The power of consent
When it comes to healing and spiritual progress, what is the bridge between hope and the achievement of some goal? Very often there is a need to give our consent. Notice, I didn’t say get the consent of others. The front line in the battle is always within the precincts of our own inspired thought. “The devotion of thought to an honest achievement makes the achievement possible,” writes Mary Baker Eddy in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 199 ).
To consent is to permit, approve, agree, comply, or yield. Forward movement on a project, a relationship, a career move, or any other subject, often involves a bit of all five.
By allowing yourself to find a reason for your hope, you open the door to the divine influence, the unrestricted power of good, to move your case forward. Human approval can’t do for you what aligning your motives and actions with God, good, can do. The power of God, universal good, is always on the side of spiritual good. To God, good, there is no opposition. “Is there no divine permission to conquer discord of every kind with harmony, with Truth and Love?” (Science and Health, p. 394 ).
Do you tend to look to those around you for approval before gaining the confidence to advance with a good idea? Look higher. All true good—from a thought to a thing—reflects the attributes of God, good, in spiritual qualities. Examine your project to seek out the reflected qualities of God. Keep the divine source of all true good in view. As we read in Second Timothy: “Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved … a workman who has no cause to be ashamed” (2:15, Amplified version). I love the words of this hymn:
His goodness stands approved,
Unchanged from day to day:
I drop my burden at His feet,
And bear a song away.
(Philip Doddridge, adapt., Christian Science Hymnal, No. 124 )
Agreement isn’t about conforming to a limited human perspective. Agree to have the highest and broadest expectation of good. Agree to express wisdom, intelligence, courage, tact, confidence, patience, and unwavering persistence. These are divine attributes that everyone reflects in spiritual qualities as God’s likeness. Notice these qualities in yourself. Agree that you possess them. Agree that you can express them. “The admission to one’s self that man is God’s own likeness sets man free to master the infinite idea” (Science and Health, p. 90 ).
Spiritual compliance doesn’t involve subverting your will or crushing your desire, but rather molding personal will and all desire to the divine. “Desire is prayer;” we read in Science and Health, “and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds” (p. 1 ). In his letter to the Romans, Paul puts it this way, “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2 ). St. Paul’s words in The Message (by Eugene Peterson) are also helpful: “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
One of my favorite thoughts on yielding is found in Genesis where God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so” (1:11 ). I often think of the “herb yielding seed” as the “herb-yielding seed” and the “tree yielding fruit” as the “tree-yielding fruit.” In other words, to yield is to consent to the infinite fruit contained in every seed. I once heard, “Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the apples in the seed” (Robert H. Schuller). Every seed, every inspired good thought, is fueled with divine potential. There are no limits to what you are and to what you can do. Yield to your full potential. Accept the potential and the fruit of your good ideas. You can consent.