I want to tell you why this is my focus today. A man gave a testimony of healing right here in our local Christian Science church on a Wednesday night. He visits the area a couple times a year, so he comes to church here a couple times a year. He was deeply concerned about one of his daughters—she was very ill. And she was healed. He humbly closed his testimony with these words: “I’ll be very grateful when I don’t become fearful anymore, but until then I’m very grateful I have Christian Science to handle the fear.”
I found that very touching. We know not to be afraid. We don’t want to be afraid. So the power of God, the law of Love, is at work for us removing the fear and removing the material evidence which is so deceptive. Christ Jesus proved these laws of Love, showing us how to do this. “Be not afraid!” (John 6:20). He said this to his disciples. He even told a man whose daughter had died that he should not be fearful. Jesus’ words, before he raised the child from the dead, were “Be not afraid, only believe” (Mark 5:36).
I think that’s why, in her textbook on healing, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, directs us to begin by allaying the fear (see p. 411). How do we do that? How is fear removed? That would be a staggering task if we were to take it personally. It’s the power of divine Love that removes the fear. The Bible tells us: “There is no fear in Love. Perfect Love [in other words, God’s love] casts out fear” (see I John 4:18). That makes sense when you think about it. We know God is All, so that tells us divine Love is All. What does that say about fear? The allness of God, of Love, tells us there is no fear!
Now, does “Love casts out fear” happen because Love gets really tough and removes all the fear? No. Love casts out every fear by its allness. It’s not Love over here in this corner and all the rest is fear. Instead, it’s Love is all, so how could there be any fear?
In explaining this vital point about how to heal spiritually, Mary Baker Eddy writes, speaking of Christian Science: “Science saith to fear, ‘You are the cause of all sickness; but you are a self-constituted falsity,—you are darkness, nothingness. You are without ‘hope and without God in the world.’ You do not exist, and have no right to exist, for ‘perfect Love casteth out fear’ ” (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 61).
What is that saying? First, it’s explaining how fear tries to operate: Fear causes sickness, all disease. Fear is darkness, but it’s nothingness because it’s without God! So we have this divine authority to cast out fear in God’s name. “Fear, you do not exist.” And what’s the reason? How can we say that? Because of the allness of God! Divine allness does not include fear. You can’t have the allness of God and fear!
Do we get to participate in this? Absolutely! But the power is God. The power is divine.
I’m going to read just a little bit from the Bible—New Testament—in the book of John, and I’ve turned here to chapter 6. I’m starting at verse 17. The disciples have gotten into a ship. “It was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid.”
Be quiet a moment. Think about that. What that means. “It is I.”
Right in the middle of all the upheaval—in the family, at the office, in the body. Instead, “It is I.” It is Christ, not the mounting waves swamping your ship (even sinking your ship), not the fear rushing in and taking over. Instead, Christ is taking over your consciousness. Right where all that other stuff is going on, “It is I.” Christ, Love.
Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “Christian scientific practice . . .” [and that’s referring to anyone wanting to heal spiritually—your healing practice] “… begins with Christ’s keynote of harmony, ‘Be not afraid!’ ” (Science and Health, p. 410). Actually, Christ’s keynote of harmony is Christ’s keynote of health.
And it begins with “Be not afraid!” That’s where we begin. Always. Now that’s not news. That’s not a surprise. But how we do this may seem surprising. It’s God’s love—not us—that casts out fear. We nail the fear, but divine Love is the power that destroys it.
Your day begins with “Be not afraid.” Your healing treatment begins with “allaying the fear.”
These textbooks on how-to-heal—the Bible and Science and Health—tell us: “Start by not being afraid, and the starting point is God.” We start with God’s powerful love to destroy the fear. But that’s missing something! That’s not quite right. Instead of, “Start with God’s love to destroy the fear,” isn’t it actually, “Start with God’s love destroys the fear”?
What’s the difference? Sure, “start with God’s love to destroy the fear” puts the onus on you—you must do it. But “God’s love destroys the fear” honors God, infinite Love, as the power at work. That’s a significant difference. And we go even further. God’s love destroys the fear means what? In the allness of Love, there is no fear. Again, you can’t have the allness of God, and fear. That’s impossible! So, “Love—divine Love itself—casts out every fear” is hugely different from “You must stop being afraid.”
It goes back to something God told me years ago. I was about to give my very first lecture. I didn’t feel nervous, but when this idea came through in my praying that day, I was ready to roll: “You’re not asked to have the power; you’re just asked to honor the power.”
