Stillness, Silence, and Surrender: Preparing a Place for the Person and Presence of Christ
This is your opportunity to escape. This is your opportunity to be restored, refreshed, and renewed. This is your opportunity to rest. This is your opportunity to encounter the Beloved and be beloved. This is your opportunity to hear from God, receive divine guidance, wisdom, knowledge, insight, and understanding. This is your opportunity to pour out your heart with complete abandon and be welcomed, received, embraced, forgiven, redeemed, and changed.
Creating a place for the person and presence of Christ is very deliberate. But it’s not difficult. Carving out time in your day and space in your home is something each one of us can do with a little effort and some simple planning. If practiced consistently, it’s guaranteed to become your favorite part of the day, and a precious place of refuge for you in your home.
But more than the atmosphere surrounding your physical environment, it requires an environment within your soul that makes a place for Christ where He is truly welcome. This is where we fellowship with Him in sweet intimacy that is undisturbed, giving Him our full attention. That is the hard part. That is where challenges from within begin to arise, contending for your time and attention. Mental distractions, above all, are the most difficult to abate.
The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak. Preparing a place for the person and presence of Christ is something that happens within your heart. Let’s talk about how to prepare that place for Him.
All of us are very different, and if you’re like me, then you are task oriented. Even if my body is still, my mind is always reminding me of things to be done. That list, as I have learned, never ends. There is no such thing as done, because there is always more to do. Such is life.
Finding a place of seclusion is important, especially if you have children and family. It will be necessary for you to find a “secret place” that you have designated for Christ. My friend has her closet. It may be your porch. It could be your car. It really doesn’t matter, so long as it suits your need and you are able to give God your full attention.
Even Christ had to retreat to a quiet place for fellowship alone with His Father.
Find your sweet spot. If you don’t have one, then create one. Designate an area.
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth, (Psalm 46:10, KJV).
Once you have your secret place set apart, I have no doubt you will go there only to find that stillness has much more to do with your internal state of being than your external space. As wonderful as your personal retreat may be, if you are internally cluttered, you’ll have a hard time being still.
Stillness is realized when you can rest upon knowing He is God. That is the platform from which true stillness is launched. That is the trump card that lays everything else to rest. This is the pinnacle of stillness and subsequent rest.
The LORD’s desire is for you to dwell in His peace and rest knowing that He is God. This is where striving ends. This is where you cannot be shaken. This is where we are forced to reckon with our own desire to control. This is where we exchange our inability for His omnipotent power and authority.
What a gracious offering He gives.
Know that I am God.
He invites you into His rest and perfect peace despite all those things that clutter and distract your soul.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the sill waters. He restoreth my soul… (Psalm 23:2-3, KJV).
How sacred silence actually is. What a beautiful thing to be able to come before Him without words, knowing that He hears the churning waters of your soul and intimately understands your innermost being – even better than you can articulate it.
How precious. There is no need for words, although they may come to you. It’s okay to be silent. Don’t be afraid to be quiet.
Allow Him room to speak. So often we come to God with our list of requests, concerns, petitions, and the like. Yet we don’t often consider giving Him time to speak. We dominate the floor. We have an agenda that we bring the table in prayer. Sadly, we often fail to consider that God may have an agenda of His very own. He desires this time to be an opportunity where He can speak to you freely in revealing truth where there have been lies, light where there has been darkness, healing where there has been hurt and pain, and knowledge where there has been ignorance. There are things you need to hear; things you need to know; things He wants to disclose and reveal to you. The only way that can happen is if you give Him opportunity to speak. Let Him lead the conversation. Give Him the floor. Open your heart to the LORD and allow Him to be, do, and say whatever He desires.
He is your daily bread. He is the manna from heaven.
Let Him feed you.
Learn to eat and drink from His hand.
For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; in returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not, (Isaiah 30:15, KJV).
And why wouldn’t we?
Where is this hindrance coming from? This is where we must purpose ourselves to silence. Silence the desires. Silence the selfish agenda. Silence the worries.
Again, we see the LORD’s offering and invitation. How kind of Him. Learn to quiet yourself before Him. Allow Him to silence you. His silence is a gift. He needs the opportunity to speak as much as you do. Hearken diligently to the LORD. Open your heart and your ears. Be patient, waiting upon Him, and give Him time. The waters of your soul, He alone is able to calm. When they ripple let it be at the breath of His word.
We are told to come boldly before His throne with confidence (see Hebrews 4:16). That does not negate the need to surrender to Him in humility (see 1 Peter 5:6, KJV). Boldness should not be equated with arrogance and pride. Christ was as humble as He was bold.
Surrender is only found in humility.
A humble heart before God is one that is fully surrendered to His will and purposes despite any personal desires, thoughts, ideas, or aspirations.
When we approach God we need to do so with a heart that is truly surrendered. Be willing lay down your agenda. Any proclamation you may have in your heart or upon your tongue needs to be at His command. No one prophesies of their own volition. God told the prophets what to speak and write. He said, “Prophesy…” How dare we presume upon God.
Surrender. This is where we lay it all down, accepting that our own will, desires, thoughts, ideas, and so forth are just that – our very own. So let’s own them as such instead of presuming them upon the LORD.
The purpose of surrender is to be more like Christ, that we may be transformed into His image, and to do the will of God on earth as it is in heaven. To quote a friend of mine, “Until your shadow is healing the sick, get back on your knees. Keep pressing in.”
Surrender is the most painful part, but it’s the most essential. We are called to live lives of surrender, receiving our orders from Christ Himself in every moment of every day, taking up our cross and following Him. That is a picture of surrender, which is realized by a life of sacrifice and suffering.
We die daily, said Apostle Paul (see 1 Corinthians 15:31).
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God, (Colossians 3:3, KJV).
What Attracts Christ
Christ is attracted to the heart that genuinely desires Him for who He is instead of for what He can do. He is attracted to humble hearts that relinquish all control and deny the lordship of our own lives. This is the heart that woos Him. This is when His presence begins to manifest. Christ is pleased with hearts of faith that allow Him entrance and perfect liberty, inviting Him to be who He truly is: LORD. He is drawn and wooed by those whose hearts love Him more than their own lives. He is attracted to those who, despite their own weakness, sin and failures, rely upon His redemption instead of their own righteousness.
Become a vessel He can fill.
The secret place is where you’ll meet with Him. It’s a place you must prepare for Him. This sacred space is where you’ll enter into His Holy of Holies. This is where you are truly transformed into His image. This is where your relationship with Christ becomes your sustenance each and every day of your life.
Get ready to live differently. Once you prepare a place for the person and presence of Christ, He will surely come.
You’ll never be the same.
Cheers & Shalom,