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The question remains: If God's offer of friendship and communion is so wonderful and free, why do so few Christians ever move into this level of relationship?

I believe the answer is that most believers give up in discouragement before they ever get a taste of it.

Unreal Expectations
Many new Christians hear about the joys of experiencing God in a quiet time and want to get in on it. With high hopes, they start having a regular time of Bible study and prayer. But when they don't experience fireworks, a cloud of glory, or an audible voice from heaven right away, they simply quit in frustration.

The truth is, it takes perseverance, patience, and consistency to develop an intimate walk with God. And while there are exceptions, for most of us it is very much a journey of faith in the early stages. It certainly was for me.

When Lynne and I first started walking wholeheartedly with the Lord, I would get discouraged when I compared my devotional life with hers. Here I was, striving and straining to get the Word and press into God's presence, yet coming away with absolutely no sense of fellowship with God.

Finally, One Morning…
Lynne, on the other hand, seemed to be able to simply close her eyes and be transported into a glorious rendezvous with Heaven. I would wonder at times if there was something wrong with me. Still, I continued to press into God's presence though I got no discernible results. Then one morning, I awakened to find my room filled with the presence and glory of the Lord. At that moment, He was more real to me than my wife lying beside me.

You, too, will experience a breakthrough in this area if you don't grow weary in well doing. Stay in the Word of God. Stay constant in prayer. It may take weeks, months, or even years, but you will achieve a breakthrough if you will stay with it.

The day will come when the accumulated force of all your prayer and praise will propel you into an entirely new dimension in your relationship with God. It will be that proverbial "quantum leap" forward.

Sadly, the vast majority of believers quit before they ever reach that glorious point. This is doubly tragic because it's the very point at which you're ready to start learning to abide in the Secret Place. To do so, you simply practice the presence of God on a moment-by-moment basis. The result? You go through your day in constant communion with Him.

That doesn't mean you walk around in some kind of spiritual daze. In reality, you're sharper, more discerning and more sensitive to what's going on around you than ever before. It's just that you now are so connected to the Spirit and His voice that you are able to hear His promptings, warnings and instructions. It is truly a wonderful way to live.

This is also where you really begin to be able to put away the old desires of your fleshly nature. Jesus-in-you becomes such a solid reality to you, it changes what you do and say.

You'll think, "How could I possibly take Jesus with me into that sinful situation?" You'll cringe at the thought of uttering a word that would bring dishonor to Him.

A Wonderful Change
As your actions change, the "old man" of the flesh begins passing away and the "newness of life" that is yours in Christ begins to emerge.

Just don't get the cart before the horse. Before you begin trying to implement every principle and guideline you see in the Word, you must first have developed a vital, tangible relationship with Jesus Christ. I'm talking about a relationship that is more intimate than your most intimate human relationship. Then, and only then, are you ready to start implementing all the things you see in God's Word.

Do you want to abide in the Secret Place? Do you want to experience the kind of supernatural protection from evil that Moses described so vividly in the ninety first Psalm? Then purpose in your heart to spend time in the Word, in prayer and in praise. Follow through with consistency and patience.

Take these steps and before you know it, you'll not only call the Lord "God," you'll also call Him "friend." When that becomes a daily reality in your life, you'll be living in a realm where no evil can enter—the Secret Place of the Most High.

Source: Living Safely In A Dangerous World by Mac Hammond
Excerpt permission granted by Living Word International

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
 
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Minute, which is seen locally in the Minneapolis area and can also be viewed at winnersminute.com. He is also the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.
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