When you abide under the shadow of Shaddai
you are hidden in the strength of God Most High.
He’s the hope that holds me and the stronghold to shelter me,
the only God for me, and my great confidence.
He will rescue you from every hidden trap of the enemy
and he will protect you from false accusation
and any deadly curse
His massive arms are wrapped around you, protecting you.
You can run under his covering of majesty and hide.
His arms of faithfulness are a shield keeping you from harm.
You will never worry about an attack of demonic forces at night
nor have to fear a spirit of darkness coming against you.
Don’t fear a thing!
Whether by night or by day, demonic danger will not trouble you
nor will the powers of evil be launched against you.
Charles Spurgeon said, “Until we have realized the presence of God, we have done nothing.”
When thinking of the Secret Place I like to think of it as “The Safe Place.” This is where the Father loves on us, and meets us. It is a place of intimate acquaintance, of fellowship and communion. It is a place each one of us has been invited into. It is a hiddeness we can participate in when overwhelmed. It hosts an atmosphere of surrender, a room conducive to true rest. Usually associated with prayer in a closet, the Secret Place is not a physical place, but where He is. Find yourself there.
I have often been overwhelmed by situations and responsibilities, life in general feels rushed. When I feel hurried by deadlines, and circumstances hound me for production I have learned to get my rest in spending quiet time with Him; quiet being the operative word here. Rushing into prayer is where I am habitually quieted. In Luke 11 the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. His response was to acknowledge the Father first, and secondly to exalt Him. When you pray, when seeking the quiet that comes from His heart, acknowledge Him first. Say, “Father;” acknowledging His personhood, His presence, His existence. Then worship Him. How often have I rushed to God, convinced that my urgency will move Him, yet the moment I address Him as Father and begin to set Him higher in my thoughts and heart I become restful. The second part of the instructions to the disciples, after addressing and acknowledging Him, was to exalt Him. When starting out in prayer, say “Father,” and in your heart and mind intentionally exalt Him above the thing you came to pray about. Make Him bigger; set Him higher in your thoughts. Exalt Him, elevate His name and nature, and see the urgency melt away in the face of the Father’s enduring love for you.
Psalm 91 presents covenantal interaction; “He who dwell in the Secret Place of the Most High, will abide under the shadow of His wings.” In the Old Testament we often read about do to get, obey to receive covenants between God and man, this was an inferior way. We are in the New Covenant with God, but operatively a covenant still hinges on an action or deed. The New Covenant we find ourselves in today hinges on a person, and that person is Jesus. He, who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide. Here no enemy can destroy, no pestilence come near. The execution of this promise hinges of the presence of Christ realized in our lives. There is a need for habitual dwelling in the presence of God that affords us the victory and protection we seek. It is in His presence that we are hidden. It is in His presence that we are safe. It is in the secret moments of the heart between you and God that you are strengthened. One word I would associate with the Secret Place is “intentionality.” It takes an intentional engagement with the heart of God. It requires you to intend to enter, it is faith to act.
The Secret Place is where you have communion with God. When we approach God with the intention of spending intimate moments with Him, we become well acquainted with His voice. Lingering here with Him helps us get to know Him, to see what He looks like. You have to be vulnerable in the Secret Place, but don’t be scared, He is a safe place. The Secret Place is intimate. When we come out of prayer, we are still able to draw from those tender moments to sustain us, it becomes a place where our hearts dwell, where we habitually know and are known. This is represented by knowing what to do in hard situations, understanding His intentions for yourself and others in the midst of lies, and overcoming fear and failure; this is drawing from a deep well of acquaintance with the One who knows all.
Say “Father,” and focus your attention on the idea of Him as Father. Understand this means you are loved. Also, understand this to mean that He has authority. Direct your thoughts to His goodness. Quiet your mind, and be known by Him. Allow the worry to fade away, see the King of Glory come with Healing to you. Be loved by Him today. In your heart, elevate Him. Set Him above. Exalt Him. Let your thoughts about Him make Him holy.
Read with me, “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. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3
What does affection mean, and how do you “turn” it towards someone or something? Affection is essentially love, or a deep regard for someone or something. A mother feels affection for her new born, even though there is no intellectual connection made previously, and the baby is somewhat incapable of reciprocation. I think it is the same with God, He loved us first. We now have the amazing privilege of turning our love on Him in return. In order to do this, it is required that we give Him our attention, our full attention. This brings about a focus of our hearts and thoughts that is aimed at who He is and what He is doing. A refocus of heart and mind results in a subsequent realignment. Turning your attention and thoughts toward Him allows us focus and alignment with truth; with a person. In loving Jesus, it is imperative we remember that He is a person. A person we can and should interact with. Loving on Him becomes easy if we can allow the mysticism to fall away and only remember He is a person, with us and in us. He is here.
