I have to confess, the last several weeks have been hard. I’ve experienced all manner of emotions, walking alongside my mom and dad through her cancer diagnosis while simultaneously preparing my oldest son to leave for college. Joy mingles with tears. Hope battles fear. Thankfully, the Prince of Peace reigns.
And as I seek His face, I am reminded of the glorious purpose revealed through suffering.
Today’s blog is an excerpt from a book the Lord ministered to me through last year, Secrets of the Secret Place. Today, He drew me back to these pages, and I felt compelled to share them with you. May you also discover the glory of the secret place.
The Secret of Holiness
Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. Psalm 24:3-4
LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart. Psalm 15:1-2
… Holiness is not an inherent quality we carry; it is a derived quality that we take on. Holiness has but one source, the Holy One. Holiness has to do with proximity to the throne. The seraphim are called “holy ones,” not because of who they are but because of where they are. They are “holy ones” because they live in the immediate presence of the Holy One! I am holy to the extent that I abide in His holy presence.
I used to define holiness more by what we don’t do, but now I define it more by what we do do. Holiness is found in drawing near to the holy flame of the Trinity. There, anything unholy is burned like stubble, and all that is holy is enflamed and made hotter.
“For the LORD God is a sun” (Psalm 84:11). As my Sun, the Lord is my light, my warmth, the one around whom my life revolves, and He is the one who brings forth fruit from the garden of my life. His Spirit waters my life, His word nourishes my life, and His face is the power that causes the fruit of my garden to grow. As a planet revolves around the sun, I want my life to revolve around Christ. I want to be a planet, not a comet that swings by every 300 years only to return to the darkness. And I don’t want to be a Pluto, hanging out on the furthest fringe. I want to be close—blazing with the same holy fire that radiates from His face. …
Holiness is much more than simply clean living. Holiness is a life lived before the throne of God. The Scripture says of John the Baptist that “Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man” (Mark 6:20). John was not simply just (clean). He was much more than that; he was also holy. He was set apart to God, carrying the presence of God, a man of heaven living on earth. John lived in the presence of God—which is why Jesus called him “the burning and shining lamp” (John 5:35). Just and holy men cause kings to fear. They’re not just pure; they also burn with the flame that emanates from their fiery abode around the throne.
Holiness is to prayer as fire is to gasoline. When a holy man or woman prays, explosive things happen. We don’t pursue holiness for the sake of power, we pursue holiness for the sake of love. But those who pursue holiness out of affection for Jesus become very influential in the courts of heaven. James 5:16 links holiness and prayer: “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Things change on earth when a holy man or woman, with a cultivated secret life in God, prays with passion and urgency to the Lord he or she has come to know and love.
God is so committed to bringing us into this holiness that He is willing to do “whatever it takes” to get us there. The Bible points out that the main purpose of God’s chastening in our lives is primarily “that we may be partakers of His holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). If we will respond properly to His disciplines, they inevitably lead us via the pathway of repentance to true holiness. When the chastening first comes, it feels like God is trying to kill us. But if we will persevere in love, crucifixion and burial is followed by resurrection!
I want to close this chapter with this powerful truth: Holiness produces resurrection. As certainly as chastening produces infirmity and brokenness, holiness produces resurrection, deliverance, and healing.
It says that the Lord Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). In other words, it was Christ’s holiness that precipitated His resurrection. …
…You can’t keep holiness buried forever. Even if you feel dead and buried under the weight of God’s disciplining hand, devote yourself to His holy presence. Regardless of your shattered dreams and deferred hopes, live in the secret place of the Most High. It is the secret of your redemption. As you love Him from your grave, you are setting powerful spiritual forces into motion. Joseph was buried in prison, but because of his holiness they couldn’t keep him buried forever. The longer you try to keep a holy man buried, the more force must be exerted to keep him there; and the more force that’s exerted to keep him buried, the higher his resurrection will eventually be. Keep Joseph buried too long, and he’ll rise to the heights of the palace.
The grave could hold the Holy One only until the beginning of the third day. Death’s grip gave way, and Holiness rose to the highest place:
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father (Philippians 2:9-11).
Practice the holiness of His presence, O weary saint. It’s inevitable—holiness will rise again!
Excerpt from: Sorge, Bob. Secrets of the Secret Place. Grandview: Oasis House, 2001, p. 136-139.