Power is the ability to act. Christian Science declares that God, Spirit, is power. Since God is infinite, filling all space, Spirit possesses exclusive power and is the only source of the capacity to act. Christian Science recognizes the manifestation of the power of Spirit in human affairs as the activity of the Christ. Jesus of Nazareth, referring to his ability to express the Christ, said (Matt. 28:18), "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." Those who seek power must understand that its origin or source is Spirit, and that the ability to apply and utilize it is attained through the demonstration of Christ, God's spiritual idea.
Men seek power, or ability, to accomplish and produce, to gain control over material conditions and circumstances, to protect themselves and others from evil. Not understanding the true nature of power, men have searched for it in the realm of materiality and have uncovered so-called forces—mechanical, electrical, atomic, economic, political, military, and the like. All these forces involve matter; therefore it is believed that matter possesses power. This suppositional power appears to have the ability to do both good and evil. As electricity it may perform useful work or burn and destroy; as a chemical it may cure or poison; as economic force it may free or enslave. However, this so-called power has been found totally deficient in ability to make men truly happy, to establish peace, to remove disease permanently, to destroy sin, or to overcome death.
Very early in his career Jesus overcame the temptation to believe that matter has any power whatsoever. It will be recalled that the devil, erring human sense, showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and said (Luke 4:6, 7): "All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them. ... If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine." Jesus, understanding God to be the only power, answered, "Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." Jesus knew that there could not be two powers, both Spirit and matter. He understood that one was genuine, actual might, while the other was but an illusion of power; and he was not deceived by the counterfeit.
Jesus proved the power of Spirit to be available and adequate to meet every human need. Knowing that Spirit is the power which provides for man, he fed five thousand men besides women and children when matter was limited to five loaves and two fishes. Serenely aware of Spirit's control over physical forces, he subdued the storm at sea when wind and wave were threatening to destroy life and property. Conscious of Spirit's ability to heal disease, he stopped the woman's issue of blood, which had troubled her for twelve years. Moreover, understanding that Spirit is Life, possessing the only ability to be, he restored Lazarus, who had been dead for four days. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered God's omnipotent law and called her discovery Christian Science, states in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 185), "The will of God, or power of Spirit, is made manifest as Truth, and through righteousness,—not as or through matter,—and it strips matter of all claims, abilities or disabilities, pains or pleasures."
Jesus' spiritual power was not an ability confined to him as a person. "The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works," he said (John 14:10). He reflected—he did not originate—the might, wisdom, and ability of Spirit. He understood that man is at one with God. inseparable from the infinite intelligence of Mind, the control of Soul, the strength and permanence of Truth. At all times Jesus was consciously aware of his own unity with the Father. In his encounter with the devil, referred to in a previous paragraph, Jesus was quick to align himself on the side of God, Spirit. It was this consistent and persistent blending of his thought and nature with God, his divine Principle, which gave him power. Thus did the Christ reveal the true idea of spiritual power through the demonstrations of Jesus.
In accordance with his teachings we today have the right to understand the power of Spirit and to demonstrate its infinite power and ability in our own individual experience. Jesus taught that all—without any exception whatever—who accept his teachings, who follow his rules, can do the works that he did, and even greater works. Christian Science tells us how to bring the Christ into our daily lives, how to attain that unity with Spirit which makes practical its power and authority. Mrs. Eddy gives us the rule in "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," where she says (p. 160), "To live so as to keep human consciousness in constant relation with the divine, the spiritual, and the eternal, is to individualize infinite power; and this is Christian Science."
Do we seek power to accomplish more in our daily experience? Do we want to be more productive, useful helpful? The starting point is the acknowledgment that the power which accomplishes is God, unerring, omnipotent Mind, the only intelligence. This one Mind is man's Mind, supplying him perpetually with correct thoughts, right ideas, and unlimited wisdom. When we, through reflection, know as Mind knows, see as Mind sees, understand as Mind understands, act as Mind acts, we are at one with God and manifest His power and ability. Holding in thought the true idea of man as the reflection of all-knowing, all-efficient, all-competent Mind, we become aware of unlimited capacity for productivity in every legitimate field. In proportion to the constancy of our demonstration of man's at-one-ment with Mind, the power of Spirit is manifested through that right action which is called accomplishment.
