Summary: As we spend time in the secret place of prayer – in solitude, silence, and soaking – we are transformed into the image of Jesus.
TRANSFORMATION #2: THE SECRETS OF THE SECRET PLACE
OPENING TEXT: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor. 3:18).
1. The Spiritual Disciplines help us become more like Jesus.
2. The Spiritual Disciplines aren’t a measure of your spirituality.
3. The Spiritual Disciplines are tools to help us change and grow.
THE BIG IDEA: As we spend time in the secret place of prayer – in solitude, silence, and soaking – we are transformed into the image of Jesus.
INTRO TO TOPIC:
“Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness. Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next.” (1 Tim. 4:7b-8, NLT).
• I like the NKJV translation of this passage: “Bodily exercise profits little!”
• I used to use that to explain to people why I didn’t like going to the gym.
• The point is this: Spiritual disciplines are like physical exercise:
• If we want to have a healthy body that’s in shape, then we need to eat right and exercise.
• If we want to have healthy spirits, grow spiritually, and experience transformation, then we need to train ourselves for spiritual fitness.
• John Ortberg says that “we don’t need to try harder, we need to train wiser.”
• ILLUSTRATE: You hear a preacher talk about the disciplines and you decide to ‘try harder’ and it works for a day or two.
• It’s not about your willpower, but about training yourself little by little.
• You don’t set out to run a marathon tomorrow! It takes time to develop and grow.
• How do we do that? What disciplines do we need to incorporate into our lives?
• One of the most important ones is prayer, and we’re going to look at that this morning.
KEY TEXT: (John 15:4-5).
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
• The first spiritual discipline is prayer – abiding in Jesus – in the secret place.
• TESTIMONY: Discuss season of soaking, hours in my office on floor, others would join me, early morning prayer meetings. Note though that there are rhythms and seasons, and we don’t always have seasons where we can spend hours soaking (i.e. little children!).
• It’s not just about growing spiritually, but also about knowing Him more:
• “(For my determined purpose is) that I may know Him – that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him.” (Phil. 3:10, Amplified).
• You’ve heard many times: “Christianity is not a religion, it’s about a relationship.”
• Solitude is spending time with Jesus alone in the secret place of prayer.
• QUOTE: “Solitude is the furnace of transformation.” (Henri Nouwen, Way of the Heart).
• “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:6).
• As we abide in Jesus, we get to know Him better, and become more like Him.
• This key is so important in our hurried and hassled busy age. We need to unplug!
• The secret place of solitude is also a place of refreshing:
o “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.” (Psalm 23:2-3).
o “Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.” (Mark 6:30-31).
• What do we do if we’re too busy?
o QUOTE: “Deliberately say “no” more often. This will leave room for you to slow down, get alone, pour out your overburdened heart, and admit your desperate need for inner refreshment.” (Charles Swindoll, Intimacy with the Almighty).
• How can we find the time?
o If you have children, you may have to do it early in the morning or late at night.
• “We have, indeed, to fashion our own desert where we can withdraw every day, shake off our compulsions, and dwell in the gentle healing presence of the Lord.” (Henri Nouwen).