THE SECRET PLACE
Abiding under the shadow of the Almighty
DID WE VOW TO GIVE GOD ALL OF OUR HEART?
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10) What does it mean to renew a “right” spirit in us? It means to STAY in an attitude of repentance because is so easy to become side-tracked. A right spirit is one that sees and hears clearly and has not allowed the filth of this world to distort or distract their love for God. Everyone needs to realize and accept that God will only come in and do a work in us, when we open the door of our heart and surrender our will. If we do not recognize that we have a problem or a need to be cleansed, we will continue in our deception which means that we cannot “see” we are going in the WRONG direction. Thus, when the Lord has mercy on us and The Holy Spirit tries to “awaken” us from our trance, hopefully we will respond to His mercy and repent. This act of sorrow that begs God to forgive us for being hard-headed is the desired path toward being purified in the fires of His holiness and being “renewed” in our spirit by allowing Him to purify our conscience.
Holiness is about being “willing” to be broken. Pride is not just something that hinders us – it has every intention to absolutely ruin our life. Thank God, it can be distinguished when the calming waters of humility are poured upon it. Pride blocks the vision of the eyes of our heart and convinces our mind to walk according to the eyes in our head. Selah. Pride invites all the attributes and fruits of carnality to rule the heart and govern with authority. Pride closes our spiritual ears until we become “possessed” with satisfying our own desires. Sadly, most people fall in love with their sin and do not want to “break-up” with the idols of their obsession. They hold their fantasies tightly and keep them protected, hidden, secret, and secure within the deepest recesses of their soul. Allow me say, if we are NOT serious about living pure – let us stop thinking and talking about what a great Christian we are! If we are dirty on the inside and yet acting like we are walking in His Spirit, we are a hypocrite and a shame to the Kingdom of God. Not having knowledge is one thing, but purposefully living a double life of religious mockery is a dangerous condition of existence. We are dancing with Satan at a masquerade party and in our deception we are the fool. God sees all of us exactly the way we are and is filled with mercy; however that does not mean He compromises His truth or His judgment against what we know. We are not “getting away” with anything!
I had a person (who is close to me), comment about my ministry the other day. They said that in all of my songwriting and article writing there seemed to be a consistent message. They said that God is saying the same thing over and over except in many different ways and the focus is about the intentions of our heart. The contents of the conscience is who we really are, and reveals everything about us. I thought about this statement and I must agree that in the last 30 years, God in His graciousness and patience has been trying to tell me how much He wants ALL of my heart. Not just my heart – but everyone’s heart. I know we wiggle and squirm because it is uncomfortable to think about laying down our secrets and the things we do that are not right but I believe if we desire to have all of God, we must give our all to Him. Selah. Remember, covenant is a vow of the soul and that includes complete honesty and trust. Of course we believe God is honest and we trust Him – but are we honest with Him and can He trust us? We confess and claim that what He has is ours, but we pick and choose what we want Him to have.
I have mentioned Godly sorrow many times in the past but I wonder how many really know what it is. As a Christian, have you ever done something or said something and after it was over, you felt convicted? Have you ever felt heaviness in your soul over a sin or just felt distance from God and you tried to shake it off but the misery just would not go away? This is a glimpse of the sorrow of sin. Godly sorrow is a blessing in disguise because it allows us to feel a little of what God feels. If we realized how much it disappoints Him and how it hurts Him when we obey our flesh, it would definitely help us to maintain an awareness of His presence. Why do we run away from dealing with Godly sorrow? You guessed it – we are a people of great needs and the one most lacking is humility. If we choose to sin, pride allows us to think we can handle it. For some reason we have bought into the idea that a little sin here and there will not affect us. This is a huge lie! Let us consider this revelation found in 1st Corinthians 5:6, “Your glorying (feelings of confidence) is not good. Know you not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” Pride hardens our conscience until we submit and decide we do not really need to commune with God. Pride presumes that all is well with our soul without ever considering the possibility of being deceived. We become convinced that our attitude toward Him is not having an impact on our standing with Him. He may love us but is NOT obligated to saturate us with His blessings or His presence. In 1st Samuel 2:30, the Lord spoke to Eli in his backslidden state and said, “for them that honor Me I will honor, and they that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.” This does not necessarily mean eternally lost but rather God chooses to back away and not intervene as He would if a person was completely dedicated and obedient to His voice. The Bible is clear that if we draw near to Him, He will respond and become as close as we desire but the same is true if we forsake Him, He will take the hint that He is not wanted and will allow us to do things the hard way. It is in humility that we stop the madness and pull away from the chaos of Babylon and sincerely search into the depths of our heart. If we are willing to discern truth and not continue to sugarcoat our “rose-colored” image, we may discover that our conscience contains things we need to examine closely. Father is doing a work in His people right now! He is preparing His children not just for a one way ticket to paradise – but so they might be transformed into His image NOW! There are spots and wrinkles in our bridal garment and He is beckoning us to His brazen alter.
