with Jeremy Westcott -
The deception we are living in.
We find it hard to judge ourselves. We are used to thinking the way we do, used to meeting our own needs in our own ways. But God will go deeper, revealing and judging the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. By revelation of His word and His Spirit He will show us the reality of our motives.
Search me thoroughly, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way (Psalm 139:23-24).
The difference between how we see ourselves and how God sees us is the deception we are living in.
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil
Our motives are formed by past experience and decisions, in our own lives and in those of our ancestors. Our hearts bear the record of previous generational blood line decisions, and we may have been programmed through generational patterns of iniquity. These in turn form patterns within our hearts.
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the pathway and source of all self. Its roots are sourced from satan’s trading, ‘I will ascend, I will be like God’. Trading is a pathway we follow when we seek to meet our own need. The fruit of this tree is always shiny on the outside, but it is death to us. If we could see beneath the attractive skin, see the rottenness and poison within, we would never fall for satan’s seductive lies.
Trading is exchange. It is based on the desires of our hearts, which are corrupted by sin in our nature, from Adam onwards. All sinful trading is rooted in the heart’s desire to be like God. Satan’s was the first negative trade, before time began. The first negative trade on earth was between satan and Adam and Eve: he offered them something and they gave him something in return.
The covering cherub
Over the ark of the covenant were two cherubim with wings outstretched, covering the revelation that came from the Presence of God. When they released their wings, the light of that revelation shone onto the stones that covered their body, and was reflected out into the created order.
Lucifer (one of the covering cherubs, who would become satan) gained revelation of God’s plan and purposes, and saw that the future destiny of the universe was not to be subject to him and the angels, but was assigned to mankind. He traded on that information to lead a third of the angels in rebellion, seeking to stop the outworking of God’s plan (see Ezekiel 28). He traded for future position.
Adam and Eve
Now that he is cast out of heaven, he can no longer see into God’s plans. But because he knew God’s plan for Man, Adam and Eve became his target as soon as they were created.
He came to them in the garden (Gen 3:1-7), and began by twisting God’s words, creating doubt about God in their hearts (Adam was standing right there with Eve throughout this whole scene). Eve responded by adding something of her own – ‘or touch it’ – to what God had actually said, and he moved on to an outright lie – ‘You will not surely die’. He offered them a pathway to fulfil their own destiny apart from God: ungodly, corrupted wisdom, ‘You will be like God, knowing good and evil’.
As soon as they accepted the offer, they began to follow their own source of supply and provision, sewing fig leaves together to make a covering. And Man has been covering himself with religious self-effort ever since.
The trade of information for elevation, that you can know and be like God, is the root of all humanism (elevated human capacity) and rationalism (elevated human reasoning).
Meeting our needs
God has put in us a need for acceptance and love; a need for affection, value and worth; for approval and significance; affirmation, for identity and purpose; security, safety and provision. All these needs He intends to meet Himself, through our relationship with Him. Any attempt on our part to use another source or method is trading on demonic trading floors: offering something in exchange for the meeting of a need.
Nothing good can come from this pathway. All pathways of the knowledge of good and evil produce death, even the ‘good’ ones. They substitute happiness for joy, satisfaction for fulfilment, leisure for peace, good causes for destiny; things which may appear really attractive, may make us feel good, but on this pathway they all lead to death.
Trading floors are demonic substitutes for God’s provision. They offer a perverted altar on which to sacrifice. There may be generational patterns drawing us into these trades, and familiar spirits which activate and operate them. They come with strings attached, putting us into bondage to sin and death.
When we take the pathway of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; when we opt for a shortcut to gratification, success, money, position, influence or power; when we derive our identity from performance, work or ministry, we are trading.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world (1 John 2:16).
The temptation of Jesus
Satan’s temptation of Jesus was an example of how he tries to lure us into this (Matt 4:3-10). He cast doubt on what God had said, twisting God’s word and taking it out of context; and tried to get Jesus to meet His own needs apart from God’s provision. Jesus’ answer was ‘it is written’. Unlike Eve, He added nothing to what God said.
When he took Jesus to a high mountain (it was not in this earthly realm – there is no physical mountain from which you can see all the kingdoms of the world), he showed Him His own inheritance, and offered Him a shortcut, bypassing the cross. Jesus’ reply?, ‘Go, satan’ (we need to say the same to the whispers in our head), ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’ To serve ourselves is to follow satan’s pathway.
It is quite challenging when we start to consider the thoughts and motives of our hearts.
Jesus passed this test and went out in the power of the Spirit, working miracles and destroying the works of the evil one. Had He succumbed to any of these temptations, He would never have been able to do the works of the kingdom, and would never have been able to go to the cross.
Satan will make us similar offers, often through the familiar spirits assigned to our lives.
Let’s present ourselves to God for examination, and examine ourselves regularly. Let’s be ruthlessly honest about our past, remembering that He loves each one of us. Let’s own our past trading and motives, confess our trading as sin, and seek revelation about family trading so that we can confess and deal with that too.
Father I thank you that You have made a way
For me to access your heavenly presence
By faith I step in through the veil of Jesus, through the way of the cross
Jesus, my high priest, I present myself to you in surrender as a living sacrifice
I submit to the authority of the living word in my life
I step through the veil of truth into the Holy Place
I stand in the light of your truth
I ask you to search me
Reveal my blind self to me
Show me the hidden motives of my heart
Show me where I have followed the pathway
Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
Show me where I have accepted satan’s deceptions
Reveal where I have followed earthly, natural or demonic wisdom
To meet my own needs
Show me where I have traded
By taking the shortcut to gratification
Through success, money, position, influence or power
Show me where I received my identity
From performance, work or ministry
Show me where I have formed relationships
To meet my own needs
For love, acceptance, affirmation and approval
Show me where I have sought to meet my own needs
Through humanism and rationalism
Following the forbidden pathway of self
I submit and surrender my life
To following the pathway of the tree of life as my source
I commit myself to a lifestyle of repentance for all negative trading
I repent of the patterns of sin in my heart
I commit myself to a lifestyle of renunciation of all negative trading
I renounce my sin where I have followed the pathway
Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
As my way of life
I renounce all my defence, coping and survival mechanisms
Give me revelation of my true identity as a son of God
Give me a heart secure in its identity
Renew my mind to the mind of Christ
Meet all my unmet needs in yourself
Heal all my unhealed hurts
Restore my soul to original condition
I receive your unconditional love,
Acceptance, affirmation, and approval
From the source of the tree of life
I stand transparent naked and unafraid before you
I hear you say ‘I see you and I love you’
I receive your value, esteem and worth
I choose to follow the pathway
That leads to my source, the tree of life, Jesus
I step back into this realm to walk in the ways of your kingdom
Manifest your glory through me on earth as it is in heaven
So I will fulfil my eternal destiny