Nowhere is the authority and power of God's Word stated more concisely, yet profoundly, than in the first chapter of Genesis: "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." Gen. 1:3. In six other instances in this account of spiritual creation, God simply spoke "and it was so."
A record of the command of God's Word is not limited to this one chapter. Throughout the Bible we find spiritually-minded individuals employing the Word of God with awesome healing results. Those ancient healers who spoke God's Word expected results. One of them, John, tells us why. He writes, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1.
If the Word is actually the living Principle and omnipotent Truth we call God, is it any wonder that a man crippled from birth was able to obey the Apostle Peter's God-impelled command to rise and walk? Should we think it incredulous that, at Christ Jesus' command, Lazarus, who had been buried for four days, responded by walking out of his tomb, alive?
Of course, when I speak of command, I'm not referring to some rote, routine "saying" of words—no matter how adamantly or enthusiastically spoken, or how keenly wished true. Merely speaking the Word of God is not what makes it commanding; it is the understanding of the Word that empowers and enforces what is said.
Christian Science shows that the truths expressed by God are eternal facts about the existence of a spiritual reality—a reality that enabled Jesus and his disciple Peter to correct the commonly accepted, but nonetheless invalid, material premise that the various phases of mortality (from birth defects to death itself) are true statements of God's will for any of us.
Inspired prayer helps us to rise above false, discordant human pictures and gain insights about this wonderful reality. As in Jesus' day, these insights become evident in what we call spiritual healing.
When Jesus prayed, when he declared God's Word to others, sin, disease, and death immediately and completely vanished. All Christians stand in reverence before his example. But our reverence for him and his mighty works should not intimidate us or keep us from practicing his standard of God-reliant healing. Jesus himself said that his followers could and would do even greater works.
At the heart of Jesus' supreme success in healing was his understanding of his relationship to God. He said that he and his Father were one, thereby pointing out man's inseparable relation to God as His perfect likeness, or reflection. According to Christian Science, God is like the sun, and each individual expression of God is like a ray of light. In this metaphor we see that although a ray cannot shine without its source, it has the same vitalizing properties of its source. It, too, shines, dispelling darkness.
In answer to Jesus' question "But whom say ye that I am?" Peter saw past the fleshly personal appearance and discerned Jesus' true, spiritual nature. Writing of this historic dialogue between Teacher and disciple, Mrs. Eddy explains that Peter's "reply set forth a great fact: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God!' That is: The Messiah is what thou hast declared,—Christ, the spirit of God, of Truth, Life, and Love, which heals mentally." Science and Health, p. 137.
Our declaration and demonstration of God's Word should be immediate. Nothing should stand in the way. If we're finding that our prayers and impartations of truth are not immediately effective, we should be sure there is nothing in our thought that would darken our capacity to reflect God, the one infinite Ego or Mind, clearly and accurately. I have found that what would separate me from my divine source is any degree of personal sense.
This false human ego, in one instance, proudly asserts that it is an independent doer and, in the next instance, argues with great fear and self-depreciation that it can't do anything. Personal sense is the mistaken, mortal way of identifying ourselves and others as finite material beings, apart from God. It fears, competes, envies, pushes, retreats. It doesn't radiate light but absorbs it.
Ritualistically and intellectually, personal sense leans heavily on the letter of truth but not on its spirit. Not admitting the ever-presence of Christ, the impersonal spirit of Love, it coldly and fearfully clings to familiar forms and clichés. In the guise of egotism, personal sense encroaches on our thought with the aim of resisting or stopping our impartations of truth. In Miscellaneous Writings Mrs. Eddy writes "Thought imbued with purity, Truth, and Love, instructed in the Science of metaphysical healing, is the most potent and desirable remedial agent on the earth." Mis., p. 4.
The divine light of Truth has no trouble penetrating and destroying darkness when there's no personal ego to bear witness to its own lies. Many students of Christian Science have experienced those wonderful moments when they've found themselves not just talking about God but actually speaking with the authority of His Word, which inevitably results in some form of healing.
My most cherished experience of this occurred several years ago. One evening my son, who was in grade school, returned home feeling quite ill with what appeared to be seasonal flulike symptoms.
I prayed with all my heart for the right thoughts and words that would help my child. Immediately it came to me to speak to him about the inability of the physical senses to find proof of God. I asked him if he could smell or taste God. I heard a definite giggle, and both of us agreed that these material senses were of no actual help in knowing God.
What happened next is still very precious to me, and very difficult to describe. I felt myself being filled to the brim with love. This was more than a personal or maternal feeling of love welling up within me. It was actually a conscious sense of God, as All-Love itself, loving me—to such an extent that I thought, "Why, if God doesn't stop, I'll burst!" In the next moment, I knew that this same Love was loving my son as its own spiritual reflection. I felt a mortal sense of selfhood yield, and this enabled me to be a clearer transparency of God's great love for His child. Not only that, but I knew that I somehow was at one with divine Love. In that moment I didn't have to think or say anything. In awe, I knew myself as the reflection of Love, expressing God's own love.
Immediately my son's countenance changed, and he sat up and said incredulously, "It's gone!" And it was. He was absolutely fine. The whole experience could not have lasted more than a minute, and a side result was that two huge warts he had carried on his body for three years were gone the next morning. My son clearly knew that this, too, was part of his wonderful healing. Later, when questioned whether that beautiful sense of love he had felt was merely my human love for him, he replied, "No, Mommy, that was God, loving me."
This type of healing has become a goal for me in knowing what all healing can be like. Whenever I'm in a position to speak God's Word, I have seen that not only must I endeavor to speak without the darkness of personal sense, and with the light and freshness of a present understanding of God, but I must also speak with an expectation that I'll be an eyewitness to the self-revealing activity of God's Word. I should see and hear results! To help my expectation, I often ponder what light does.
Light brightens, illumines, awakens, penetrates, leads, uncovers, displaces, reveals, invigorates, transforms. Light can't be pushed aside by darkness. Light finds its way through the smallest crack. Light shines in all directions; it spreads.
As followers of Christ, each of us has the privilege to prove the power and authority of the Word, here and now. What the Bible teaches is not finished. Our "acts" continue to verify the great revelation that God has already spoken, His work is done, and it is very good. The light of our lives carries this message.
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