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Cover Article

Your capacities belong to God

From the January 2022 issue of The Christian Science Journal

We tend to think of the concept of “capacity” in terms of how much something can hold, or the ability of individuals or things. And because capacity is typically measured in material terms, it is thought of as limited, finite. 

However, through the study of the Bible and the teachings of Christian Science, we can also consider capacity from a higher perspective. From a spiritual standpoint, capacity has an infinite basis. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, describes us as “reflecting God and the divine capacity” (No and Yes, p. 21). 

When we take a look at the Bible, we see that it conveys the infinite, unlimited nature of God in a variety of ways, and Bible accounts tell of many faithful people who leaned on this all-powerful God when facing hardships, resulting in great victories. 

The following words of praise in the Old Testament were offered by King David: “Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all” ( I Chronicles 29:11  ). 

We can’t begin to measure God’s capacities—in greatness, power, and goodness. They are more than can fill heaven and earth! And, what’s more, as David said, all power, glory, victory, and majesty in all things are of God. God is the originator and the source of all our capacities, wherewithal, and proficiency. David definitively spoke from experience; he found this out firsthand.

One of the most well-known David stories was when he faced Goliath with just five smooth stones. He fearlessly came out the victor because he knew all his abilities, including the capacity for mental fortitude and courage, had their source in God. David knew he could rely on God’s unlimited power even in this intense situation. So his own experiences helped to lay the foundation for his statements about God’s omnipotence. 

The supreme example of overcoming limitation comes from Christ Jesus, who stated: “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19). Jesus fully and humbly understood his indestructible relation to God, the infinite source of all his capacities. He was therefore able to demonstrate a keen spiritual understanding and corresponding dominion over material conditions of all kinds. These demonstrations ranged from healing people of long-standing illnesses to walking on the water, from calming a raging storm to rising from the tomb after his crucifixion. It was abundantly clear to Jesus that his unlimited capacities belonged to God, and we can strive day by day to walk in his footsteps of understanding and exemplifying the divine source of all our capabilities.

Mrs. Eddy was a devout student of the Bible and follower of Jesus’ teachings, and so she was well aware of the strong evidence of God being the source of all the good we are capable of. Her conviction was also grounded in her own life experiences and a solid understanding of the indestructible relation between God and spiritual man, including everyone. She knew that God, good, is man’s true Parent and so man is God’s beloved offspring. Therefore, God had to be the origin of everything good about man. And in Mrs. Eddy’s main work on Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she notes the beneficial effect of understanding more about our Maker: “The human capacities are enlarged and perfected in proportion as humanity gains the true conception of man and God” (p. 258).

We can’t take personal credit for any of the good qualities we express, because God is the sole source of them. A goal we each can have is to glorify God’s goodness and express His qualities to the best of our ability. 

There was a time I learned so much about the direct connection between my spiritual relation to God and my needed capacities. It had to do with pursuing some postgraduate studies during my career with the United States Navy. 

Before making that decision, I thought about the wherewithal—the mental resources, persistent drive, and dominion—that would be needed. It had been over a decade since I had undertaken graduate studies, and so, at first, the idea seemed daunting. However, I recall praying to God and having an assured sense that the capacities I needed originated in Him. They were not based in some ability of my own. And so I embarked on my new academic journey.

I held my ground, sticking to
the fact that everything I needed originated with my true Parent,
God, the one Mind.

Over two semesters, volumes of reading material demanding expeditious assimilation of concepts, writing many papers, taking exams, and developing and writing an overall program thesis meant constant demands on me. I had to hold my ground on a spiritual foundation, sticking to the fact that everything I needed originated with my true Parent, God, the one Mind.

Then, I also found out that naval requirements demanded I complete the academic program in about nine months. (Most civilian students were expected to finish within twelve months.) 

I prayed to understand that true intelligence and wisdom were not contingent on material factors. Rather, they had their source in God, limitless Spirit. And because God is my true Parent, I knew I and all humanity inherently possessed these qualities. Since God’s very being is infinite, His attributes are infinite in nature—without limit. 

Whether the demands were to find answers for exams, grasp new concepts, or get much-needed ideas for papers, I knew that they would be met through the capacity of Spirit, described in these words, which undergirded my prayers: “Spirit, God, gathers unformed thoughts into their proper channels, and unfolds these thoughts, even as He opens the petals of a holy purpose in order that the purpose may appear” (Science and Health, p. 506). 

I found that all my needs were met—from the assimilation of concepts to the development of ideas. How grateful I was to achieve a high grade average and receive my degree—all to the glory of God! Needless to say, graduation day was full of much praise to God.

Demands can come in a variety of ways. And whatever our situation may be, we can strive to meet each demand and responsibility with the spiritual conviction that we have the capacities we need because they truly belong to God.

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