A regular quiet time/secret place is something we know, as followers of Jesus, is important. Half an hour to an hour a day we’ve been told is what we should do.
Yet many of us struggle in silence with keeping it regular. We struggle with boredom and feeling like we’re not getting anywhere. A little bible reading and a little prayer – every day – that’s the recipe for a successful daily appointment with the Lord we’re told. Yet for many of us, if we’re honest, its become a duty that doesn’t happen more often than not.
But there’s a little secret I’m in the process of discovering which has the potential to radically change how we experience the traditional “quiet time”. We all know ‘the what’ of the gospel, ‘the what’ of the Bible, ‘the what’ of Jesus’ work on the cross – how He became a man, walked out a human life, died on a cross and rose again so that we might be saved. That is a glorious reality on which we will meditate for eternity. But ‘the what’ of the gospel is only one part to knowing God. If we start to explore ‘the why’ behind ‘the what’ of the gospel we begin to open a whole new door of revelation, a revelation that has the potential to impact us just as much, if not more deeply and profoundly, than ‘the what’ of the gospel. That’s an incredible thought.
So here’s what I have discovered about ‘the why’ of the gospel. ‘The what’ is what Jesus did, how He lived and died and what that death meant for us. ‘The why’ is to discover what Jesus felt that caused Him to come to earth and choose the cross, it’s to discover how He feels and thinks that led Him to act in the way He did and continues to act. When you get to really know a person this is what it means to really know them: to know what is in their heart, not just to observe how they act. When we begin to discover how God feels then our own hearts start to come alive in a whole new way and that’s the secret to inspiration in the secret place – hearts that are burning with passion for Jesus because we have tasted His passion for us. And the very best news? The bible is full of revelation about how God feels. Here’s an example:
Our longings are but small reflections of the great longing in God’s great heart. He has written six thousand years of history as the story of His furious longing for people.
- In the Garden of Eden, God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening.
- When this communion was broken, God set in motion His plan to bring restoration of relationship through Jesus (Genesis 3:15).
- When God brought the Jewish people out of captivity in Egypt, He took Moses up the mountain and commanded him to build a tabernacle that He might dwell amongst His people once again (Exodus 19:5, 6).
- When God brought the Israelites out of exile in Babylon the first thing He commanded them was to rebuild the temple that He might dwell again with them. As the years passed and the people gained prosperity for themselves while the temple remained unbuilt, God rebuked them through the prophet Haggai (1:4), “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your panelled houses, while this house lies in ruins?”
- When the prophet Isaiah speaks of the coming messiah He proclaims Him as Immanuel, God with us. (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23)
- And in John 17:24, as Jesus is about to go to the cross He looks heavenward and cries out: “Father, I desire that they also whom You have given Me may be with Me where I am…”
Again and again, obvious in every book of the Bible, the desire of God is this: I want to be with my people!
A couple more examples of ‘the why’ behind ‘the what’: