The part we play

We each have an active part to play in maintaining our health and well-being. Since an individual's state of thought directly affects his state of health, indeed every aspect of his experience, we should be alert to what and how we are thinking. We can start by claiming our God-given right to enjoy health, the birthright of man made in God's image.

One day my daughter and I were both ill. From time to time I spoke to her about God's love and care for His children. And at one point she reminded me firmly that His love is here, right now, as if she sensed a tentativeness in my assurance of God's ever-presence. Shortly after this she went happily to her own bed and had a peaceful night.

But I still had such a severe headache that I didn't want to think. I felt I had come to a halt and was making no progress. However, little by little I was able to turn away from an almost overwhelming sense of illness and more vigorously establish my understanding of health on a spiritual basis.

Once I started moving in this direction I was able to challenge the pain and discomfort. I glimpsed the reality of man's true, spiritual nature as God's reflection, unconfined by suffering mortality. The final release came in the early hours of the morning. I had become engrossed in reading testimonies of healing published in the Christian Science Sentinel and had been considering how the healings had taken place. When I returned to bed, I slept well and woke up healed. The alert, childlike trust my daughter had in God's presence enabled her quickly to be a clear witness to health. But I needed to make an effort to rouse myself.

Shortly after this healing I read a sentence in the chapter ''Christian Science Practice'' in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures where the author, Mary Baker Eddy, n1 states: ''To be immortal, we must forsake the mortal sense of things, turn from the lie of false belief to Truth, and gather the facts of being from the divine Mind.'' n2 I felt this summed up what had taken place that evening, and I was particularly interested in the active verbs -- ''forsake,'' ''turn,'' ''gather.

n1 Mary Baker Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.

n2 Science and Health, p.370.m

The Bible reveals the necessity for such mental effort. Our Way-shower, Christ Jesus, stressed the importance of prayer, of communion with God. And in his parables, preaching, and healing he showed how vital it is to alertly watch our state of thought. It's also noteworthy that in many accounts of Jesus' healings he said something to challenge and stir the individual to the acceptance of healing or to its moral demands.

This Biblical advice is good for us today, too: ''Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.'' n3 At times this work may require great effort because we are challenging entrenched beliefs of mortal selfhood -- fear, selfishness, sensuality among them -- which underlie bodily disorders. Our work may require discipline, courage, persistence, and a determined refusal to become discouraged. It certainly requires humility, a yielding to God's will, and a realization that qualities opposed to the divine nature have nothing to do with our actual, spiritual nature.

n3 II Timothy 2:15.

We do have the ability to discard disease a nd the thinking underlying it because they're no part of our true, Godlike selfhood -- and the very power of God, of unopposable Truth and Love, supports our efforts. God is the ever-available source of strength, activity, spiritual understanding, and perception. Glimpses of spiritual reality bring clarity and illumination that sustain determination and hope. Basing our efforts on the reality of God's supreme power and allness, we learn how to become true workmen -- to effectively dispute the claims of disease and recognize the eternal presence of health. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13, 14

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