Second 8th Week® Ministries

Living Apostles Today | Restoring the Church Back to Her First Love

How to Experience Increase
How to Experience Increase
By Teacher Maria vonAnderseck
 
One thing you gotta know by now is that Satan is expert at engineering an increase and abundance mindset—apart from God. God has a plan to enrich you every day in Jesus Christ and Satan has a plan to counterfeit God’s enrichment.
 
From the beginning, God showed us that He designed our souls for increase, for He said to Adam, “Be fruitful and multiply”. The problem is, due to a veracious appetite to increase self, most believers cannot discern the counterfeit increase from the real deal.
 
The Natural Man Vs the Spiritual Man
 
The vulnerability experienced by most believers—you guessed it – is to think according to the natural man. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)
 
Whatever God says in the Bible, the natural man takes for himself. The natural man uses the Bible as a mirror to see an image of himself, which is really bad because true faith is supposed to reflect Jesus Christ.
 
It gets worse. God is expecting you to reciprocate on His level, which the natural man cannot do. The natural man can only reciprocate on the level of his vulnerability, within the scope of his eyesight (the flesh). The natural man cannot see beyond the horizon of the flesh.
 
A fellow laborer in the Body, Teacher Wendy Nilsson, shared that a common frustration expressed by those she coaches is the lack of reciprocation in kind. What’s so cool is to see the Lord work. As He begins with the foundation up, she’s able to get them to see that they’re not thinking on the same level as their spouse or friend and not accounting for differences.
 
It feels good to have our likeness reciprocated. It feels good to know that the people we care about get us. It helps us feel connected to them and it’s frustrating when they don’t. The natural man does the same thing with God; he builds connections with God in all the things that makes him (the natural man) feel good. So, he’s calling the shots… calling these good feelings, God.
 
The natural man wants his image and likeness to be reciprocated and approaches the Bible with this intent.
 
The spiritual man is not born, he is developed from the foundation up. The spiritual man works from the framework of truth and foundation knowledge of the new covenant received by instruction from Jesus’ apostles.
 
The natural man thinks he can “be spiritual” by asking the Holy Spirit to teach him. He’s carving out a safe place that he can call good. He’s thinking, “I’ve done a good thing for myself. I’ve made a spiritual safety net to let me know that when I read the scriptures there’s something in place to prevent the natural man from taking over.”
 
This spiritual configuration looks good and feels right… but it isn’t God. How can you know? Let’s first check out where the natural man goes. He’s seen to remake absolute truth into a never ending journey. He says, “If we commit to the journey of seeking truth, we will not be duped by its counterfeit.”
 
This behavior (to make truth a quest rather than a present reality) is tied to the fear of being tricked, which makes the natural man feel vulnerable. His reaction is his shield (the false journey) to hide his vulnerability... and that feels good… but it isn’t God.
 
We next take a look at the natural man’s authentication process. Earlier we said that the natural man wants his image and likeness to be reciprocated and approaches the Bible with this intent. The natural man draws from his own self image to authenticate the meaning of scripture. He uses his aspiration, principles, and imagination as a witness to verify and validate what he’s receiving matches with what he was expecting.
 
The Invisible Poison: Aspiration, Principle, and Imagination
 
Deserted mines are said to “exhale invisible death” in that they emit poisonous gases. Signs read “DANGER” “BAD AIR” to warn the curious at heart not to give in to their impulse to take a peek inside.  
 
In the same way, human aspiration, principle, and imagination are an invisible, but deadly spiritual influence. They are the devil’s deadly trio. The spirit of this world works through them to help sell his counterfeit system. One’s aspiration masquerades as God’s grace, one’s principle masquerades as God’s truth, and one’s imagination masquerades as God’s promise and hope.
 
It doesn’t matter how good this looks to the natural man, how popular and accepted it is to commit yourself to this false journey (others have done it and have shared their high hopes and points of progression); how deeply spiritual it makes you feel as you collect seemingly sound nuggets along the way; how sensible it seems – it is contrary to God’s plan for you to receive and abide in His truth.
 
The Holy Spirit WILL lead you in your daily growth cycle, but He will NOT lead you onto a journey in search of truth. You’ll need to get the blueprint of truth from the sanctified steward to whom Jesus entrusted it. The apostles’ office is called a gift from God to you because your faith can only increase when you are equipped with truth.
 
If the spiritual man hasn’t been properly developed, it’s the natural man that’s stepping up to the plate every time you read the scriptures. So, to be honest, brutally honest with yourself and with God, you have to ask yourself, “Who’s reading the Bible, the natural man or the spiritual man?”
 
Do that right now. I’m serious; don’t put it off for later; do it now. Before you can move on, before you can increase with the increase of God, you have to ask this pivotal, but painful question. We’ll do it together, “When I’m reading the Bible, am I using the eyes of the natural man or the eyes of the spiritual man?”
 
Now we’re going to further discern each to help you answer that question and get you on the right path for increase – God’s way. This is an area of discernment that has been sadly neglected. We increase by God’s gifts, but if you can’t discern God’s gifts and how to increase with them, you’ll always be following the wrong map and falling victim to Satan’s wiles.
 
