Today there is a lot of attention given to the use of weapons. Political controversy over the use of weapons regularly hits the media; movies often include scenes with violent weaponry; the gaming industry adds interactivity with an array of imaginary weapons; and we are frequently informed of newer and more destructive armaments in development.
This can present a very discouraging picture of the times we live in, but there is another way of looking at things. We can take a more spiritual view, and the best way I have found to do this is to study the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, for their spiritual instruction and promises.
In the Scriptures, the Apostle Paul assures us: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Corinthians 10:3–5).
The portion in parentheses was chosen by Mrs. Eddy to be the motto of this magazine from the time it was first published in 1883. But what are these weapons of our warfare if they are not carnal? And, what are the strongholds that are to be pulled down?
Paul was obviously referring to more than physical weaponry; he must have been referring to spiritual weapons, which Christian Science teaches us to employ. To understand what they are, it’s vital to understand the difference between the carnal mind, or mortal mind, and the divine Mind, God.
Paul speaks of the carnal mind as “enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). It would seem, then, that the “strong holds” that need to be destroyed are made up of thoughts that do not represent God’s law, which Christian Science shows is wholly good.
Science and Health differentiates between mortal mind and divine Mind and clarifies that in reality, all is actually divine Mind: “What we term mortal mind or carnal mind, dependent on matter for manifestation, is not Mind. God is Mind: all that Mind, God, is, or hath made, is good, and He made all” (p. 311). Mortal mind, then, manifesting itself as matter, includes all evil, disease, and death; whereas, “Immortal Mind is God; and this Mind is made manifest in all thoughts and desires that draw mankind toward purity, health, holiness, and the spiritual facts of being” (Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 37).
As we better understand the “spiritual facts of being” and true creation, and let our thought be filled with divine Mind—and as we express qualities such as love, courage, strength, honesty, and trust in God—we’re mentally taking a stand for Truth. These spiritual truths and God-derived qualities are spiritual weapons, which ultimately destroy the strongholds of mortal mind—such as fear, hatred, dishonesty, self-will, aggression, sensualism, etc.
The inspiring story of David and Goliath serves as an example of employing spiritual weaponry. Through spiritual discernment we can see that even though David did indeed slay Goliath with a stone, it was his fearlessness of what seemed to be a gigantic evil, and his trust in God, that gained the victory. He went forth with a sling and five smooth stones in his shepherd’s bag, and before his encounter with Goliath, he said: “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand” (I Samuel 17:45, 46).
As I pondered the spiritual meaning of the five smooth stones David chose, it occurred to me to also study what Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health about “the chief stones in the temple,” which she says are found in postulates. The first of five postulates is “that Life is God, good, and not evil” (p. 288). A deeper study of these postulates strengthens our understanding of the allness of God and man’s spiritual nature, which is not subject to evil. We can go forward “armed” with these truths.
The articles and testimonies recorded within the pages of this magazine show how the strongholds of mortal mind have been pulled down by God, as individuals have used their spiritual weapons, understanding and demonstrating God’s Word.
Another example of a spiritual response to evil is Christ Jesus’ response to Judas. In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes: “Judas had the world’s weapons. Jesus had not one of them, and chose not the world’s means of defence. ‘He opened not his mouth.’ The great demonstrator of Truth and Love was silent before envy and hate” (p. 48). The marginal heading next to this paragraph is “Defensive weapons.” Science and Health also says, “The weapons of bigotry, ignorance, envy, fall before an honest heart” (p. 464).
In both the Bible and Science and Health, there’s mention of a “two-edged sword.” In Hebrews, the Word of God is said to be “sharper than any two-edged sword” (4:12), and in Science and Health, it says that “Truth is a two-edged sword, guarding and guiding,” and it’s described as “radiant with mercy and justice” (p. 538). This suggests to me that Christian Science treatment takes the two-edged sword in hand with the affirmation of Truth and the denial of error. God’s mighty Word penetrates like a sword—it is swift and immediate—and it heals. There is no waiting for this Truth—it is always right where we are, and it is indeed powerful!
I had the opportunity to prove this in practice when a friend and I were held at gunpoint after walking into an art gallery where a robbery was in progress. We were ushered into a back room, tied up, and verbally threatened while the disguised robber pointed his gun at us. My friend is also a Christian Scientist, and I knew that we both were actively praying. After the initial surprise of being confronted, we were each able to overcome a sense of fear by silently declaring God’s presence and control. We knew that divine Mind was truly governing all of us, including the man with the gun. We knew we were safe because of God’s ever-presence.
We were able to overcome our fear, both of the robber and his gun, which at one point discharged without harm to anyone. He went through our purses, taking our licenses, and he even took a diamond ring from my friend’s hand. Even as this occurred, we endeavored to know that man, made in God’s image, as each of us truly is, is not evil or dishonest. The robber eventually left with many valuable pieces of art, but with no one having been hurt.
We were able to quickly disentangle the ropes and call the police. The FBI was involved because of the value of the artwork. After we were interviewed by the authorities, we went on about our day, leaving it all in the hands of God. I’m grateful to say that I slept very peacefully that night. During the days that followed, I continued to pray about the situation, declaring that God’s order and harmony fill all space. Nothing could be lost or out of His control and order. I felt no animosity toward the thief but endeavored to understand that he was under God’s government, instead of under the influence of evil.
About a year later, I received a call from a prosecuting attorney on the other side of the country. The thief had been caught, and all that he had stolen was recovered, including my friend’s ring. I was asked to fly out to testify at the trial, and in preparation for this, a court psychologist contacted me.
I was asked many questions about what this incident had done to my mental health, and even had suggested to me that I must have been traumatized in some way by the event. I responded that I had felt only gratitude for our safety and had no subsequent anxious thoughts or feelings about the robbery. The psychologist seemed very surprised by this, so I explained that I was a Christian Scientist and shared that it was my faith and trust in God’s control that enabled me to feel a complete sense of peace. Incidentally, the thief was found guilty and sentenced for his crime, and the stolen items were returned.
This experience helped me see the importance of “casting down imaginations.” My friend and I knew we couldn’t give in to the temptation to speculate about what might happen. We had to bring our thoughts “to the obedience of Christ” by knowing what was true about God and His creation.
Whenever we are tempted to accept the negative situations imaged forth by mortal mind, we must instead replace these erroneous images with a correct view as taught in Christian Science—of God’s all-power, and of all being truly under His control. When the power of Truth and Love is understood, mortal mind is proved to have no power.
Studying the Bible and Science and Health helps us to discover this protective citadel of Truth and Love in our daily lives. Truth and Love provide the spiritual weapons and shield available to everyone.
“Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort. And not only yourselves are safe, but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited” (Mary Baker Eddy, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 210).
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