A different kind of defiance

I realized that rational defiance was now compulsory for my spiritual progress.

Great progress can come with wisely implemented defiance against whatever is unjust or oppressive. A stellar example of this kind of defiance is Liu Xiaobo, whose fearless, nonviolent activism played a significant role in pro-democracy campaigns for political reform in China, his home country. While imprisoned for his work promoting democracy and human rights, he was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

Such inspired defiance can be employed in many ways and is especially helpful when praying. In prayer, the more familiar we become with the all-good nature and character of God, who is divine Truth—and the fact that we all exist for the purpose of showing forth this all-good nature and character—the more we are equipped to stand and defy any falsehood about God and God’s creation that would limit the good in our lives and the lives of others.

What provides us grounds for prayerful defiance is the fact that the divine character is entirely good!

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, explains, “Truth, defiant of error or matter, is Science, dispelling a false sense and leading man into the true sense of selfhood and Godhood; . . .” (Unity of Good, p. 42).

A false sense of God’s creation depicts us as flawed, vulnerable mortals, while the true sense reveals God’s offspring as wholly spiritual and immortal transparencies for God’s characteristics—for God’s perfection and pure goodness.

The divine character can be seen in spirituality, integrity, patience, love, and so on. Our daily individual expression of God’s character is predicated on our genuine existence as God’s sons and daughters. The distinct way in which each of us shows patience, for instance, reveals unique facets of our individuality. So, beautifully, God’s nature and character are shared with mankind each time we express them.

What provides us grounds for prayerful defiance is the fact that the divine character is not just good but entirely good, as well as all-powerful. It simply is not in God’s character to send, allow, or admit evil, and we have the God-given right to defy any claim that He does. Goodness is the foundation of God and of God’s creation—that which reflects God.

Mrs. Eddy’s textbook on Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, says, “If God had instituted material laws to govern man, disobedience to which would have made man ill, Jesus would not have disregarded those laws by healing in direct opposition to them and in defiance of all material conditions” (pp. 227–228). Following Jesus’ example, shouldn’t we be just as defiant and take our own stand for what is spiritually true? We must. 

In following Jesus, we don’t just lightly deny the false impression of God’s creation as material and mortal. We actively defy it, as the spiritual child of God, reflecting His authority! Defiance of this kind is a spiritual quality of Truth and is therefore completely good, productive, and appropriate. The Bible counsels: “Submit yourselves . . . to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

As God’s creation, we have the right, and are thoroughly equipped, to resist, defy, and wholeheartedly rebel against any claim that we are mortals and do not express God’s character. God’s creation doesn’t live in or depend on physicality any more than God does.

It’s helpful to recognize that such defiance shouldn’t be at all associated with human willpower. Willpower asserts itself bullheadedly and emotionally in the name of righteous defiance, whereas it is actually in the humble yielding to divine will as exemplified by Christ Jesus that we find the effective, powerful, spiritual stance that transforms and heals.

One time when I was praying about eyesight, I realized clearly that rational defiance was now compulsory for my spiritual progress. As I prayed, I realized that true sight isn’t physical. It is spiritual, and found intact in God. God is all-seeing, and my role as God’s offspring is to express God’s, Spirit’s, divine, permanently perfect, spiritual quality of sight. Spirit and spiritual creation are distinct, yet beautifully one in character. I saw that in light of this, I had the right to defy the widely held belief in weak eyesight.

In drawing on the authority of God, I was doing as the Bible counsels: “Set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you” (II Chronicles 20:17). And this prayerful defiance saved me. Now, many years later, I enjoy my perfect, divinely reflected sight more than ever.

“Arise ye people, take your stand” begins a favorite hymn (Violet Hay, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 12). We don’t defer to lies and false accusations. We mentally set ourselves and stand solidly with God. We don’t retreat, but take our stand, not only because we are brave but because we are rightfully standing with and for divine Truth—for God’s character within us. And nothing can turn us from this holy fact.

Assimilating the divine character, thought by thought and act by act, indicates our deep and genuine love for God, and thereby for ourselves and mankind. A readiness to be such a transparency for God is seen in a willingness to admit that God’s creation is never going to be physical and mortal. Through God-directed prayer, we can differentiate between our real, immortal self, through whom the divine character is constantly seen, and the mortal, whom the five senses falsely present. 

Now is an ideal time to set yourself and take a prayerfully defiant stand for the fact that, as God’s expression, you are eternally capable of showing forth only God’s nature and character.

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