Do you want to know a good secret? How about I share you with you one of the great secrets to the Christian life? Does that sound good? There are many secrets to living the Christian life — faith, obedience, love, the power of the Holy Spirit, and more — but one of the great secrets is that you need to have a secret life with Christ.
What does it mean to have a secret life with Christ? It doesn’t mean that your faith in Jesus is supposed to be a secret that you do not tell anyone about. We are actually told to be bold witnesses for Christ in the world. Our faith in Christ is not meant to be a private matter, but actually a public witness. The key to our public life and witness for Christ, however, is often found in our private devotion to the Master. Jesus warned his followers about trying to seem spiritual in front of others just for show.
The religious leaders of the day took pride praying in public, giving their gifts just to be seen by others, and fasting publicly so others would admire their devotion. Jesus called his followers, however, to do these acts in private devotion to God, not to gain the attention and admiration of men.
In regards to our prayer life, Jesus said, “But when you pray, go into your inner room, and when you have shut the door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you” (Matthew 6:6). God wants his people to learn a secret life, hidden in Christ. The secret of the inner life is to learn to get alone with God and hear from the Lord. I have known this for many years. I have sought to be a person of prayer, but there are many times I have let other things distract me from true quality time with God. God wants us to get “face to face” with Him in a sense.
King David said, “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in his temple”( Psalm 27:4).
King David was a great warrior and king, but he set his heart on one thing above all else. He wanted to dwell in the presence of His God. He knew the only thing that would satisfy his soul was to be rightly and deeply connected with His God.
You would think it would be easy for guys like me (a minister) to stay deeply connected to Jesus. After all, I am “professional Christian.” I get paid to do this stuff. The fact is though, for guys like me, our ministry for the Lord can get in the way of our intimacy with the Lord. I can become so busy in the public ministry that I can easily neglect my private life of prayer and devotion.
I believe my primary occupation is to be a lover of Jesus. I need my life to be fueled by prayer. There are a lot of people who are willing to talk to men for God, but there is a great need for people who will talk to God on behalf of men. This is the ministry of prayer. God is calling his people into a secret life with Him. Jesus even said that the Father will openly reward those who secretly seek Him in prayer.
Don’t get me wrong. Our Christian witness is public. Our lives are on display for Christ. Yet we can only be effective in public if we are rightly connected with God in private. So there is the secret to the Christian life — the secret of a hidden life. The life hidden with Christ will shine most brightly for Christ, and be openly rewarded by Him. So, now you know the secret. Pass it on. And that’s the Word.
The Rev. David Yarborough is pastor of St. Simons Community Church. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 912-634-2960.