Many years ago I was attending a course which objective was to turn me into a better salesman. In those days I worked in an outlet selling sports equipment. The lecturer introduced us to something he called the 90 percent rule. He asserted based on surveys that 90 percent of everything we do is motivated by our own agenda, that is, selfishness. Most salespersons generally talked too much, he claimed. The customer could thus experience that he wasn’t the most important person during the conversation, and he would in worst case feel rather alienated. The trick was to let the customer get the feeling that he was the most important person by letting him do the talking by asking him good questions which ultimately would reveal his requirements.
The salesperson was obviously also governed by the 90 percent rule, so he of course also enjoyed being the center of the conservation in a sales situation. However, he would be empowered to alter his strategy when he was conscious about the sales process. He now knew that if he changed his approach he could increase his sale considerably. He was still governed by the 90 percent rule, but he could change his behavior if he was aware that there was an award waiting. The salesperson was still the selfish person he always had been, but he was now doing good works.
This principle is of course valid in every social or religious structure. If we receive the right incitements we are able to alter our behavior. We are still our old selves, but we have gained the necessary knowledge to manipulate ourselves and our surroundings to our benefit. I consider this is a good example of what is going on when man feeds from the tree to knowledge of good and evil.
There is also an underlying motivation behind God’s desires and works. He has in mind a succession of sons in everything He does. That is His incitement. However, His desires are purified in love. When we are feeding from the tree of life, that is, the unwavering union with Christ, our desires and motivations are in the same manner purified in love, because we are new creations. We no longer operate from the old self, which, if we are to be completely honest, was governed by the 100 percent rule.
The Holy Spirit is doing a huge work in each and every one of us convincing us that we do not longer need to scrutinize everything we do with a suspicious gaze looking for selfish motives. When we use the word huge it indicates how entrenched our former thought patterns are. We are cleansed once and for all, we have received a new heart and our union with Christ is our guarantee that every desire which surface are already purified in His love. Slowly but surely He arouses our faith to embrace this overwhelming fact. As we confess in faith that Christ is now our sustainer, our life and lives as us the Holy Spirit will turn our faith into substance, and suddenly one day we just know that we know that we are perfect in every aspect of life.