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The Bible: Our guide to fostering fearlessness

From the November 2020 issue of The Christian Science Journal

November has been transformed for me since the teachings of Christian Science led me to love the Bible. This used to be the month in which winter, which was my least favorite season, began to set in. Now it’s a month in which the warm glow of gratitude to God (Thanksgiving Day) and specifically appreciating the Bible (National Bible Week in the United States and International Day of the Bible) sets in. 

Pondering the Bible nurtures such a fresh, uplifting perspective of everything in our lives, especially when discerning the spiritual, healing message at its core, which the lens of Christian Science magnifies. One simple change that brought about for me: I’ve learned to love winter! 

But much more far-reaching fresh perspectives come through the Bible. It helps us discern our thinking and check it against the timeless standard of Christly thinking laid out in its pages. A letter from St. Paul says, “We have the mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:16), which highlights a key point in the teachings of Christian Science: The true source of our thoughts is divine Mind, God, as most clearly exemplified in Jesus. Another letter attributed to Paul points to the nature of such Mind-derived thinking: “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:7). 

What a promise! Our true consciousness is the Mind that was in Christ Jesus—fearless, powerful, loving, and sound. This beautiful, spiritual ideal is rendered practical as we understand and accept Christ, the true idea of our spiritual oneness with God, as Jesus so clearly did. He lived life so conscious of this true oneness with the Divine that fear’s dark diagnoses and prognoses—playing out in the sick minds and bodies of those he encountered—gave place to man’s true mentality as immortal Mind’s divine reflection. In light of this spiritual perception of his fellow men and women, the opposite mortal mentality surrendered its supposed hold, and the ills embraced in it—including fever, blindness, lameness, dementia, and leprosy—were healed.

We too can challenge the misconception that our mentality is less than the fearless manifestation of a fearless Mind through gaining a Christly perception of our spiritual identity. As reflections of the “perfect love” which “casteth out fear” (I John 4:18), we truly are fearless. When we see and accept this spiritual truth, fear loses its hold in human consciousness, even when the reason for it seems so rational that the fear feels as solid as concrete. 

That’s how it felt for me when dreading a pending meeting some time ago. I was transfixed by what I saw as the inevitable altercation and its aftermath. Yet the Bible offers a powerful example of finding freedom from fear when facing confrontation. 

One of the Hebrew patriarchs, Jacob, faced a far tougher challenge than mine when his brother Esau headed to meet him with four hundred men. Jacob had taken Esau’s birthright and blessing years before and was daunted by what lay ahead. As commentary regarding Genesis 32 within the Bible translation The Voice puts it: “With Esau on his way, by this time tomorrow he could well be dead and his family killed or captured. He desperately needs God’s blessing and protection, so he grieves and agonizes through the night.”

In striving to learn from such stories, I’ve been hugely helped by Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. It brings to light the spiritual meaning in these scriptural accounts. In this case, it highlights how Jacob perceived and overcame the mistaken perception that we are material rather than spiritual. 

Commenting on Jacob’s night of anguish and transformation, which the Bible depicts as Jacob wrestling with a man, Science and Health describes him wrestling with a false, material sense of manhood. It says: “Jacob was alone, wrestling with error,—struggling with a mortal sense of life, substance, and intelligence as existent in matter with its false pleasures and pains,—when an angel, a message from Truth and Love, appeared to him and smote the sinew, or strength, of his error, till he saw its unreality; and Truth, being thereby understood, gave him spiritual strength in this Peniel of divine Science” (p. 308). This inner vision of what was and wasn’t real brought Jacob an unconditional peace. A glorious, joyful reconciliation with Esau followed.

This story encouraged me to recognize that although the confrontation I feared seemed external to me, I also needed to wrestle within with the question of what is real and determinative, Spirit or matter. As I did, the dense fog of fear began to lift. It dawned on me that although the fear seemed entirely rational, its underlying nature was an acceptance that God wasn’t in control. Instead, I saw that I could trust that God’s government was “supreme in the physical realm, so-called, as well as in the spiritual,” as Science and Health says (p. 427). 

In gaining this conviction, I found the freedom to refute fear’s seeming legitimacy. A deep, holy peace rooted in a spiritual sense of God’s reality and authority took over. In that calm mental space, a new way to conduct the issue causing contention came to me, and I felt impelled to phone the other guy immediately instead of waiting for the pending encounter. To my joy, what had loomed as such a divisive issue had become a nonissue, and we had a sweet and harmonious interchange.

Whether we’re facing relationship difficulties, sickness, or lack, the Bible shows us how we gain courage and find healing by leaning on God as our ever-present source of powerful, loving, and sound thinking. Sometimes that healing occurs quickly, other times it takes perseverance. But no matter how logical and concrete a fear might seem, Christ can lift us above it. It’s never truly our thinking, because Mind, God, is fearless, and that’s where our thoughts truly come from. 

Tony Lobl
Associate Editor

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