So it never becomes you versus fear. It’s always divine Love versus fear. What are we saying? It’s God’s allness versus fear.
Let’s name some fears, so we know what we’re talking about. What falls under the category of fear?
Is anger fear?
Is any negative feeling fear?
Is willfulness fear?
Is some sickness fear?
Is every sickness fear?
Is medical pressure fear?
Are there negative material feelings that sit outside the realm of fear, or is every denial of God fear?
So when we say, “God’s allness versus fear,” we’re saying God’s allness dismisses anything that denies God. So, that statement we touched on earlier, “always begin by allaying the fear,” is because everything that denies God is fear.
If you have a Bible right there, open it to First John, chapter 4:18. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” I read that verse forward, and then backward. “He that feareth is not made perfect in Love because fear hath torment; but perfect Love casteth out fear. There is no fear in Love.” In other words, I want to conclude with the power of God, the power of divine Love, at work, rather than with the explanation of how fear tries to work.
So, “there is no fear in Love.” That’s not saying, “There should be no fear in Love.” Instead, “There is no fear in Love.” Since Love is All, then there is no fear. So we know fear is an impostor, a fraud, not the authority it appears to be.
Leave your Bible open and at the same time, if you have the book Science and Health, open it to page 410: line 17. Read those couple of sentences to yourself. It’s quoting the Bible verse from First John that there is no fear in love. What do you notice about the capitalization? The word Love is capitalized in Science and Health. What difference does that make?
It moves us out of, “Oh, my loving isn’t perfect; my loving isn’t good enough to heal this. I can’t do this” but the capital L Love moves it into “Oh, God is Love. That’s the power. Oh, this is about God!” It’s not about you and can you do it?
This is about God. This is about God. This is about God.
Mary Baker Eddy dared to take God at His Word: “I am God, and there is none else.” There is no fear.
“Perfect Love casts out fear” puts “Be not afraid” in a very different context. “Be not afraid” is spiritual law, spiritual power, not personal accomplishment. When Jesus said, “Be not afraid,” he was including in that command the powerful fact that there is no fear.
Jesus knew God. He knew God—as Love. “Be not afraid” is not pitting us against fear. It’s assuring us there is no fear.
What a difference between “You better not be afraid” and “There is no fear.” This is a game changer.
We know we’re not “supposed” to be afraid. If we’re fearing something openly or even secretly, we are not free of it. We certainly say no to any and every fear. But it’s God’s allness, Love’s allness, at work in you. Love divine is doing this for us. Love is the power in your life. That’s why fearlessness reigns. Get radical.
Face some fears, like this one: “I must not be a very good spiritual thinker, spiritual healer.” Whoa! It’s the Christ, not you, that heals. One of my students e-mailed that she is learning to be “faster than fear!” We eradicate the parade of fear much more rapidly when we see fear as an impostor.
Here’s another fear: “Will I ever be free of this?” Isn’t this discouragement just fear? And it’s not your fear! It’s how the world tends to think. These are the same arguments of all time—certainly the same temptations Jesus faced. Same old, same old.
In Matthew 4:1–11 we have the account of Jesus being tempted. This happens to be my favorite Scripture. Jesus was facing down the fears damning him. They were arguing, “If you were the son of God ….” And isn’t it interesting Jesus did not argue with these negative thoughts. He argued against them by affirming the truth “It is written”—the truth of God and man—and that’s how he cast out the plea of fear.
And how did the next argument begin, the next suggestion against Jesus? With the same personal put-down! “If you were the son of God ….” In today’s words: If you were a good spiritual healer …. So we do just what Jesus was teaching us in Matthew 4; we stay with the truth more persistently, and certainly more joyfully.
Jesus was not declaring some secret truths you don’t know. We know what he said. We know what he prayed. On some occasions he even shared what he thought. He told us. No one was there at the temptations or at Gethsemane to record what he was thinking. How kind that he told us! We actually have the truth Jesus was working with and relying on for healing. So we’re not looking for some unknown truths. He told us to cast out fear because he knew fear was not a power. He knew there was no power apart from God. He knew there was no fear.
Some of you may remember that President Franklin Roosevelt said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” We know what he meant, but we do not fear fear! We handle fear with the power of divine Love.
Jesus said it well: “Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock” (Matthew 7:24, 25). The Rock—Christ Truth—fearless Truth! Jesus didn’t say the storms wouldn’t come because we built on the rock. He said we’d survive the storms because we’re on that Rock, Christ!
