Every day, people are confronted with statements about identity, health, purpose, and success, and the simple fact that we are being told these things often seems to give those statements the force of truth. It can be tempting to move forward based on whatever premise is presented to us, and try to figure out how to deal with the cards we’ve been given, instead of considering whether what’s written on those cards is accurate in the first place.
For instance, if we are told that good health depends on a certain schedule of medical checkups and a certain regimen of diet and exercise, then we may well spend a good deal of time trying to navigate our days with these guidelines in mind, without questioning the initial assumptions about what health actually is, where it comes from, and how it is maintained.
Thankfully, there is more to the story than just hoping we can make the most of what we’ve been led to believe about ourselves and our options. We have the capacity and opportunity to dig deeper and challenge materially based premises, by seeking direction from God, divine Truth, in prayer.
Practicing Christian Science allows us to navigate our way through life with Truth, because it involves discerning between the truth of spiritual reality and the contradictory evidence of the physical senses. The right approach is to be so familiar with Truth itself—to start with, and stay with, divine Truth alone—that the lying evidence of the material senses has no chance of being believed.
Truth is God, revealing the very nature of God; and it’s natural for everyone to be receptive to it.
As a synonym for God, Truth is not just an aspect of God—a slice of the pie, as it were. Truth is God, revealing the very nature of God; and it’s natural for everyone to be receptive to it. We don’t need to believe or accept that which is unlike Truth, unlike God. For example, in practicing Christian Science healing, I cannot say, “A sick person has just called me for help. God, show me how to heal that person.” Instead, I’ve learned to be receptive to this: “You must find error to be nothing: then, and only then, do you handle it in Science” (Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 334). Whatever contradicts Truth is untrue, a lie; and we do not experience healing by accounting a lie as true, and then trying to destroy the lie as if it were real. For effective practice, we cannot believe the lie; disbelieving it on the basis of what’s true is what brings healing.
If we have accepted a lie in the first place, how can we know what is true and what is only believed to be true? Well, the truth that Jesus taught and practiced has been brought into clear focus for us by Mrs. Eddy, through her explaining its practical application and demonstrating what she taught. So there is no need to reinvent the wheel. And this understanding of God’s truth is always available for anyone to turn to in the timeless, “impersonal pastor” of the Church of Christ, Scientist, which Mrs. Eddy designated as the Bible and her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (see Miscellaneous Writings, p. 322).
I remember attending a nondenominational Christian church for an evening service one weekend and being struck by the congregants’ trust of and attentiveness to every word spoken by their pastor. Those sitting next to me later told me that they knew they could call on him anytime to help them. Their trust prompted in me a desire to more deeply and understandingly trust in my own pastor.
As I considered this, I realized that the Bible and Science and Health are indeed something we can turn to, and trust, at any moment. I began to appreciate more fully how the Bible provides us with Christ Jesus’ teachings, and that we experience the spirit of his teachings as we live them. The Science underlying Jesus’ words and works, revealed by God to Mrs. Eddy and explained in her writings, is entirely true and entirely sufficient. We can humbly start with that, and trust the Word of God more than we trust the evidence of the material senses or the fears engendered by that evidence.
I had a physical healing that illustrated the importance of staying with Truth alone. For several days I had been extremely ill—I couldn’t eat anything and my whole body felt wretched. I had been praying, but very much from the mind-set of essentially asking God to come to me and heal my wretchedness.
One afternoon, feeling more tired than I had ever felt before, I became completely quiet mentally. I became aware of a gentle thought telling me over and over that God was not in the storm. This immediately brought to mind the Bible’s account of the prophet Elijah’s experience at Mount Horeb, when he became assured that God was not in the earthquake, wind, and fire (see I Kings 19:11, 12). I reasoned that since God, good, made all and is All-in-all, He was not in this sickness. As God’s manifestation—the man God made in His spiritual image and likeness—it followed that I could not be in sickness either, or it in me. I did not need to pray to escape some real problem; I needed to let Truth lift my thought and keep my thought with God alone, where there is nothing but His goodness. I was not trying to bring Him to my sickness to heal it; I stayed with Truth to have my consciousness lifted up above any belief that I was unwell.
I stopped including the sickness in my prayers and just considered the love of God. I quietly fell asleep, and when I awoke later, I was completely well.
God’s grace is always assuring us of His love, but if we’re mentally clinging to a lie and trying to figure out how to navigate that lie, it can be hard to see the way forward. When ministering in my healing practice of Christian Science, I have found it very helpful to be absolutely certain that no matter what the issue, or how persistent it may seem, the sickness—or whatever the case may be—is not truly real, or a part of the person.
In Science and Health, the textbook of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy writes: “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick” (pp. 476–477). To follow Jesus’ example, we must start correctly, including only Truth in our assessment.
It may seem like a tall order, to see only Truth, and in this way correctly discern the lie and cast it out of thought. Thankfully, that adjustment of thought is actually impelled by Christ, the divine influence working in our consciousness, revealing spiritual reality. We can patiently echo the biblical poetry of Genesis, where “the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (1:2), and joyfully see how our concepts of ourselves and others can be uplifted and corrected, revealing all in their true spiritual light. We never need to factor in a lie as we go about our day. Standing with Truth alone, we cannot help but experience its perfect fullness—and our wholeness.
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