Increase With God’s Heavenly Gifts
 
We said that, from the beginning, God showed us that He designed our souls for increase, for He said to Adam, “Be fruitful and multiply”. The simple truth is that when the natural man reads the Bible he interprets increase to be about himself (faith is referencing self—it is self referencing), but when the spiritual man reads the Bible he interprets increase to be about Jesus Christ (his new reference point).
 
The difference between the natural man and the spiritual man is enormous. Whereas the natural man, when he reads the word “gift” in the Bible thinks carnally about himself to fit the “gifts” to his signature skills and talents that God bestowed upon his soul; he  thinks about how God might be entrusting him to increase in these gifts to his upmost ability. Nothing could be further from the truth.  
 
God tells us all very plainly about His gift to us: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)
 
What is this “good” and “perfect” gift James is speaking of? Thinking carnally, a believer is not able to identify the gift God is really talking about and so speaks in an open-ended way that leaves you open to exploitation. 
 
When teaching about the gifts that God entrusts to us, the natural man will use words like “whatever” or “something”. Let’s take a look at a couple of recent tweets by a Christian author who’s not aware that he’s reading scripture through the eyes of the natural man.
 
1. “When God entrusts something to us, He wants us to multiply it, not just maintain it!
2. “Whatever He gives us, we should multiply and present back to Him.”
3. “God's first command was to "be fruitful and multiply." Whatever He gives us, we should multiply and present back to Him.”
 
This author (and there are many like him) is caught dead to rights making a misguided and deceptive switch. His signature gifts are being used as a substitute for the gifts of Christ. Strongly resolved to strike pay dirt with his readers, he appeals to their natural appetite to discover God’s will and purpose in themselves and he plays into the hands of the devil, allowing the natural man to take over his faith.
 
The Perfect Gifts is Jesus Christ
 
When God speaks of giving us a gift, He is speaking of giving to us Jesus Christ. He is referencing Jesus Christ. He said so, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
 
God’s gift is not “something” or “whatever”. Jesus is the gift of God to you. God’s command is “Behold Me! Behold Me!” (Isaiah 65:1) We are to behold Jesus Christ in our faith and this is why He is the divine gift, the gift from above. (Hebrews 6:4)
 
God carefully packaged Jesus Christ in the new covenant knowledge so that we would behold Him and not be as the world, searching for truth in an effort to shield ourselves from trickery.
 
God’s Gifts are Packaged in Grace
 
Every gift of Christ is packaged in grace to feed you and empower you. You are thus “enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge”. (1 Corinthians 15)
 
Grace is the token (gift) that represents Jesus Christ and God made it possible for you to received new gifts of grace every day by giving you the 9 spiritual tools of the new covenant for your faith to activate grace.
 
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
 
The tools are God’s pipeline to His throne so that you can receive an abundance of His gifts of grace every day and increase your soul in His virtues – every day.
 
Even as the spiritual man is developed from the foundation up, so is he also equipped to labor with each of Jesus’ tools to receive grace and more grace; he is equipped to identify the power of God in each gift of grace, how to steward grace to multiply God’s power to the body of Christ; he is equipped to grow in grace to fulfill  God’s plan to increase his soul in the fruits of Christ.
 
Reciprocate in Kind
 
No cheating, now! You can’t take the thing of the kingdom of man and use them to return these gifts to the Lord, to increase in the kingdom of God. That’s cheating.
 
Each kingdom is known by its own substance. The animal kingdom, the plant kingdom, the kingdom of man (the kingdom of the flesh), the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of darkness. Each kingdom is known by its own substance and increases after the substance of its own kind.
 
“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.” (Genesis 1:11)
 
Proverbs 3:9, “Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase.” God showed us that He designed the soul to increase in fruit. Every time we see fruitful fields of wheat, fruitful vineyards ready for harvest, and olive trees whose branches are heavy with fruit, we feel a yearning in our own heart to increase.
 
What you see in nature is a parable of the God-Code written within your own soul. Through nature God preaches to us His expectation for our souls to be fruitful in His kingdom after His own kind. We cannot honor God with the substance of our own souls (kingdom of man), but with the substance of His soul.
 
This is why God sent us the divine gift in Christ Jesus our Lord. He gave us a token of Himself to return to Him in kind. This is your front row seat to the New Testament priesthood. As a Christian, you are to serve God with the tokens of Jesus Christ to return to Him the increase of fruit born in the soul by the power of the Holy Spirit. Your life is one long fruit bearing season and your heavenly Father is looking forward to the harvest.
 
Now that you’re learning how to offer to God spiritual sacrifices of prophecy at the altar of Christ, you’re gaining discernment about true worship. The natural man thought about presenting to God the gift of music, singing, and dancing (kingdom of man) and thought that he would sing to God to show God how much he was loved, respected, honored, and praised.
 
