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Our natural ability to succeed at good

From the May 21, 2018 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


Sometimes we are tempted to believe we just don’t measure up. Perhaps, we tell ourselves, we lack some quality that would enable us to be successful, or have a fatal flaw that would undermine our success. We may believe we are not smart enough or outgoing enough, or that we are too impatient or impulsive to really do well in our endeavors. 

Such thinking needs to be challenged. We must confront and deny these mental suggestions, because at the root of them is the belief that we are separated from God, that we could not possibly express God’s goodness through our success or by blessing the world. The truth is, each of us exists to manifest God. As Mary Baker Eddy writes in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “Man as the offspring of God, as the idea of Spirit, is the immortal evidence that Spirit is harmonious and man eternal” (p. 29). 

Note this: In divine reality, we are the proof that Spirit, God, is harmonious and that we are God’s immortal, eternal expression. God needs us to express Him, to make evident what He is and that He is All. As the highest ideas of God, we express Him completely. 

God needs us to express Him, to make evident what He is and that He is All. 

This spiritual truth can help us overcome the false belief that our successes aren’t genuine—that maybe we have only been lucky, or are unable to do well, when we really are fully capable. Such false beliefs would cause us to develop a sense of self-doubt based on a limited material sense of our identity, rather than the true understanding of our identity as the unlimited, spiritual idea of God; and this sense of self-doubt would undermine our efforts to bless others, to heal, and even just to fulfill the basic responsibilities of our jobs. 

The Bible offers many examples of those who had to overcome self-doubt or a mortal, limited sense of identity. For example, Gideon was certain that he could not possibly chase the Midianites out of Israel. Elijah despaired that he was no better than his fathers and for a time felt unable to fulfill God’s mission for him. After Jesus’ crucifixion, his disciples temporarily forsook the lessons they had learned and returned to their old occupation as fishers. In each case, and in many similar examples, the individuals’ fear was ultimately proven to have no foundation, because the Christ, the true idea of God, revealed God’s good purpose for each of these Bible figures. And that is what the Christ does for each of us as well.

Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good. God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on man. 

—Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 393

In Christian Science, mortal man is understood to be the counterfeit of the true man, who is in reality the image or reflection of divine Mind, God. Christian Science helps us understand that man is not mortal and material, but has always been the intelligent, capable, complete representative of Mind. Our inspiration, wisdom, and understanding come from Mind, not from personal efforts to grow intellectually. 

We must gain the true idea of ourselves as God’s expression and accept that our identity and individuality come from our Father-Mother God. A material view of ourselves and others necessarily limits our abilities. Even the most talented of us will eventually run into a brick wall of limitation if we believe our talents are humanly based. But if we understand that we come from God and express God, then we can never really be limited.

As the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy overcame beliefs of limitation. Her accomplishments included healing, writing, teaching, establishing the Christian Science periodicals—including the international newspaper The Christian Science Monitor—founding The Mother Church, and nurturing her many pupils. Her student John C. Lathrop recalls her saying, “All I have ever accomplished has been done by getting Mary out of the way and letting God be reflected” (We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, Expanded Edition, Volume 1, p. 270).

If we understand that we come from God and express God, then we can never really be limited.

Not long ago, I went through a period when I felt uninspired and lackluster; I felt separated from God. I tried to get out of this mental funk but made little progress. Then I remembered this statement from Science and Health about the real source of our thinking: “Spirit imparts the understanding which uplifts consciousness and leads into all truth” (p. 505). That thought that Spirit, God, does the work was followed not long afterward by my recalling this assurance from the Apostle Paul: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). This was a reminder that God provides us with the wisdom, understanding, and guidance we need to meet whatever challenges we face. I didn’t need to rely only on my personal efforts but could yield to what God was already expressing in me. As I learned to do this, my sense of joy and dominion returned, and have remained.

So when we find ourselves doubting our ability to meet the challenges of the day, we can turn to God, the only creator and Mind we have, to discover what we really are as Mind’s expression and our natural God-given ability to succeed.

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