Following Jesus through faith
Jesus’ life was one demonstration of faith after another, based on his clear understanding of God, and he called for the same demonstration from his followers.
In the Book of John, we read about a nobleman who approached Christ Jesus and asked him to come to his home and heal his son, who was at the point of death (see 4:46–53). The nobleman, a government official, had likely traveled many miles, possibly all the way from Capernaum, to find Jesus. Of the two, the nobleman had the higher status, and yet he submitted to Jesus, showing humility and faith.
Jesus told the man to go on without him, and that his son was going to live. The man believed him. What faith! And on his way home, he met his servants coming to tell him that his son was indeed well.
So many individuals throughout the Bible proved that faith in God is never futile. The faith Jesus was looking for is beautifully described in the book of Hebrews: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. . . . Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (11:1, 3).
The writer was describing having faith in God’s Word alone, despite material evidence. Jesus was constantly encouraging his disciples to have more faith in God, or in other words, to see spiritually and not be moved by what they beheld with their physical senses. One time, Jesus and his disciples were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee when a fierce storm arose and filled their boat with water (see Mark 4:36–41). In fearful desperation, the disciples awakened Jesus, who was sleeping at the back of the boat, and asked, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” Jesus immediately answered the call for help. The Bible says: “He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” He then rebuked the disciples by asking an important question: “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?”
Jesus seemed to be asking them, “Don’t you remember what I taught you?” The disciples would have found it more productive if, rather than imagining all the bad things that could happen to them during that storm, they had turned to the ever-presence and omnipotence of God that Jesus had been teaching and proving to them. Turning away from material appearances to spiritual facts quiets our fears.
Jesus was at one with his heavenly Father. He wanted to know only what God knew. He wanted to see only what God saw. And he wanted to hear only what God was communicating. We too can
be healed and saved when we have these desires.
The temptation we face is to put more faith in matter than in Spirit, or to disbelieve in Spirit altogether. But we can’t expect a good effect without a good cause. When we run into problems, turning to God, Spirit, and acknowledging His omnipotence and omnipresence enlightens our thinking and enables us to witness God’s grace and truth in our lives right where we are. They have always been there. And persistence in this spiritual reasoning results in the proper adjustment of whatever circumstance we’re facing.
As he went about his healing work, Jesus didn’t appear to ever reason from the basis of physical problems being real or entrenched. He approached each challenge with faith in God and
a spiritual sense of what is true. This deep faith and spiritual understanding raised that dying boy back to life and stopped the storm. Rather than changing bad situations into good, Jesus proved that only goodness exists, causing it to be seen by all. The bright light of Truth shone right through the lie of material imperfection, to the present reality of spiritual perfection.
Jesus’ life was one demonstration of faith after another, based on his clear understanding of God, and he called for the same demonstration from his followers. Doesn’t that include us today? “Fidelity to [Jesus’] precepts and practice is the only passport to his power; . . .” Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, wrote in an article included in her Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896 (p. 270).
Turning away from material evidence to spiritual facts quiets our fears.
Several years ago a condition that might be considered hereditary developed in one of my legs. The leg was swollen, had hives, and was infected. Remembering the importance of obedience and faith, I decided that following Jesus’ commands was the path I would take.
I began to reason that no material evidence held any weight, importance, or reality in God’s, Spirit’s, kingdom, the only kingdom there is, the kingdom where we all live, eternally. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, defines Kingdom of Heaven in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures as “the reign of harmony in divine Science; the realm of unerring, eternal, and omnipotent Mind; the atmosphere of Spirit, where Soul is supreme” (p. 590).
From this definition, I reasoned this way: If Mind is knowing me and is only good, how can I manifest anything except goodness, health, and purity? We live in the atmosphere of divine Spirit, in which there is no matter, no material condition, no material cause, and no material effect. Soul, God, is true substance, is good, and reigns supreme in our lives.
One of the most crucial points for me in this healing was to declare what was true, even when I couldn’t see it—especially when I couldn’t see it. I did not accept matter as any part of the equation, because Christian Science explains logically how matter (in this case, in the form of disease) seems to be but is not.
We can’t declare this, claim to know it, and then, when faced with a situation where matter or disease appears real and intimidating, throw that truth out the window, so to speak, and believe that for us, in that circumstance, matter does have reality. Matter has no real substance for anyone at any point in time.
After a few weeks, I inadvertently saw my leg. It wasn’t better, but had grown worse. This accusation and prediction came to thought: “You’re not taking this seriously enough. You could die from this.” Because I recognized the stark difference between the glorious truths from God and His Christ, and these lies from a false claim of life in matter, I was able to quickly and confidently reply, “I am taking this seriously. I’ve taken this to the highest authority there is—Almighty God! Now, get thee behind me, Satan!”
Leaving the body completely out of thought, as we’re taught to do in Christian Science, I went on joyously with my true life as a child of God, still working at my job and rejoicing. A short while later, I was getting dressed and happened to notice that all evidence of the condition had disappeared. But I already knew I was well. I didn’t need any physical confirmation to tell me who I am as a child of God. Only God and His Christ can tell us the truth and make us free.
As we faithfully follow our Master, Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), we will find an increasingly clear understanding of spiritual reality, and grow more and more secure in the knowledge of God’s all-power. God envelops all of creation, and because God is all-powerful and all-good, no harm can ever come to us.