Let’s talk for a moment about the connection between fear and disease. We know fear can be very aggressive. It’s aggressive even when it’s subtle. Fear is aggressive because it sneaks in, or charges in unannounced and parades as if it’s us, as if it were our own thought. Mary Baker Eddy nails it as aggressive mental suggestion.
What about disease? Are you willing to move out of the assumption that disease is a physical entity? Then you’re ready to move more quickly toward healing. Like fear, cancer and diabetes and arthritis are also aggressive. Are you willing to admit they are not conditions? They are suggestions. Not aggressive reality. Not aggressive power. Not aggressive truth. Instead, aggressive mental suggestion.
So, we connect the dots. Since fear is aggressive mental suggestion and disease is aggressive mental suggestion, what is that saying? Disease is fear. Science and Health happens to tell us that. Very clearly. “Disease is an experience of so-called mortal mind. It is fear made manifest on the body” (p. 493). Shorten that up: Disease is fear.
But we already know divine Love casts out fear. So, divine Love casts out disease. It’s one and the same action. A hymn affirms that connection: “Love casts out every fear … Love heals our every ill” (Margaret Morrison, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 179, © CSBD). Again, it’s one and the same action.
Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, understood the nothingness of fear because she understood the allness of God. She wrote to one of her students: “The healing will grow more easy and be more immediate as you realize that God, Good, is all and Good is Love. You must gain Love [and I’m going to interrupt there for a minute. She’s talking about God’s love, divine Love], and lose the false sense called love. You must feel the Love that never faileth, that perfect sense of divine power that makes healing no longer power but grace. Then you will have the Love that casts out fear, and when fear is gone, doubt is gone and your work is done” (Mary Baker Eddy: Christian Healer, Amplified Edition, p. 396).
Mary Baker Eddy proved the powerlessness of fear in hundreds of healings. One day a man came to see her who was wearing dark goggles. He told her one of his eyes had been destroyed in an accident and he wore the dark goggles to hide the bad eye. The man was a circus performer, and she had once seen him jump from a great height. She asked him if he was afraid when he took that great leap. He said if he were afraid the jump was too high, he’d be killed. After talking with him for a while, she said, “Why not apply the same rule to your eye?” (Namely, fearlessness.) As she continued to visit with him, his fear was gone, and his thought was full of hope and joy. He did not realize the blessing he received at that moment, but after he left, by the time he got to the station, his eye was healed (see Christian Healer, Amplified Edition, pp. 210–211).
No wonder she wrote that those who “do not believe in the reality of disease, heal disease …” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 300). Wow! Those who do not believe in the reality of disease—in other words, those who are not afraid—heal disease. But let’s put that in the context of what we’re talking about. Those who admit that divine Love casts out fear, heal disease. God’s love casts out fear equals God’s love casts out disease.
Do you accept that? Do you believe that? Then we stop excusing disease: “Well, this is hereditary; and that other started years ago; and this is because I’m always so exhausted; and that’s because I ate such and such.”
Thank You, dear divine Mind, Truth, Spirit, for causing us to wake up out of the belief in disease. We wake up to the love of Spirit, the love of Truth. We’re not trying to make disease go away; we’re seeing there is no disease. Because we’re cherishing God’s allness, Spirit’s allness, Love’s allness.
Are all the arguments you face fear? Yes! It’s not a sore leg, a diagnosed cancer, a tough relationship, a financial loss. It’s fear. Just fear.
Another hymn tells us where we get the power to dismiss fear: “Fear not, I am with thee.” It doesn’t say: Fear not, you can do it. “Fear not, I am with thee … I am thy God, I will still give thee aid; I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand …” (Christian Science Hymnal, No. 123, adapt., © CSBD).
So, make the leap! These physical challenges are the call to grow in grace and walk in Love and honor Spirit. Are you afraid to walk with God more, afraid to honor Truth daily, afraid to grow spiritually? Of course not!
Now, does that mean we don’t address the resentment and the hurt and the sorrow of the human mind? We definitely do handle it, but from what divine Mind knows, from the Science of Mind-healing, not from the suggestion that these feelings are real.
Neither the cancer nor the resentment is real.
Neither the heart disease nor the fear is real.
Neither the pain nor the pressure is real.
Neither the sickness nor the immorality is real.
Again, get more radical!
But what if you’re still afraid? Does that eliminate your being healed? God is greater than fear. God is infinitely greater than fear. I’ve seen many healings where the fear was still there. You may know Jesus’ experience with the father who was so afraid for his son that he cried out, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24). In other words, I am full of doubt and fear. Jesus did not say, “Then I can’t help you.” He healed the child. Spiritual healing is not dependent on the human mind—on the human mind getting rid of fear. Spiritual healing is dependent on Truth!
