The method of Christian healing

Is turning to God for healing simply a matter of faith? To a Christian, spiritual healing must always involve deep faith in God. Faith evidences a heartfelt love for God, an unshakable trust in His power to care for His children. It indicates a spiritual perception of Him and an expectation of good. The Bible speaks of faith as ''the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.'' n1

n1 Hebrews 11:1.

If we are confidently, consistently to rely on God for healing, though, we must have an understandable method for doing so. Otherwise healing becomes guesswork. The results are inconsistent, and our faith is sorely taxed rather than strengthened.

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The exemplar of true healing was Christ Jesus, who demonstrated the purifying power of Love, God. To Jesus, the remedy for all disease was purely spiritual. He taught that to heal and be healed requires not just faith but also regeneration and spiritual understanding. ''Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more . . . ,'' n2 he told the man at Bethesda. At another time he said, ''Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.'' 3

n2 John 5:14.

n3 John 8:32.

Faith, regeneration, and understanding increase our love for God; and they help us to discern - and live more in accord with - the reality of our being as God's likeness. In this way they deal directly with the sources of disease - ignorance of God, fear, and sin.

When a Christian Scientist turns to God for healing, he prays to put off fear and sin. He endeavors to replace his limited, material sense of life with a clearer understanding of Life as God, infinite Spirit, and to know man as eternally held in Life, reflecting God's perfect nature. He argues on the side of God's supremacy and denies that disease has any authority to oppose God. If he is earnest and honest in this, he finds his faith in God increasing and his thought becoming more spiritual, more pure. As a result, the materialistic elements of thought - the fear and sin - underlying disease give way, and along with them the disease itself disappears.

Illustrating the method of Christian Science healing, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: '' 'Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him.' Suffer no claim of sin or of sickness to grow upon the thought. Dismiss it with an abiding conviction that it is illegitimate, because you know that God is no more the author of sickness than He is of sin. You have no law of His to support the necessity either of sin or sickness, but you have divine authority for denying that necessity and healing the sick.'' n4

n4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 390.

Spiritual healing rests on God's pure goodness, infinitude, and omnipotence; also on the Biblical fact that everything God made - including man, God's image - is good. n5 When these truths form the premise of our prayer, they lead to consistent, logical conclusions and consistent results - consistent healing.

n5 See Genesis 1:27,31.

Conversely, if we believe God to be the cause of both good and evil, we're caught in the self-contradiction of trying to heal disease while believing it has divine support. But God cannot be good and cause evil. He cannot be omnipotent and allow an evil power. To believe otherwise undermines healing.

Another hindrance to consistent spiritual healing is the tendency to look to material methods for a cure. Each of us has the right to choose what he believes in. But trusting matter to heal us is actually turning not to God, Spirit, but to His opposite. Material methods cannot bring spiritual transformation. Instead we may remain mesmerized by our own fear of matter and cannot discern Spirit or the perfection of our real being as Spirit's likeness.

Divine healing comes about through the power of Spirit, which acts spiritually, not materially. In human thought and lives, Spirit's power is manifested in the cleansing of motives, in the destruction of materialistic elements of thought, in the strengthening of one's faith and spiritual understanding. Mrs. Eddy writes: ''Spirit blesses man, but man cannot 'tell whence it cometh.' By it the sick are healed, the sorrowing are comforted, and the sinning are reformed. These are the effects of one universal God, the invisible good dwelling in eternal Science.'' n6

n6 Science and Health, p. 78.

Faith, regeneration, and understanding are the way of genuine spiritual healing. Prayer is the means for achieving these. Each of us can turn to the truth of God and man to find the certainty - and proof - of God's omnipotent care. DAILY BIBLE VERSE I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also. I Corinthians 14:15

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