You are not matter

I wanted to acknowledge and honor God, Spirit, as the only power. 

As a student in a Christian Science Sunday School, I was taught that, as the Bible says, God is Spirit, and man is His likeness. I learned that this means we are each truly spiritual, not material. But one day when I was a very young teenager complaining to my older sister about something, she caught me by surprise by saying quite bluntly, “You are not matter.” After my initial reaction, I realized that her words made perfect sense. As I pondered them, the issue that I had been complaining about simply dissolved. 

The concept “You are not matter” has stayed with me and was instrumental in a healing I had several years ago. One early morning I got a call asking for my prayers and decided to get out of bed and go into my office to pray. I finished praying and attempted to get out of my chair, but found that I couldn’t put any weight on one of my legs. Knowing that God, divine Love, had not caused this, I resisted looking for a reason for the discomfort and instead vigorously affirmed that my true substance was Spirit and that matter was no part of my being as an expression of God. This statement came to thought: “Nothing we can say or believe regarding matter is immortal, for matter is temporal and is therefore a mortal phenomenon, a human concept, sometimes beautiful, always erroneous” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 277). I didn’t want to say or believe anything about this situation that gave pain or limitation any power. Rather, I wanted to acknowledge and honor God, Spirit, as the only power. 

This enabled me to be clear about my right to be well, as I hopped on one leg while getting dressed and eating breakfast and then returned to my office. I felt it was important to not let the discomfort prevent me from doing my work of praying for others. As I considered the fact that matter is always erroneous, I began to see that Spirit is always accurate, true, and perfect. As the infinite expression of Spirit, I was spiritual and could manifest only the same accuracy, truth, and perfection.

Not long after I settled into my chair, I got a call from someone else requesting Christian Science healing treatment and asking that I visit them. Without thinking, I said yes, rose from my chair, grabbed my coat and keys, and ran down the stairs and out the door to my car. It wasn’t until after the visit, when I was pulling into my driveway, that I realized my leg was completely normal—fully strong and without pain.

Because matter is a human concept existing only in the so-called human mind and is not substance, this false belief can be replaced with the understanding of Spirit. This understanding, gained through prayer, brings healing.

Jesus taught his followers that God is Spirit. Jesus was familiar with Scripture, including this statement: “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31), and understood that Spirit is all good, fills all space, has all power, and causes and governs all creation. 

Citing an earlier text in the same chapter of Genesis, Mrs. Eddy further explains: “The Scriptures inform us that man is made in the image and likeness of God. Matter is not that likeness” (Science and Health, p. 475). This makes it clear that each of us as God’s likeness must be spiritual, expressing Spirit alone.

That concept of being made in God’s image and likeness is key to understanding that matter is nothing—no thing or power. It points to Spirit as the only substance, and man in Spirit’s likeness as existing wholly in Spirit, reflecting that substance in every way, just as the image in a mirror is the full reflection of the object in front of it. The reflection itself is not substantial but is an exact representation of the substance of the original.

The physical senses, our eyes and ears, report what appears to be material existence as material substance. However, since substance is God, Spirit, only, matter must be nothing, for the allness of Spirit precludes an opposite or other. Understanding this and rejecting the belief of matter’s existence lead to healing, as this statement shows: “Deny the existence of matter, and you can destroy the belief in material conditions” (Science and Health, p. 368).

Material conditions—physical, emotional, and mental—that occur in our experience can be proved to be insubstantial and unreal as we learn more about Spirit. Shifting thought from examining the painful or discordant conditions of matter to gaining a better understanding of the omni-action and ever-presence of Spirit was what brought quick healing in that episode of mine a few years ago, and it reliably honors God and proves His power today.

Never out of place
March 13, 2023

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