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A fortress indestructible

From the August 2020 issue of The Christian Science Journal

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust” (Psalms 91:1, 2). From beginning to end, the Bible is filled with accounts of deliverance from every conceivable crisis: from storms and floods, to famine and plagues. It tells of our heavenly home, where we are safe and secure. It speaks of God as a refuge against life’s tempests, and of our oneness with Him as a haven against anything that would cause harm or loss.

Where is this unassailable haven? It is a state of spiritual consciousness. Christ Jesus described it as “the kingdom of God … within you” (Luke 17:21), or God’s presence within each one of us—within reach of our consciousness right here and now. 

Jesus sometimes used the word house in his teaching as a metaphor for human consciousness (see, for example, Matthew 24:43). The woman who discovered the spiritual import of Jesus’ teachings, Mary Baker Eddy, used the same convention when illuminating the spiritual sense of the twenty-third Psalm: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house [the consciousness] of [love] for ever” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 578). 

The consciousness of divine Love has none of the physical attributes we typically associate with home, whether we’re thinking of houses, churches, or places of business. This true home is in God—in the infinitude of divine Mind, from which we are inseparable. This home is permanent, because it is in divine, unchanging Principle. It is impervious to attack, because it is in infinite, omnipotent Spirit. It is harmonious, because it is in divine Love. 

The allness and oneness of God rules out the possibility of a force or power that can oppose, threaten, harm, or destroy this home. In God, there is no breach through which evil of any kind can enter, attack, or disturb, and we truly live in God, good. Spiritual consciousness is at peace in the knowledge that all is God and His perfect manifestation. 

Destructive forces, therefore, must only be mental objections to the allness of God. These material forces seem to appear, and then are gone, which illustrates their illusory nature. They have no more power to affect us than a mirage, which appears real until the evidence of the senses is corrected by the truth. 

The physical senses exist only in belief and report only what belief dictates. As darkness disappears in the presence of light, so the evidence of the false senses disappears with the light of divine Truth in human consciousness. And the truth is that God’s creation reflects what God is. God could never create a force that could oppose Him or His creation. The permanent nature of God and His creation is our assurance that this creation is intact, unchangeable, and harmonious.

St. Paul recognized that our first line of defense against danger is not to employ the ways of the world, but to remove the fears that imagine it. He said: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (II Corinthians 10:3–5, New International Version).

For many years I have witnessed firsthand the powerful effect of spiritual understanding. Once, when rock climbing years ago, several climbers and I had spent the morning climbing a prominent rock, when a storm suddenly descended on us with no warning. We were not in a position where we could get off the rock quickly. The storm bore down on us with all its fury, leaving us exposed on one of the highest points around. We hunkered down, and I prayed, affirming God’s presence and control right then and there. In spite of the lightning that danced around us, it was clear to me that God would never put His children in danger, nor could danger ever be part of His harmonious creation.

At one point, our hair began to stand on end, and our climbing gear made crackling sounds—telltale signs that a strike was imminent. I chose not to be impressed and clung even more to the spiritual fact of God’s all-presence. That lightning strike never happened. The storm’s fury was like a mirage. The clouds cleared and the sun returned. 

Defending my consciousness from the suggestions of fear swirling around us, I was defending my true home. This defused the storm and proved to be an impenetrable fortress. There was no other way to explain it. We had been completely protected.

Mrs. Eddy discusses the effects of spiritualized consciousness in her book The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany: “… the atmosphere of the human mind, when cleansed of self and permeated with divine Love, will reflect this purified subjective state in clearer skies, less thunderbolts, tornadoes, and extremes of heat and cold;…” (p. 265). Acknowledging the law of God, divine Love, plants us firmly in our true home, forever safe and untouched by so-called physical forces. 

Threats—whether in the form of fire, flood, earthquake, disease, or accident—are suggestions that material forces can upset the harmony of God’s spiritual creation. These present themselves subtly, and sometimes not-so-subtly, as suggestions that there is no divine omnipotence. But they aren’t forces to be feared. They are nothing more than fear taking on threatening proportions in thought. 

In reality, these suggestions have no power. God’s omnipotence reigns supreme. The daily, diligent work we do to reverse even the smallest ungodlike suggestions strengthens our mental fortress, lifts us to victory over the smaller challenges, and prepares us for the larger ones. 

We don’t want to be passive repositories for the world’s noxious claims, but active eliminators of them. “How can we do this Christianly scientific work?” Mrs. Eddy asks in her book Pulpit and Press, then answers: “By intrenching ourselves in the knowledge that our true temple is no human fabrication, but the superstructure of Truth, reared on the foundation of Love, and pinnacled in Life. Such being its nature, how can our godly temple possibly be demolished, or even disturbed?” (pp. 2–3). 

Let us daily affirm the presence and superiority of good and the powerlessness and nothingness of evil. Then step by step, we will find that no suggestion of evil can alter our true home—the kingdom of heaven—in any way. We will find the fortress indestructible.

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