What to believe?

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

Somone shares some gossip. The paper records an economic prediction. A TV ad makes claims about the value of a product. Do you choose to accept the information or not?

Important as these choices may be, there are other more significant choices we each make moment by moment. These relate to what we accept about ourselves. Often we're faced with someone's judgmental comments or analysis of us. Or even with symptoms of sickness. Are these true? Or not?

One foolproof method for judging the basic truth of any evidence is to ask, "Is this consistent with what I know about God?" Since God is the only creator, and the creator of all good, anything that is not good can't be authorized by Him. God was pleased with all that He made (see Gen., Chap. 1). We shouldn't ignore things that aren't good, but we can correct them by understanding that they have no legitimacy, because they aren't created by God.

The psalms repeatedly talk about God's power and glory. About His eternal care, and life-preserving power. Christ Jesus called God "Father" and taught His love for us. Jesus' healings, done to glorify God, also testify to a loving God. St. John the Revelator affirmed that God, who is Love, sees us as His beloved children.

Because God is good and All, we can reject as false whatever we're presented with that appears contrary in nature to Him, no matter how disturbing it is. This is letting spiritual sense prevail over material sense.

It is the material, physical senses that validate disease, personal failing, even the destructive forces of nature. But I find that a statement in the Christian Science textbook gives important guidance. It contrasts the evidence of the five senses with evidence obtained from spiritual sense, and cautions, "We must look deep into realism instead of accepting only the outward sense of things" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Pg. 129).

A Bible story shows it's important to make accurate judgments about what we accept as real. It gives insight into the power of spiritual sense to change human circumstances (see II Kings, Chap. 6). At one point, the King of Syria sent an army with horses and chariots to capture the prophet Elisha. They surrounded the city during the night. When Elisha's servant got up early, he saw the enemy and was terrified.

But Elisha saw something else. He knew God was present there. He saw the deeper reality and said, "They that be with us are more than they that be with them." Elisha prayed for God to enable his servant to see what was true. And then the servant saw that "the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." He was shown God's powerful presence right where his eyes had seen only physical force and danger. And both of them were saved.

Making an accurate judgment about what is real has a very practical impact on our everyday lives. I've seen this. One time I burned myself in the kitchen. The burn was painful, and the skin was red. Later, as I thought deeply about this, I recognized that a burn and its effects weren't consistent with what I knew of God and of my place as his loved daughter. God, who is good, was always taking care of me. I could never be separate from His care. The Bible statement that I was His image and likeness (see Gen. 1:26, 27) confirmed my spiritual identity as incapable of being hurt or destroyed. I knew this wasn't the way things seemed to be, but I'd had proofs that the evidence of the material senses couldn't be trusted as truthful. Trusting and honoring God had healed me before.

Some time later, I burned my hand again. But this time I instantly saw that I really had a choice about what I accepted as true in my life. It was clear I could reject what I knew wasn't true right that minute. And I chose not to be burned. This wasn't human gutsiness or bravado. It was just so clear to me that God, my loving Father, was eternally caring for me. And that was the only truth of my being. I felt no pain, and there were no signs of a burn.

The reality God creates is perfect and spiritual. As we keep thought focused on that reality, our daily life experience comes more and more into line with God's goodness.

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