But this is contrary to God’s commandment to present to Him the token received. God so loved the world that He gave Jesus Christ (the token of Himself) to return to Him in prophecy (praise) the abundance of His grace.
 
Again, for those who missed it in any of Apostle Eric’s lessons or articles, it’s worth repeating here; God designed the soul of man to labor to enter into rest. God labored for six days, creating the earth and heavens and rested on the 7th day. He thus preached to us that He designed our souls in His likeness. We also labor to enter into rest.
 
If we labor with the substance of the kingdom of man, the soul does not find completion – does not enter into rest. When laboring with the substance of the kingdom of God, the soul finds completion in the things of Christ – and enters into rest.  Thus God fulfills His promise that He would be our rest.
 
For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into MY rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.” (Hebrews 4:3)
 
“Let us labor therefore to enter into THAT rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” (Hebrews 4:11)
 
The Abundance of Grace
 
“For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:15)
 
The gift of grace is abundant in that it is received on a daily basis for the labor of faith, for the exchange of charity, for the increase of the soul in the fruit of Christ (substance in the soul). No short cuts, now! I can hear some saying, “I’m not a robot, I don’t have to do it your way or say it your way; I don’t want formulas; I can follow God my own way; I can hear the Spirit for myself.”
 
While it’s true that God deals with each of us individually in our daily growth cycles, we all follow the same pattern and blueprint of truth (Don’t get suckered into believing God wants to lead you on a life long journey in search of truth, which translated means to wander endlessly in the wilderness).
 
To find your own way means to follow the pattern of the flesh, which is rebellion = the spirit of witchcraft that has entered into the church even as the Lord spoke through Samuel saying, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” (1 Samuel 15:23)
 
Prior to restoring the element of grace through Apostle Eric’s ministry, grace sat in a pickle jar in the basement of the church, collecting dust. Now that believers are using the EVA Grace Wheel and Grace lessons and study guides, the gift of grace is again being experienced as a tangible, daily experience of God’s power.
 
You’re now understanding grace for salvation, grace for growth, and grace for calling. So then, now that you are learning how to identify the 9 operations of God in grace you can identify when you receive a gift of grace and what to do with it.
 
When you receive the gift of grace from God it must be mixed with truth, used for regeneration, sown to the body, and presented back to God in charity. The Holy Spirit follows this cycle or rhythm. In this way, you’ve presented the gift back to God = the substance of Christ with increase.
 
Earlier we said that Satan is expert at engineering an increase and abundance mindset apart from God. He uses your own signature and natural hunger for the God-Code as a template to do that. Some Christian authors advise, “Don't aim for abundance. Aim to honor God by stewarding the things He has entrusted to you well and presenting them back to Him.” That’s the counterfeit increase. You’re being led to use the moral code to navigate around the drive of the God-Code to justify the stewardship of the things of the flesh.
 
True faith is a deliberate labor with the gift of grace for the deliberate increase of the substance of God’s kingdom. Your aim is to increase by the increase of God and when in covenant, you’re well equipped to do so.
 
I’ll always bring you back to this point: While it is true that you did receive your signature gifts from God, He is not expecting you to return these to Him. Neither is God asking you to honor Him by being a good steward of your money and goods. It’s a prudent thing to do, but it doesn’t give substance to the soul and does not increase His kingdom.
 
I said it earlier and will say it again, God has not entrusted your signature gifts to you for the purpose of presenting them back to Him. God wants you to make a choice of faith to select Jesus Christ as the gift you will present to Him. Use the heavenly tokens.
 
The Gift of Jesus Christ is Perfect
 
The gift of Jesus Christ is perfect, but when mixed with your principle (the record of your own soul—the kingdom of man), it no longer reflects Jesus Christ, it reflects you, so it no longer is the perfect gift, is it?
 
The gift of Jesus Christ is perfect and thus, when you touch Him, using His tools, your faith reflects Him = your faith is perfect. That’s God’s expectation, that your faith be perfect. That’s why He said, “Be ye holy as I am holy.” Your faith must reflect Me. This is true holiness.
 
The gift of Jesus Christ is perfect, but when mixed with aspiration (the doctrine and traditions of man reflect his own image), it no longer reflects Jesus Christ, it reflects you, so it is no longer the perfect gift, is it?
 
Whenever the natural man reads the word “perfect” in the Bible, he thinks of himself and his flaws and weaknesses and experiences a bruising of the will. He’s put faith on the battlefield of the flesh and opened the door to doubt, dread, and discouragement. He experiences a sinking feeling inside, sighs hopefully, “Thank God, He accepts me as I am. I don’t have to be perfect (what a relief!).”
 
Contrary to popular belief, God does not receive you as you are—without Christ. He rather receives Jesus Christ back to Himself. These are the conditions of your salvation. Your soul must be fruitful; you must increase with the gift of God; your faith must reflect Him; you must reciprocate in kind. God gave us a way to reciprocate in kind. That way is called your priesthood. You were called out of the world, equipped with grace and truth to return to God in the fulness of His Son.

Image credit: Emilio Dellepiane @Flickr


 

Last Revised: 2015-10-22

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