Worship is an avenue of communication that God has designed to bring us and keep us into His spiritual reality. Singing songs are not always necessarily worshipping God the same as doing religious activities are not always led by God’s Spirit. The act of worshipping God is an automatic confession that He is the Master and we are the servant. It is the picture and symbolism of humility to bow before the Lord and God of all things. Our flesh hates to surrender the power of authority because it knows when we worship God we are denying the temptation and influence of the carnal nature. In order to worship in “Spirit and in truth” there needs to be the sincere attitude adjustment that realizes what is required within our heart. We must lay our will down before His feet and acknowledge that He is our Lord and King. This concept of “decreasing” is crucial to the revelation of exalting and adoring God in the beauty of holiness. When the writer penned the words, “He must increase (become more important) but I must decrease” (John 3:30), it is clear that our attitude determines whether we are just going through the motions of a religious experience or serious about living with God in the realm of reality.
I do not really want to talk about sin – but I need to pull back the covers and reveal its ugliness. We do not want to face sin that we have not dealt with. Selah. It is no deep revelation that when we have secret sin and problems that we do NOT want to settle, we hide in the shadows of their oppression. I feel led by the Lord to clean behind the refrigerator so to speak. This is the time where your flesh may remind you that you need to go feed the dog and since you do not have a problem with sin, you need to go do something more constructive. But, if you are determined to be totally committed to Christ and are willing to allow Him to purge you and remold you into His perfect will – then crawl on the operating table and let the “Doctor” do some heart surgery. (By experience, I can honestly say you will be filled with joy when He is finished). Here is a brief glance at carnality and lust.
CARNALITY – If you can envision sin as a tree, carnality is the roots and the trunk. Carnality is embedded in our old nature and works hand in hand with the un-renewed mind. This dark enemy influences our thoughts and loves to steer, guide and control the ship. Jesus came to destroy the works of carnality. When Christ was invited into your heart to be THE LORD and Master of your life, there was an understanding according to your holy VOW before Him, that we would NOT allow carnality to rule us anymore. The symbolism of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ within us – presented a picture to heaven and earth that our old nature had been declared dead and now Jesus lives IN US as the hope of glory. You see, there is NOT room for “two” kings upon the throne of our heart. Jesus came in and our carnality was put to rest – right? Well, what the churches failed to explain was that our carnality is only as “dead” as we determine him to be. Selah. Evidently the grave yard is a busy place at night because many Christians have been seen going in and digging up their old nature. I will be the first to admit that I have struggled with my carnality. Well, maybe struggle is actually not the correct word to use. If we are honest, I think it would be more like inviting our carnality over for dinner and joyfully entertaining him. How can this be? Because we have the free-will to take the exit off the interstate and enjoy the scenic route of “intentional” sin. This is not just an insignificant bruise, it is a full blown infection that has the authority from God that gives Satan jurisdiction to kill, steal and destroy our life. How many people have been ruined by this two-faced way of living? What the church needs to teach is that holiness is not something that automatically surrounds us with a force-field of Godly attributes. It is our responsibility, our desire and our determination to walk with God in the fullness of His Spirit. Our level of sanctification depends on how much we desire to abide in His presence and enjoy the liberty of being pure and holy in His sight. Carnal Christians are lukewarm hypocrites. Selah.
LUST – Lust is one of the major branches of carnality and is not limited but is mostly concentrated within our sexual desires. I believe men have a very difficult time with lust because they are stimulated by visual images and were created to be the aggressor. As an extension of carnality allow me to read some of its definitions. Animal, brute, fleshly, worldly, earthly, material, non-spiritual, sensual, sexual, erotic, lecherous, lascivious, bodily, physical, licentious, lewd, concupiscent, voluptuous, libidinous, carnal knowledge, of the body or flesh. It is clear from these words that lust is the opposite from what God has planned for His people to represent. Lust is always chasing for control that it cannot attain, thus the meaning is perfectly described in the popular rock song, “I can’t get no satisfaction”. Lust has the very powerful wants and needs to be worshipped but is not really interested in demonstrating true love. We are not to lust for other people in a sexual way and as a matter of fact we are not to lust for respect, power or anything else from the world because this attitude is birthed in selfishness. We might lust for fame and brood in our secret thoughts about being someone we are not or whatever the case may be, but something in our heart is not right. Lust lives in the world of fantasy and its visions are usually just mirages and dreams that will never be fulfilled. Even in marriage, lust is not the same as strong affection. Being attracted to your mate is absolutely normal and a very good healthy state of mind that is a foundation for a spiritually bonding relationship. However, when our love becomes lust, we must repent and not allow the beauty of holiness to become corrupted with anything perverted that God would not approve of – including wrong thoughts.
The Christian cannot afford to live in the world of lust but unfortunately, many Christians are held in bondage to its powerful temptation. Many men and women are not satisfied with the level of stimulation within their marriages and are vulnerable to the temptation to meet their needs with something or someone else. It is a place of torment and misery that has no peace with God. We cannot mix our responsibility to remain pure at the front door of our heart, while secretly inviting lust to come in through the back door and expect God to understand or tolerate it. Our sins of lust may seem to go unnoticed for a while but I assure you they are not being overlooked. God will close and lock all doors of ministry because He cannot trust us. He will move farther away from us and that includes His anointing, peace, blessings, and protection. Are you feeling frustrated, are you struggling, depressed, sad and miserable? Have you kept your vow to give Him ALL of your heart?