Do we want to subdue storm and strife, to overcome deficiency, to curb excess? We can do so by recognizing that the law of God, divine Principle, is forever operating as the law of scientific order and harmony and by expressing our oneness with this law. Every true identity exists and is governed in accordance with this perfect law. Nothing is ever outside its jurisdiction. There is no law to oppose it. There is no power to annul it. There is no will to violate it. Matter, with its so-called conditions, forces, laws, has no power to interfere with the operation of divine Principle any more than the chalk or the blackboard in the schoolroom can dictate to the principle of mathematics or disrupt its control over numbers. Material conditions asserting discord, decay, deficiency, or destruction are but boastful illusions. They need not be feared, and will not be when we understand that we are in unity with Principle, subject only to the power of Spirit. Mrs. Eddy states in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 316), "Christ illustrates that blending with God, his divine Principle, which gives man dominion over all the earth."
Do we seek power to defend ourselves and others from harm? Do we want to conquer sin and sorrow, to be victorious over disease and death? Over and over again Jesus showed us how. He declared that he and his Father were one; and this conscious union with God, divine Love, gave him power to heal and save, to replace the distressing illusions of material sense with health, freedom, and peace. As students of the Christ, we too can keep thought so closely aligned with Truth that fear is replaced with calm trust in God; so at one with divine Love that self-love is dissolved and envy, resentment, revenge, criticism, condemnation, fade from consciousness as darkness fades before light; so inseparable from Life that the utter impotency of any threat to man's holiness, harmony, and immortality is realized. When hate, fear, a false sense of self, and the idolatrous belief in a power apart from God, Spirit, are eliminated from human consciousness, their evidences—sin, sickness, and death—are eliminated also. This individualization of the Christ-power is the Christian Science way whereby we can defend ourselves from evil.
In connection with his work a Christian Scientist visited a site where a newly drilled natural gas well was being completed. Liquid nitroglycerin was being lowered into the well preparatory to exploding it far down in the earth in order that the gasbearing sands might be loosened and the well made productive. The foreman in charge expressed great fear, explaining that the crew was inexperienced and that he had a premonition of an accident. He said he was sure that either the costly well would be ruined or someone would be killed. The foreman's fear had communicated itself to the crew. The Christian Scientist considered the situation. From the standpoint of human sense it was a dangerous process, for liquid nitroglycerin, highly volatile and extremely destructive, was being handled by fearful men.
The Scientist, finding himself touched by the same fear, turned away completely from the material scene and fixed his gaze on God. Acknowledging Spirit to be all-power, he insisted that neither matter nor mortal mind had any authority; he declared man's freedom from fear and harm. Gradually fear disappeared, and the men began to work quietly and confidently. Finally the last of the explosive was lowered, and a cap, or plug of earth and stone, was placed on top of the glycerin to contain the force of the explosion. Although the work took several hours, the Christian Scientist steadfastly held in consciousness the spiritual facts and harmony of being.
When the explosive was set off, the plug failed to hold and quantities of white-hot rock shot forth from the mouth of the well, showering down on men and equipment. Yet, despite this danger of fire and bodily injury, the well did not ignite, nor was a single man hurt. Furthermore, over a period of time this well proved to be much more productive than others in the vicinity. Thus the power of Spirit, its infinite ability to protect, was demonstrated in human affairs.
From the vantage point of divine Science the so-called forces of matter are correctly understood as phenomena of mortal mind. They are illusions of power. They counterfeit true energy, bespeaking a power which has no reality and which ultimately acts only to destroy itself. In proportion as consciousness is aligned with the truth that Spirit is the only power, matter's claim to power loses, even in human experience, its supposed capacity to help or harm, to produce or destroy, to heal or kill. Matter's newest claims of destructive force, called the atomic and hydrogen bombs, as well as its old ones, called warfare, plague, and disaster, need to be faced, and the temptation to believe in their reality and potency overcome in the same manner as Jesus did when he resisted and rebuked the devil and declared his allegiance to the one God.
The belief that power can be concentrated in person, or that it can be acquired through the exercise of the suppositional forces of matter and sustained by tyranny and fear, is based on a total misunderstanding of the source and nature of real power. We should not be frightened by any claim of personal power, nor submit to domination or oppression founded on such a claim. The Master said to his disciples (Luke 10:19), "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you." The serpents of subtle lies and bland untruths, the scorpions of hate and fear, all the so-called power of matter and mortal mind—these are impotent today when we understand and demonstrate the supremacy of the spiritual idea, Christ.
All power, all ability to act, is given unto us in exact proportion to our understanding of our oneness with God. In reality we are already at one with Him. Christian Science awakens us to this fact, unfolds our understanding of God, teaches us to love and serve Him only. It reveals to us the presence and practical power of His Christ and shows us how to abide constantly in the truth of being. And thus there comes to us today, as to the Apostle Paul centuries ago, the clear, vital, and buoyant realization (Phil. 4:13), "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
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