifest presence of God with a focus on Jesus, will change us into His image. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord (II Corinthians 3:18 NKJV). As we wait in His presence, we are transfigured from one degree of glory to another degree of glory. Meaning, each time we behold His glory, we become a bit more like Him. We take on a bit more or His nature and image.
Walking with the Lord
The presence of Jesus is addicting. If I go a few days without walking in the presence of the Lord, then I am not okay. I don't feel right. I miss Him and long to secret myself away with Him. The presence of the Lord will ruin you for everything else. Everything in the world feels so dull when you are not in His presence. Anymore, I do not enjoy life when I am not in His presence. This is part of the price you will pay if you walk in the presence of the Lord. I understand why Abraham was looking for a city that had foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Abraham yearned for the New Jerusalem in Heaven where the presence of God never fades.
The Garden of Eden is our goal. The Lord did not create us to go to church. That is something we do, but it is not our purpose. Our purpose is to walk with the Lord in His manifest presence as Adam and Eve did in the garden. The Lord created man because He desired intimacy with man. Only when His presence is restored, will we have intimacy as Adam and Eve did. The goal in the church cannot be salvation. God did not create us for salvation. He created us for intimacy. Salvation is a necessary first step, but when all the focus of the church goes toward salvation we fall into Satan's trap. If Satan can deceive leaders and Christians into believing the goal is salvation, then he has won to a degree. The goal is Eden before we get to Heaven. We have God living inside of us. Heaven is inside of us. If we really believe that, then we should be experiencing now as Jesus did when He walked on the earth (John 3:13).
Enoch found what Adam had lost. The secret place and the presence of God. Something happened when Enoch had his first child at age 65. He found his way back into the garden (the place of intimate communion with the Lord). I have pondered Enoch's walk with God. Most likely, over the years, the presence of God increased in Enoch's life. The Lord started to show Enoch things in Heaven as they entered into a friendship relationship. As time went by, Enoch would secret himself away with the the Lord for Longer and longer. At first he went into the secret place three days a week. Then five days a week. Later Enoch would spend almost a whole month in communion with the Lord. Enoch entered in to a bridal relationship with the Lord. The two were made one. After a while of this the Lord could not stand to be away from Enoch for even one day, so "God took him."
The Eyes of the Heart
Once one progresses in the secret place and waiting on the Lord, there is another realm that can be accessed. Walking with God through the eyes of your heart or imagination. The Lord gave us an imagination for a reason. We can either use it for good or for evil. Jesus pointed out that that what we see with our imagination is a reality.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28 NKJV)
As shown in this passage, our imagination can be used for sin and wickedness. And what we see in the eyes of our heart is real. Otherwise Jesus wouldn't have said, "already committed adultery with her in his heart." The eyes of the heart or imagination is the doorway to the spirit realm (the unseen realm around us). Now we will look at what the scripture exhorts us to see with our imagination:
Colossians 3:1, 2 NKJV)
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
The Greek word for "set" also means to exercise the mind, to intensively interest oneself with, set the affection on, be of the same mind, and to think. Clearly the imagination is linked to the mind and thus involved in this process. We are commanded to imagine Heaven, and not the earth.
(Hebrews 11:27 NKJV)
By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.
The Greek word for "seeing" also means to stare at, to discern clearly, to experience, to behold, and to perceive. Moses stared at the One who is invisible with the eyes of his heart (his imagination). That is how he endured the wilderness. Communion with God.
When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. (Psalms 63:6 NKJV)
The Hebrew word for meditate also means "imagine." David used his God given imagination to imagine the Lord. No wonder the Lord had such a high regard for David. David came to the Lord in the secret place. David eventually entered into a place in the Spirit where he could "set the Lord continually before" himself in the eyes of his heart (Psalm 16:8). David understood how to use his imagination to access Heaven.
Hebrews 12:18, 22-24 NKJV)
For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest,
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
The scripture does not say that we "will" come to Mount Zion in Heaven. It says that we have come. Any believer has access to the Heavenly Jerusalem. The Kingdom is within us. By the direction of the Holy Spirit, you can find your way to it. This is the inner journey. The journey into the Holy of Holies.
Once a believer has attained to a certain level of heart purity, the imagination can be used to access Heaven. What you see in your imagination is real. You can use your imagination to see Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). You can use your imagination to see the throne of God and other things in Heaven. This Heavenly realm is best accessed by waiting on God in His manifest presence. Of course faith is a huge part. If you believe it is real then you will access Heaven. If you don't believe it, then you will not enter in.
I will give one example of my inward journey to help those who are interested in walking with the Lord through the eyes of their heart. Once, I was waiting on the Lord and in the Spirit. I begin to imagine a room in Heaven. At the ceiling there were two signs. The sign pointing to the left had written on it, "miracles, power, healing, anointing." The sign pointing to the right had written on it, "Intimacy with Jesus." Masses of people were going to the left, but no one was going to the right. I went to the right, walked down a hallway, and opened a door. When I stepped in the door I was overcome by the thick presence of the Lord. His power surged through my physical body. I was overwhelmed by His love. I can't accurately explain the experience. However, my point is that what I saw in my imagination brought me into this encounter. This is available to all who will persist.
While waiting on the Lord, I had an experience where I was completely lost in Christ. I felt nothing but His thick presence. All I could do is weep, because I knew that this encounter would not last and I wanted it to last forever. I wanted the Lord to just take me into Heaven. The very thought going back and dealing with daily life made me sick. I wept because I could not stand to leave that place of intimacy.
Another time while waiting on the Lord I felt like I was before His throne. Then His fire burned through me. All I could do was yell. I cannot put the intensity into words. He burned me with His holiness and the fear of the Lord was infused into my soul.
I have told of a few of my encounters to impart spiritual hunger to others. The Lord will visit anyone who pursues Him and does not give up. He is no respecter of persons.
The Secret Place
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalms 91:1 NKJV)
The greatest thing you can ever accomplish in this life is to sit before the great King. The search for significance ends when you have the total affection of the only One who is significant. He longs for us to come and be with Him. He truly desires it more than we do. And thus here is the call to the secret place...