The Bible sometimes surprises us when it shows us how fear tries to dominate in a situation. I’m looking at First Kings 17:19. God provided a widow to sustain Elijah. (Actually I think God sent Elijah to sustain her.) But after a short while her son died and she blamed Elijah. And then Elijah blamed God! That’s in verse 20. And then he tried a material method (the beginning of verse 21). Why did he do those things? Perhaps he was afraid. This great, great prophet, who later ascended, may have been dealing with fear. As far as we know, he had never faced a situation like that before. He didn’t want to be afraid. We were just asking, “But what if we’re still afraid?” It’s not too late to pray! And that’s what Elijah did: “O Lord my God, I pray thee ….” Prayer to God! Prayer with God. And the child was restored to life!
We pray, and it’s the divine power of divine Love at work.
We live in an age of medical worship, but that doesn’t change divine power. The world thrives on fear of matter—and fear of medical diagnosis—and that includes when we’re giving ourselves medical diagnosis.
This book is Science and Health. It’s not You and Health. You aren’t the power. You are the receiver. We’re not being God, not playing God, not telling God. We’re loving God. A friend saw this bumper sticker: There is only one God. Why do you keep applying for His job?!
Have you ever been tempted to think, “I love spiritual healing and it really helps me in so many ways, but I’m not good with physical challenges.” Look at the way that argument comes: You don’t say or think you are really good with these other challenges. You know it’s God at work for you. But when it comes to the physical challenges, there’s a tendency to say it’s you that aren’t good at it. We don’t say God isn’t good at physical healings because there are countless healings of physical challenges. Isn’t that suggestion that we’re not good with physical problems saying, “I must do it” when it comes to physical situations? That’s no different from Matthew 4—Jesus being accused, in his own thought, that he could not make the stones into bread and thus was not even able to feed himself. Pretty basic need.
Just as an aside, do you remember a time after that when he didn’t have food for himself and that whole troupe, day in and day out. And he even fed multitudes. It was Jesus who later shared with us, “I can of mine own self do nothing” (John 5:30). He did not say, “I can do nothing,” but “I can of mine own self do nothing.” That conclusion, that inspiration, must have come out of deep praying. We cannot of our own selves heal anything. So we stop worshipping the physical appearance, and we humbly worship the power of Spirit to heal, as Jesus did.
Mary Baker Eddy asks in Science and Health: “Instead of tenaciously defending the supposed rights of disease … would it not be well to abandon the defence …?” (p. 348).
Yes. I will not deny Thy name: Omnipresence. All-presence. All-power. Healing does not take time. It takes Truth. And you have it. God is giving it to you. I’m not saying we don’t work. We do! We study and we pray; we study to give strength to our praying. It’s not a pressure; it’s precious.
These are spiritual calls, not material threats. The anti-Christ cannot stand up to the healing Christ. The anti-Christ is hatred of the spiritual idea and spiritual healing. Do we need to get better at addressing this? Of course, and that’s what our lives are about. Again, it’s not a pressure. It’s precious. Precious to be on this spiritual path, a path Mary Baker Eddy was on throughout her life, dedicated to healing, and thus able to give us this book Science and Health, coming right from the Bible, telling us God is infinitely greater than fear.
My family has had many healings. There was a time when my husband could not speak or write or read, or even think clearly. This had gone on for a long time. One evening we were both sitting in the living room. He was right across from me on the couch. He picked up a book. I knew it was the Christian Science Hymnal, and he stayed on that page, poring over it. Then he looked up and actually said a word, so longingly: “Read.” I was at his side in a second. I knew he didn’t want me to read it. I had read and read and read to him. He wanted to read those healing words of Truth. We started very slowly. “O dreamer, leave thy dreams for joyful waking [leave thy fears] … for thou art free ….” It’s a short hymn, but it took us hours. And then we got to the words: “He comes to call the dumb to joyful singing” and finally “O captive, rise, thy Saviour comes to thee” (Rosa M. Turner, No. 412, © CSBD). The Christ. The healing Christ. That was it. My husband began to talk and write and read easily and think clearly. The fear was gone. But that’s really because in the allness of God’s love, there is no fear.
A psalm reminds us God’s “thoughts are very deep” (92:5). You are safe in God’s thought. You are safe in God’s love, safe in God’s fearless love.