Does “Birthright” sound like an antiquated concept no longer relevant to our lives? It may, yet an understanding of it can be something of a game changer.
In the Bible, a birthright was a very important privilege that would lead to a position of power. Granted to the firstborn son, it gave him the right to succeed his father as head of the family and to receive a double portion of his father’s property. It also gave him a position of spiritual leadership. The Interpreter’s Bible explains, “The one who held [the birthright] should be the representative of the family not only toward men but toward God” (Vol. 1, p. 725).
A story in Genesis tells of a young man, Esau, who got caught up in the worldliness of his day and lost sight of and disregarded his family’s spiritual approach to life, their traditions, and the value of his birthright. One day Esau came in from hunting and wanted some of the stew that Jacob, his younger twin, had been cooking. Seizing an opportunity, Jacob said, “I will give it to you if you give me your rights as the first-born son” (Genesis 25:31, Good News Translation). Esau, seemingly indifferent, undervalued what he possessed, and amicably agreed. Scholars suggest that surely their mother, Rebekah, had other food convenient for them both to eat, but Esau ate with no regret for what he had just traded away. Years later, he lost another privilege—his father was tricked into giving Esau’s blessing to Jacob.
Notwithstanding the revelation Rebekah received that it was God’s purpose for Jacob to carry on the spiritual birthright for generations to come, the story seems to suggest that when we give up our birthright, the blessings that follow, such as prosperity and protection, also become vulnerable.
With the advent of Christ Jesus, and more recently Mary Baker Eddy’s discovery of Christian Science, metaphysical ideas have unfolded, enlightening human consciousness. Through these we come to understand that each of us, as God’s sons and daughters, possesses a birthright—a right to an understandable relationship to our Father-Mother God. Such a privilege is not dependent on birth order, gender, culture, or race.
Referring to each of us as God’s spiritual idea, or “man,” Mrs. Eddy writes, “When we understand man’s true birthright, that he is ‘born, not . . . of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,’ we shall understand that man is the offspring of Spirit, and not of the flesh; recognize him through spiritual, and not material laws; and regard him as spiritual, and not material” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 181).
In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she further explains that as spiritual ideas of God, each of us can experience the power of our birthright: “Man is not made to till the soil. His birthright is dominion, not subjection. He is lord of the belief in earth and heaven,—himself subordinate alone to his Maker. This is the Science of being” (pp. 517–518).
Dominion, not subjection, sounds wonderful, but dominion over what? Our birthright gives us the spiritual sense to understand that we have dominion over anything unlike God, who is totally good. It enables us to reason out from God’s allness to counter the belief of living in two realities, two parallel universes—matter and Spirit. It empowers us to understand that we are not finite, trapped mortals locked into limitations, stereotypes, and statistics. Rather, we are God’s free sons and daughters existing at the standpoint of unrestricted opportunity, health, and happiness.
Our birthright as the beloved ideas of God, infinite Mind, gives us dominion over, not subjection to, every kind of fear and dark thinking like discouragement, depression, cynicism, or “group think.” As intelligent Mind’s offspring, we have dominion over fears of disease, accidents, or an overactive imagination that worries something bad could happen to us or a loved one.
Claiming our spiritual birthright when confronted with financial decisions gives us hope and dominion over beliefs of a finite sense of good that create stress and threaten a failing income, unemployment, and homelessness. It enables us to understand that our divine Parent is infinite and is providing for us in superabundant ways that cannot be and are not restricted by human circumstances.
As children of divine Love, which knows and cares for our every need, we possess a birthright that gives us dominion over, not subjection to, a victim or a villain mentality, an abusive past, or a toxic relationship. We have dominion over hatred, bullying, or harsh criticism.
Our birthright as God’s, divine Principle’s, reflection, gives us dominion over, not subjection to, all types of evil tendencies, including pride, willfulness, sensuality, and harmful or self-destructive desires.
As spiritual ideas of God, each of us can experience the power of our birthright.
Recently, I had an opportunity to claim my birthright in regard to my health when traveling in a developing country. We had been cautioned regarding impurities in the water and food found on this island. A week or so into our trip, I found myself struggling with the symptoms that had been described as related to toxic bacteria.
As I prayed about this, I realized I had a birthright as a citizen of God’s universe to enjoy all of His creation and that I was free to explore, embrace, and enjoy divinity’s beautiful universe. I reviewed all the many kindnesses that had been shown to us on this trip and how aware of divine Love’s presence we had become. I mentally insisted that Love was the fact, was present, and that it neutralized any sense of or belief in poison.
I knew this was the spiritual fact and that it was my God-given birthright to experience the effects of this divine Science. Within a day, the aggressive symptoms had evaporated from my thought and therefore my experience.
Mrs. Eddy declares, “Truth crushed to earth springs spontaneously upward, and whispers to the breeze man’s inalienable birthright—Liberty” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 128).
Your birthright, too, is liberty and all that comes with it—peace, health, vitality, abundance, hope, discernment, purity, and the freedom to live life to its fullest, to love and be loved freely. You can protect your birthright every day by acknowledging God and your relationship to Him in prayer. As the children of omnipotent God, we can be so very grateful that our birthright is forever established. We can be awake and alert and not trade our knowledge of God and His love for us for anything, and claim, protect, honor, cherish, and demonstrate our God-given birthright.
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