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  • Rand Swift


Spiritual Warfare: Seven Deep Examinations Of The Heart

Test #1 Ephesus – The Test of First Love

As The Book of Revelation opens, which again is a book that peels back the curtain on reality, demonstrating to us there is more going on behind the scenes in the spirit realm than we can ever understand if our lives are merely wrapped up in the world of matter, we are confronted with an examination of the churches (Greek 'ekklesia' meaning those who are now fashioned to echo the image and likeness of God), and this examination is the prelude to everything else that is about to be revealed in the book.

When you understand the arena of spirit, you understand the world we see is a reflective result of things unseen, those things being animating, influencing energies that broadcast their intention into the cosmos and particularly as it relates to humankind. There are good and there are evil (not good) streams of broadcast active among us. A person is as a person is because of their own interaction with these things whether their interaction is understood by them or not understood.

As goes the heart of man...so goes the earth.

The purpose of God in man from the beginning, as mankind is uniquely created to be the echo of God in the earth, culminates as shown by Jesus Christ and as prophetically portrayed in The Book of Revelation to bring to earth a global exorcism of evil, filling the earth to the infinite degree with the splendors of life, pure life that is untainted and unmixed with any other thing.

The heart of man in relation to God is the key. So, as we open The Book of Revelation we are faced with 7 examinations of the heart of the 'ekklesia', for examination must begin with those who are destined to live as the habitation of God upon the earth.

The first up is the 'ekklesia' located in the geopolitical region known as Ephesus.

Jesus says, "Nevertheless, I have something that is against you, that is to your detriment, that being you have departed and given up your first love, having wrongfully deserted it."

The first examination is our love, but it's not just any love, it is our first love, the idea of first meaning both initiating love and highest love.

This is the love that birthed the relationship.

It's the excitement of that first glimpse, that first approach, that first moment when your eyes met and you realized this thing was real and it is mutual, it's the energy of that first conversation in which we realized, “Oh my God! I have found them. This is the One!”

Then there is that first touch and the electrifying feeling that you never want to be away from this person and so the power of the love becomes a covenant to maintain this incredible experience forever.

“You can't live on love”, I've heard them say, but they are wrong. Under the power of that energy, the world can be conquered. It must be kept alive, run to and clung to, letting nothing ever deter it.

The Ephesians were busy people. Four times Jesus commends them for their works and labor and for the load they are bearing, but he points out to them that something is wrong. It appears that life and activity has somehow taken the place of the touch and intimacy of love, and so Jesus knowing what the war that is to come is all about, comes to warn them that above and beyond everything else is the maintenance of what was there, that thing that ignited it all at the start.

What was it that energized the relationship in the beginning? Do you remember? What drew you? Do you remember? What caused you to look, to turn and to engage? Do you remember?

You have borne, you've had patience and for My names sake you've labored and haven't given up. But yet there is something now holding onto you, keeping you from the future because you are no longer discussing it, but you are leaving behind your initiating love, the love that initiated and caused everything at the beginning (Revelation 2:3-4).

The depth of relationship between Christ and the invited (the church, the ‘ekklesia’) is likened to the marriage between a man and a woman. It is called a mystery and the likeness is stunning to say the least.

The attraction dynamic is of prime importance both between man and woman and the same attraction is just as real and important in the things of the Spirit. As it is stated in the scriptures, there is going to be a co-mingling of being between the two as the once two become one entity.

But as we face the incredible spiritual battle and warfare prophesied, that between the two when the mystery of first love is sacrificed for any reason whatsoever, deterioration of union sets in.

Jesus has helpful instructions, and they are the wisdom of God;

Remember, calling back again into your mind, your thoughts and your imaginations accordingly, that initiating place, the conditions that authored and originated your state of existence from which you have now fallen away, having lost touch with its powerful effects upon you, and drink them in again, and bring forth the cause, bearing it and constructing by it all over again, performing according to those things, so return and go back now, reproducing along the lines of that same early energy and those same arts” (Revelation 2:5).

Notice Jesus is not saying, “See if you can rekindle the old flame. Get some wood and see if you can work hard to get something going again.”

Instead he is saying something far more powerful as he calls us to a known day and known experience, drawing on imaginations etched within our mind and our emotions as he says, “Remember. Bring those days and those pictographic moments and the passion of them back into your mind. Don't think about the future now, don’t think about the present and all that is weighing on it, but go back to the start and live in it again.”

Life and things and activities and work and labor and kids and mistakes and responsibilities have gotten in the way, but Jesus is saying none of those things matter, not a single one of them.

What matters is living in the energy of our beginning. Forget everything else and go back to our first love. Live there. Don't leave it.

The beauty contained within the first love, the initiation phase, contains in it the future power of the union and the salvation relevant to future.

The future may be lost if the initiating love is forgotten and no longer lived within. Go back. Go back. Go back and get once again on track.

But there is one other thing Jesus finds within the heart of Ephesus that he commends them for and we will pick it up a little later.

They are commended because they hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans.

Remember too that the Ephesians had also tried those who say they are apostles and were not, but in fact were found to be liars.

We ought to do the same.

Next Topic: Test #2 Smyrna - The Test of Truth

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