Over the last months, the Lord has been speaking to me about ascension and expansion. One thing I heard Him say initially is that many are believing for expansion and think they are living an ascended life (or hungering for that) and standing on His word, but there is a key that is often not understood or being used. I heard Him say, “Tell them this: Do what I told you to do. You are holding back, trying to make things happen on your own terms, in your own understanding of what is necessary and right. You must die to your right to self and all that entails to live unto and for Me.”
We can see this in the account of Abraham’s willingness to obey God when He told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.
“And he said, Take now thy son, thine only [son] Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (Gen 22:2 KJV)
The Hebrew word for burnt offering is olah and one of the meanings is ascent; an ascending place. There was an ascending that happened when Abraham willingly obeyed to the point of sacrificing what was most important in his life: the son that God has promised him as his inheritance and future blessing for generations to come and the nations of the earth. He obeyed in his heart first, out of love for God and faith in Him, and on the way to the place God chose Abraham “looked up.” He saw the mount of Moriah, which means chosen by Jehovah, and the root of the word means perceiving JAH (Jehovah)!
I am convinced Abraham looked up and perceived from an ascended place. He had first determined in his heart to obey and from that submitted position he moved forward and His eyes were opened. I believe he saw Jesus, the Lamb slain, and was later able to say to Isaac, “God will provide HIMSELF a lamb.” (Gen. 22:8) Jesus is that Lamb sacrificed for us and it is His Spirit that brings us to places of sacrifice He chooses and, if obedient, our subsequent ascension. Abraham had seen from the ascended place and he knew that God would provide, that He is faithful to what He has promised. Provision is found on the pathway of obedience.
Abraham’s seeing from an ascended place, moving in obedience from a heart of love for God and trusting Him with everything moved him from the promises given earlier in his journey into the expanded place of confirmed covenantal reality. He made mistakes along the way, to be sure; it is a journey, a process, and God is always working with us to get us to the place of being willing to do what He has ordained for our lives (Phil. 2:13; Heb. 13:20-21). His desire is for us to live a life of ascension – One with Him, seated with Christ in the heavenly places, operating from His mind and not our natural mind, expansion of His presence in and through our lives, and bringing His Kingdom to the earth wherever we are and where He sends us.
Our walk with the Lord is a life of continual sacrifice. As we surrender and yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit, choosing to allow God to “burn up” our own desires, we enter into a place of deeper intimacy. He fills that place in our heart with more of Himself! The beginning of Abraham’s walk was one of sacrifice. God told him to leave all that he knew and follow Him, and that’s what He asks of us as well.
The promise of blessing to Abraham was given at the beginning of his walk with God. There were other sacrifices along the way and confirmed covenant with each. After the most significant sacrifice, because of Abraham’s obedience, there was a noteworthy addition which I have highlighted in bold:
“And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only [son]: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which [is] upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” (Gen 22:15-18 KJV)
To sacrifice what is most precious to our hearts out of obedience to the Lord, there is a wrenching of self that takes place that brings us to a new level of authority because not only are we saying we trust God, but in our willingness to obey at all costs He can trust us!
Every place that I have been obedient when the Lord has asked me to sacrifice has brought an ascension – more revelation, more fruit of the Spirit, expansion of His dominion, authority and power in my life and ministry. Many times, especially with harder places of sacrifice, it comes from my wrestling with God and His asking me, “Do you trust Me?”
There is a stopping of the flow of the Holy Spirit when we are not obedient in submitting to His leading. He is asking, “Do you trust Me?” Sometimes it makes no sense to the natural mind, especially when He asks us to sacrifice what may seem to be the source of blessing.
The sacrifice He asks of us may be inconvenient, uncomfortable, seemingly insignificant or even unimportant. Do it! I sensed the Spirit of the Lord say, “The promises I’ve made, the vision I’ve given, can only be fulfilled when by My Spirit you are driven. All fleshly and soulish desire must be burned up in My Holy Fire.”
Lay it all on the altar. Lay yourself on the altar – pride, selfishness, selfish desires (including your desire to be right, to be seen, to prove yourself, to have the last word, to express yourself at any time at others’ expense, get even, etc.). A life of obedient sacrifice opens the realms of heaven, for God knows that what He has asked is the doorway to blessing that cannot come any other way.
Often there is a sacrifice of time and/or money we are spending on other things. It might even be ministry we have chosen (versus what He tells us to do), ungodly relationships or systems, conveniences, food – things He is putting His finger on that have a place in our hearts above Him. He knows what it is, and He has shown me that for many of you, He has told you but you dismissed it. He is even now bringing it to your heart by His Holy Spirit.
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Mat 16:24-25 KJV)
We often want to choose our place of, and type of, sacrifice – something that is easy to “give up” or costs little. David said he would not offer a sacrifice that cost him nothing (2 Sam 24:24). A true sacrifice costs us. I believe that this is a 2024 word for those that want to see God move in greater ways in their lives – ascension and expansion will come, but it will cost. Many have said 2024 is the year of more. If we want more of God, more of His Kingdom being expanded, more revelation and more power, more of HIS life in and through us, there is a price. Jesus paid the price for our salvation, but to bring His Kingdom in and through our lives it will cost. The true place of ascension and expansion will come from the sacrifice that God chooses…those things He puts His finger on.
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1Pe 2:5 KJV)
Our spiritual sacrifices are acceptable to God by Jesus Christ… through Him. When we think of spiritual sacrifices we think of praise and worship, tithing, offering, service, etc., but if it is through our desires and our understanding, it isn’t a spiritual sacrifice by Jesus Christ. A true spiritual sacrifice is only that which He initiates, what the Lord reveals He wants you to sacrifice. Guaranteed it will cost us our “right to self,” and all that entails. It can be very painful, but He will help you if you ask Him! He knows about sacrifice! We offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God (Rom. 12:1).
Becoming the burnt offering takes us into an ascended place – dying to self, living unto God. I hear the Spirit of the Lord saying, “If you want to come up higher, don’t be surprised by My consuming fire.” He chooses the place and the sacrifice He desires. Then He consumes it with His Holy Fire and we ascend.
“”Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see; “but in the place which the LORD chooses, in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you.” (Deu 12:13-14 NKJV)
Are you stuck? I encourage you – trust and obey God’s leading. What has He has been asking you to sacrifice? What did He ask you to do that you haven’t done? When God is asking you to make a sacrifice there is a reason for it. There is never a sacrifice He asks of you that will not bring His blessing of ascension to a greater relationship with Him and expansion of His life in and through yours. It’s a place He wants to take you that you can’t get to any other way!
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.” (Rom 12:1 KJV)