TODAY, perhaps as never before in the world's history, there is an urgent need for men and women to stand guard over their own thinking. Too easily one's capacity to think clearly can be eroded by the subtle suggestion that it is acceptable to let other people or forces control one's life and destiny. This tendency may start early in the family circle if a dominant member attempts to do most of the thinking for the other family members. At school or college, also, pressures from peer groups sometimes tempt young people to compromise their moral standards and conform to the groups' thinking, instead of following the leadings of their own conscience and developing their natural ability to govern themselves.
In many parts of the world there are domineering leaders who hold sway under the guise of nationalism, and people find themselves caught up in factions and wars that stunt individual development and independent thought.
We can turn to Christ Jesus as an example of a man who thought and acted under the supreme aegis of God's law and therefore maintained the highest degree of self-government, even in the face of opposition and hatred. Over and over again the Master was able to refute the subtle encroachments of worldly, limited thinking, which would oppose his God-given mission to redeem mankind from sin and suffering.
Jesus counseled his disciples about the need for inner vigilance and alertness. In a chapter in Mark's Gospel it's recorded that he tells them some of the upheavals that will accompany the coming of Christ in full authority and power. Jesus speaks of the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem, and the deception of false messiahs that will come in his name; he speaks of wars and troubles, famines and earthquakes, but he also assures them that his teachings will endure.1
The Master taught them in a simple parable their role in those momentous days of change and upheaval. Alluding perhaps to his own ``journey'' out of mortality by way of the resurrection and ascension, he says: ``For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning.'' Then, speaking more universally, he declares, ``And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.''
We can take this as a direct command to Christian disciples today. The momentous events Jesus foretold are certainly signs that relate to our own times. They tell us of the coming of Christ in this age. And the demand to watch is just as imperative for us.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``Like our nation, Christian Science has its Declaration of Independence. God has endowed man with inalienable rights, among which are self-government, reason, and conscience.'' She continues, ``Man is properly self-governed only when he is guided rightly and governed by his Maker, divine Truth and Love.''2 Our obedience and devotion to God and our willingness to allow divine Principle to govern our lives and thinking give us a freedom no human government can bestow on its citizens. As we claim our God-given rights of ``self-government, reason, and conscience'' and exercise them in our lives, we find our independence growing. Yet this independence also includes our responsibility for and compassionate consideration of others, as our Master showed us when he said, ``Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.''3
Jesus set us the task of being watch-men and -women, not simply on our own account but for the sake of the world. Through daily prayer we ask God to equip us for this task of alertness and vigilance. We start by watching the trend of our own thinking throughout the day, not allowing evil in its many guises to intrude into our mental home.
Watchmen usually carry a bright light with them when they guard against night intruders. In the same way the light of the Christ, shining continuously in individual consciousness, dissipates the dark shadows of foreboding and fear and gives us confidence in the triumph of Truth over evil. We need to be vigilant that materiality doesn't lull us into apathy and dull our watch.
When we bring our lives daily and hourly under the government of Christ, and into obedience and love for God, we are helping to hasten the day when Christ's rule will be universally recognized and accepted.
1See Mark, chap. 13. 2Science and Health, p. 106. 3Matt. 22:39; see also Lev. 19:18.
This is a condensed version of an editorial that appeared in the September 5 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel. - NO BIBLE VERSE TODAY -