How to Overcome Self Deception


Catherine Booth

"And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD."
(Hosea 2:19,20.

Knowledge is as powerless as ignorance. A person is not at all nearer to God or more like Jesus Christ simply because he has his head crammed full of the Word of God. In fact, some who have been the best acquainted with the Bible have been the greatest slaves of sin. Even ministers of Jesus Christ have confessed to me that they have been the bond slaves of some besetting sin.

The power is not in the knowledge. The power is in our union with Jesus Christ. A little child who has a real, vital union with Jesus has more power than the most cultivated theologian without a personal relationship with Christ.

The things of God can only be understood by those who have the Spirit of God. By wisdom, the world does not know God any more now than it did in the apostles' day. The things of the Spirit must be spiritually comprehended; therefore, this beautiful union cannot be explained. However, it is spoken of throughout the Bible as knowing God. After God summed up the failures of His people, He encouraged them with a promise that they should know Him. He said, "I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness for ever, and thou shalt KNOW the Lord," as though that were the end of the whole matter, truly to KNOW Him.

When Christians come to have a living union of their souls with Jesus Christ, He brings the vital sap (as it were) into the branch of the tree -- another of His own beautiful illustrations: "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me." You know what happens when a branch is broken off a tree or a vine. It retains the form of a branch, and for awhile it maintains the beauty and greenness of a branch. But it is broken off and there is no power in it. Alas! Human branches often maintain their verdure in a certain beauty, as when first lopped off. Yet, they can never bear fruit. Why? Because the communication is cut between them and the vine, and there is no sap in the fiber. Their life is cut off. A soul that is not united to Jesus Christ in this living spiritual marriage cannot bear fruit unto God.

You can be like a cut off branch. You can get so much scriptural knowledge that you can look just like a real Christian. You can get many of the feelings of a Christian. You can get the sentiments and many aspirations and desires of a real Christian. You can be so like a branch that no one except Jesus Christ may know that you are not in the true Vine, that you have never been grafted into the tree. Therefore, you go on weeping and struggling and trying to perform the functions of a living branch, when you are a dead one. You go on trying to bring forth fruit unto God, when the one indispensable condition for fruitfulness is lacking.

You may have every other condition of being a Christian. You may even be nailed to the wall close to the vine. You may be such a professing Christian that nobody would ever doubt you. You may be so close to the vine that no one can detect your lack of union with Jesus Christ except the Gardener who comes and closely inspects you. You may not have one fiber truly circulating the real spiritual sap; therefore, YOU HAVE NO POWER, and down you go when temptations come.

What weary years of strife some professing Christians have -- they would be ashamed to tell. Death sometimes forces it from their lips before they die -- trying to perform the functions of living people when they were never spiritually alive. All they have ever had has been what Paul depicts as the struggle of a poor convicted sinner unable to bring forth any fruit unto God (see Romans 7).

To know the Lord is to be conscious of the living sap circulating through your soul, anointing your eyes with eye-salve, giving you eyes to see, a voice to speak, feet to run, and hands to serve -- making you in all respects a "new creature."

Now, my dear reader, those of you who have never experienced knowing God, never mind who comes to you and brings a Bible and says, "Do you believe this and that? If you do, you are saved." Say to them, "You are a miserable comforter. I will never be content until I know God."

When Jesus Christ delivers us from the condemning, reigning power of the Law, we become married to Jesus Christ. Then we get a power to produce in our affections and hearts and lives, and all about us, such things that will delight God. "If a man love Me, he will keep My words; and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him and make Our abode with him." When a person has got the Father and the Son, he is a match for Satan and all his forces. Union with Christ! That is what we need!

When Jesus Christ comes and you know Him, you won't be ashamed who knows it. After you really get the living Christ for your husband, you will be prouder than any bride, and you will have gotten a husband worth being proud of. You will love to acknowledge and praise Him, and the day is coming when you will crown Him before the hosts of heaven. The Lord help you accept Him and put away everything that hinders His coming into your life.