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Freedom from human willpower

From the August 2022 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Looking at the world today, we see individuals and groups attempting to exert their will over others, both aggressively and subtly. The effort to dominate is seen in government, politics, health care, environmental issues, and personal relationships, to name a few. 

This mental energy called human willpower is a counterfeit of the divine will of God. It would hide the divine Principle and presence of God’s loving government of the universe, which maintains the balance, goodness, and harmony of all life. But since God is all-power, human will is powerless and cannot modify the fullness of our Father-Mother God’s love for all Her creation.

How comforting to rejoice in this divine message: “The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand” (Isaiah 14:24). In reality, only what God, Mind, thinks is actually unfolding, not what apparent mortal minds think or will. Only God’s holy purpose of goodness for everyone can come to fruition, because the divine Mind is supreme over all the universe. 

Christ Jesus showed us a freedom-giving defense against mortal willpower by humbly yielding fully to God’s will. He declared, “I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 5:30). All his healing work displayed clearly what God’s will is: health, abundance, harmony, perfection, and eternal life—the sustaining force impelling Jesus’ highest demonstration, his resurrection and ascension. 

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught all to pray that God’s will “be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). There’s really only the one universal will, the all-encompassing divine purpose and plan of God, and so there is nothing else competing for supremacy. 

How are we connected to God’s will? Our very existence is the direct result of this will of God. We are sourced in it, and we are made to fulfill it. As James wrote, “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (James 1:18). This divine inheritance gives us complete exemption from succumbing to mortal willpower, because the plan of God, the “word of truth,” is already intrinsic in our conscious being. 

Embracing our integral connection to God’s will, that we are all forever the expression of its pure intent, gives us divine authority for silencing worldly willpower and rejoicing that no one can truly succumb to its influence. Because it is not of God, divine Mind, it is nothing and has no connection to or control over us or anyone. No one has a self-willed mortal ego closed off from God’s plan of inexhaustible good for all.

Therefore, regardless of the situation around us, we are able to reject any suggestion that may come to us of our or another’s seeming mortal willpower, and be free from it. Our experience improves in proportion as we stand guard over our thoughts, accepting only what we know to be spiritually true. Defending our thought includes embracing the universal will, the totality of God’s law ever operating for good.

When the scenario of worldly willpower comes to thought, it is just a mocking suggestion tempting us to consent to the reality of a will apart from God. Following the Christ-example, we can prayerfully reject the temptation and affirm the omnipotence of the divine will. To humbly cherish this fact that everyone, everywhere, forever, is governed by the divine will, is to see all lovingly embraced in God’s inexhaustible goodness. This spiritual-mindedness neutralizes aggressive willpower in both the individual and collective human experience.

For instance, when a clash of wills appears on the political scene, one can prayerfully affirm that all are children of God, reflect the divine government, and so are self-governed under the divine law. We are free to express the spiritual law that corrects and adjusts the human sense of things. The operation of God’s law reforms, unites, and blesses one and all.

When there is apparent warfare among peoples and nations, one can instead see that God’s universal peace and good will are uniting all in harmony. Each of God’s children has a valued position in the universe, given of God. So, no warring willpower can disrupt our oneness with God’s will and the fulfillment of its infinite blessing.

Willpower may also appear as aggressive disease or inherited genetics that seem to disable, willfully controlling one’s health and well-being. But God’s design for all is health and soundness.

Our environment is surely expressive of the atmosphere of thought. Thought expressing mortal willpower is manifested in storms, droughts, and other adverse weather. But embrace the presence of the atmosphere of the kingdom of heaven, and storms are stilled with the peace of Soul, as shown when Jesus stilled a storm. Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “. . . the atmosphere of the human mind, when cleansed of self and permeated with divine Love, will reflect this purified subjective state in clearer skies, less thunderbolts, tornadoes, and extremes of heat and cold; . . .” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 265). 

Self-assertive willpower attempts to control relationships through persecution between races, marginalization of people, and domination between men and women. Because God is the only controlling Mind, there is actually no mortal mind to transfer any supposed mortal willpower. Embracing God’s love for all dissolves self-will and reveals all of God’s children perfectly related in equality and grace. 

A friend shared an example of how she once handled human will in the form of the threat of date rape. She had dinner with a fellow, and they returned home to her ranch in the country. Seeing they were alone, he told her he intended to rape her and began advancing to her across the large living room. 

She at first felt frightened and helpless to fend off his unwanted, lustful will. But she stopped that thought instantly. She saw that human will or personality isn’t “out there,” a seeming force over which we have no control. What we think of as “out there” is always a mental phenomenon, an impersonal, aggressive mental suggestion coming to our thought to accept as real and powerful. We can always challenge within our own consciousness this seeming reality of a power apart from God. Since the kingdom of heaven is within us, we have divine authority to think and act rightly.

So, she mentally affirmed that there was no other power or presence but God. This man was God’s child, and therefore expressed the divine nature of goodness and integrity. He was not a macho human personality motivated by willful, mortal desire. Nor was she a helpless victim. Right there she saw only their innocent and pure natures as God’s witnesses and thus only God’s will was unfolding. Her fear dissolved, and in that moment his foot stopped mid-step. He told her how much he enjoyed the evening, turned quietly around, and left. 

The woman was empowered to find freedom for both of them through her knowledge of Christian Science, which enabled her to resist the man’s aggression by understanding it was not truly his, nor could it impress itself on her to make her believe she could be its victim. As Mrs. Eddy wrote in Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896: “No person can accept another’s belief, except it be with the consent of his own belief. If the error which knocks at the door of your own thought originated in another’s mind, you are a free moral agent to reject or to accept this error; hence, you are the arbiter of your own fate, and sin is the author of sin” (p. 83). 

Every moment gives us the opportunity to embrace our oneness with the divine and thus humbly prove the will of God. Seeking to do not our own will, but the will of God, we follow in Jesus’ footsteps in demonstrating eternal life. 

Consistently pausing to listen for what God’s will is, even in the minutiae of our daily experience, is cherishing our and everyone’s alignment with the harmony of eternal life, humbly ascending “here a little, and there a little” on our spiritual journey. Isn’t the gracious triumph over all mortal willpower the goal of immortality, God’s will done here and now? 

Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Heavenly harmony continually appears as we increasingly do God’s will.

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