Where is your focus? Colossians urges us to set our affections, to earnestly seek, to think of and focus on the things that are above. Are you thinking higher? This does not refer to mystical, airy fairy, futuristic things, but a knowing and thinking of where He is now. Where is He? What has He accomplished? He is here! He has won. Know this, then set your love on the man who has won for you. Set your mind on the fact that He has overcome the things you are struggling with. Do not focus your thoughts on the past, or the need, or the wrongs. But earnestly seek to think on what is higher and better. Have thoughts that are elevated. Do you remember that He is exalted? Do you remember that He is seated at the right hand of the Father praying for you? Think on this. Earnestly seek to remember Him. Earnestly seek to set your love on the freedom and the grace He has given you. Forget what the flesh has done and wants. With intention, set your mind on Him.
Many people infer Colossians 3 to mean we are not to focus on earthly things, while in actuality they themselves are referring to material things. Colossians 3 is not speaking of things we have, but of things we are and do. Remember, material things cannot make you unholy or unworthy. Things are not evil. Having things do not make you unholy. But, when we allow our affections, our attention, to be held by material things, and the gain thereof, we are in direct pursuit of fulfilment of desire and lusts. This is where pride enters, which subsequently leads to all other carnalities. Earthly refers to the flesh, the carnal nature. If you love yourself and make an idol out of material things, you are thinking earthly (flesh, man) thoughts. Just as setting your mind on self (earth) takes intentional directional thinking, so setting your affections on Him is a deliberate action.
Take a moment to turn your thoughts on the fact that He died for you. He chose you. He loves you. You are dead to your sins, your past is erased, and you are free and forgiven. He did that, for you. Think on Him. Have eyes only for Him. Be intentional right now with the awareness you have of who He is. Take a deliberate thought to exalt Him, elevate Him in your eyes, and remember who He is. Interact with Jesus today. Look at Him. Love on Him. Show your affection by fellowshipping with the truth. Intimacy is what makes words become deeds.
Read with me, “My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways.” Proverbs 23:26
So often we are invested in making a mark on the earth. We become consumed with doing things for God, for others, for ourselves. The concepts of moving up and forward take foremost priority in our pursuit of significance. We are so busy doing, that we often neglect to be. How often do you initiate actions due to a promised reward? How often do you do accept additional pressure to perform tasks, based on the premise that there is gold at the end of the rainbow? We have allowed fairy tales to replace the word of God in our lives. He tells us to give Him everything, and to rest. We have adopted this fevered rush to do as much for God as we possibly can, all in an attempt to store up reward for one day. But in our frantic pursuit of gold, we have failed to see the delight there is in Him, right here, right now.
If the idea of doing less sparks fear in your heart, fear of repercussion, of eternal repercussions, I want to ask you again, why are you doing the things you are doing. Let me remind you that God is not sitting in judgment waiting for you to fail at simple tasks in order to withhold what He has already, freely and lovingly, given you. He is not a man that lies, He will not dishonor the price Christ paid by refusing you His love and mercy. He isn’t small minded, He isn’t petty. On the contrary, He rejoices over us, even when we have done nothing – NOTHING- to deserve it. If grace has saved us, we cannot now maintain His good grace by doing things, we cannot now twist His arm for favor and favors. Stop living only for one day, for a reward in heaven, for what you store up. He is good, and He is here now.
He is inviting you to give your heart. There is beauty in surrender. I want you to notice that delight in Him and His way of doing comes after we have surrendered our hearts to Him. He emphasizes the idea that His ways are good and delightful. He also emphasizes the need to surrender your ways, first. Can you, today, surrender your WHY? Are you capable of laying down your motivations and see His way in your day? If you are driven to the point of exhaustion by doing works, surrender it to Him today. Let Him be the keeper of your heart, and see where He leads you to do and be. The reward? Him. What do you get out of it? The delight of His presence! Is He still enough? Is He what your heart desires? Are you doing the work so you can one day be with Him, or are you doing the work because you are in Him, today? He has an uncanny way of calling us to rest, and to do less. He has such a delightful way of quieting the insistence of the world that says, “if you do more, you will have more.” This is the lie of a worldly system, the truth of the word says, “do less, be with me, see more.”
Surrender means to give over control of something. I want to challenge you today to hand over your heart – your feelings, intentions, business, life, work, children, faith, perspectives, etc. – to Him, and ask Him to show you what to do, by first doing nothing out of your own ideas. Give Him control of the outcome. If we no longer have control over the outcome of our eternity, and allow Him to be the God that keeps promises, we get to live for Him in the moment. If our concern for one day is replaced with intentionally living in the moment, we get to delight in everyday life, unburdened by what is not in our control. In your heart, allow the belief that He is a man that keeps His promises and that your future, both here and eternal, is safe with Him. Live your everyday in Him, allow His love to compel you to love those around you, simply because He is good. When HE holds your heart doubt becomes very difficult, and affection is easy. Give it to Him, surrender, and let your eyes see His way of doing and loving, without the need and idea of reward.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20