Discerning God's presence - a sure defense

The world presents a fascinating, and at the same time sobering, picture. We see progress in many areas, but we also see homelessness, famine, repression, war. Circumstances frequently seem tangled, even hopeless.

Too often we tend simply to accept circumstances as though there's not much we can do about them, whether in the world or in our own lives. But what causes misfortune? Does it just happen for no reason? Can't we be freed from it?

Perhaps a major reason so many feel frustrated is that it would appear we're all pretty much on our own and that we can only hope for the best. After all, we can't see God; and if there is a God, why is the world so troubled?

The fact that physical eyes can't see God isn't necessarily proof that He doesn't exist. Nor is the fact that evil seems widespread necessarily proof of God's absence. The prevalence of discord only proves that we need to discern God's presence better, learn to love Him more, and conform more consistently to His law through a deeper expression of purity, love, honesty, humility.

Christ Jesus illustrated, time and time again, what a perception of God can do for humanity. Sin and disease were prevalent in his time as they are today, yet he brought healing to those he encountered. He proved the presence of a divine order through his works, discerning the harmony of spiritual reality and bringing it to light in healed bodies and regenerated lives. And he taught that we could all begin to follow his example, cultivating the spiritual perception and purity so necessary for healing and salvation.

Jesus' words ''Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God'' n1 are as vital today as in his day. For purity alone can perceive God. And only by discerning God's nearness, feeling in prayer His comforting presence as universal Spirit and Love, can we find genuine peace and dominion. Not recognizing God as our defense, we're forced to grapple with circumstances from a limited standpoint, from a materialistic view that considers evil at least as powerful as good, and man the inevitable victim of events outside his control.

n1 Matthew 5:8.

One may argue that evil is as powerful as good. But Jesus showed - and we ourselves can in some degree prove - that God alone is power; that good is the reality of existence, not evil. If we reject God, we reject our only genuine help.

Sensuality, selfishness, dishonesty, hatred, tend to obscure our perception of God and diminish our ability to reflect His power. God is always God. He's always infinite good, excluding evil. He maintains the well-being of man as His spiritual likeness. But we need, individually and collectively, to prove this. And we can't prove it without bringing our thoughts and actions into harmony with divine law, following Jesus' example. The ''pure in heart'' shall ''see God.''

All evil is a horrible imposition on humanity, without legitimacy and without reality in God's sight. And humanity is, in a very real sense, innocent of it. Yet in order to prove that innocence, demonstrate God's perfect government of man, we have to accept responsibility for our thoughts and acts and make sure they conform to the divine standard. If, for example, individuals more widely and consistently insisted on purity of thought - on being loyal to their spouses , shutting out idolatrous thoughts and practices, and so forth - not only would their own lives attain a higher level but nations would be helped.

There's no question that spirituality carries with it a sure defense, genuine security. Individuals and nations can't help surmounting difficulties when materialism is challenged by pure, God-based thinking. Genuine purity isn't naivet; it's strength. It isn't boring; it's enriching.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ''Sensual treasures are laid up 'where moth and rust doth corrupt.' Mortality is their doom.'' She continues farther along: ''One's aim, a point beyond faith, should be to find the footsteps of Truth, the way to health and holiness. We should strive to reach the Horeb height where God is revealed; and the cornerstone of all spiritual building is purity.''n2

n2 Science and Health with Key t the Scriptures, P. 241.

In these challenging times we can't afford to push God aside and indulge in sensuality. Such a state of thought inflates evil. Purity, loyalty to divine Spirit alone, deflates and destroys it. DAILY BIBLE VERSE To be spiritually minded is life and peace. Romans 8:6nce and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 241.

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