PEOPLE are working hard these days to prevent illness by taking care of themselves. Sometimes this care takes the form of regular exercise, improved eating habits, or other physical regimens. But there's something else that can, and inevitably must, be done at a much more profound level in maintaining one's health. It has to do with keeping our thought in harmony with God and His infinite goodness. Holiness maintains health as nothing else can.
The Bible counsels us: ``Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.''1 The New English Bible translates these verses: ``Do not think how wise you are, but fear the Lord and turn from evil. Let that be the medicine to keep you in health, the liniment for your limbs.''
One might well ask, How does righteousness or obedience to God keep us in good health? What does our thinking have to do with the state of our bodies?
Expressing more of the divine nature begins to awaken us to who we really are as God's children and enables us to experience the well-being that characterizes our true selfhood. Our true nature is wholly spiritual, the outcome of divine Spirit. It includes such God-derived qualities as strength, wholeness, purity, vitality. Bringing our thoughts and lives into accord with the very source of these qualities, with our creator and sustainer, is a sure promoter of our well-being.
This isn't always an easy task. Pride tries to tell us we have no need for divine Spirit. The human ego often wants to depend on itself. But pride only distances us from our creator and His outpouring of good. When we deify personal selfhood, we lose sight of the health and safety that God provides.
The temptation to depend on material substances for our sense of well-being is also a stumbling block. God's embrace--discernable to spiritualized thought--is more effective in maintaining health than food supplements or drugs.
One of the central points of Christian Science is that God, good, never sends pain or injury, disease or death. Divine Spirit ordains only good for its offspring. Through the might of Spirit each of us can actually resist illness and injury.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes: ``Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously.''2
Later she adds: ``Take possession of your body, and govern its feeling and action. Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good.... Be firm in your understanding that the divine Mind governs, and that in Science man reflects God's government.''3
The process of letting divine Spirit govern our thought and lives does not come about through willpower. Rather, there's a great yielding that needs to take place through prayer--a yielding of mortal fears, beliefs, and indulgences to the purity and perfection of God. The more we humbly yield, the more we feel in our whole being the strength that Spirit bestows.
Think for a minute of the life of Christ Jesus. He was continuously yielding to God's impulsions. The Master understood his utter dependence on divine Spirit. He lived in righteousness, hearing and heeding his Father's voice. Yet he claimed no special personal ability, declaring, ``I can of mine own self do nothing.''4
The Master's meekness and obedience enabled him not only to maintain his own health but to heal those around him. No other Christian healer has matched the works of Jesus. Through prayer alone he cast out leprosy, blindness, deafness, palsy, insanity, and many other disorders.
We, today, can think of Jesus as our Way-shower. He showed us how to maintain health through God-centered thinking and living. He proved unmistakably the might of Spirit to protect and maintain man's being. Daily Christian practice, bearing witness to the good of God, enfolds us in our Father's healing love.
1Proverbs 3:7, 8. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 392. 3Ibid., p. 393. 4John 5:30. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Psalms 119:1