Few things can be more discouraging than to feel one is a helpless slave to wrong desires. Obsessions, unnatural appetites, sexual perversion - these can be the elements of hell to someone whose heart longs for freedom and inner peace. But where can freedom be found?
Not in accepting the misconception that heredity and upbringing have permanently distorted the character of our being. Nor in psychological accommodation with the mental demons of the carnal mind. Release from wrong desire is won through a spiritual battle - a battle in which the law of God sets us free from the weaknesses of the human mind.
In his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul brilliantly analyzes the inherently self-contradictory nature of this troubled mind. ''The good that I would,'' he laments, ''I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.'' n1 Sound familiar? Yet Paul clearly saw that wrong desire was not part of his true being, and this naturally impelled him to reject evil and want good. ''It is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me,'' n2 he concludes.
n1 Romans 7:19.
n2 Romans 7:20.
What a relief to realize that wrong desire is notm built into our permanent makeup! It is an imposition, an injustice we can rebel against and overthrow. No matter how ''me'' a wrong desire feels, no matter how long its history, it is no part of the true ''I'' of our being. Nonetheless, it does claimm our selfhood, and this is why we have to fight for our freedom.
But how can we prevail against something that seems to be so much a part of us? Paul found his answer in a spiritual law of redemption. In his own triumphant words, ''The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.'' n3
n3 Romans 8:2.
Thousands who have been healed and redeemed will attest that this eternal law has found present-day embodiment in Christian Science. The Science of Christianity takes Paul's ''It is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me'' to its logical conclusion: sin is no part of the real man revealed in Christ Jesus. Man's true nature - and therefore yours and mine - must be inherently good and pure. Sin, including wrong desire, must be a lie about the reality of God and man. Being a lie, it cannot exist in the presence of man's God-derived innocence understood and lived.
Thus through prayer that affirms man's sinless nature in Christ, we can, with God's grace, conquer wrong desire. No one says this is easy. In Science and Health with Key to the Scripturesm, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, states, ''Man's enslavement to the most relentless masters - passion, selfishness, envy, hatred, and revenge - is conquered only by a mighty struggle.''
But this healing book also reassures us, ''Here Christian Science is the sovereign panacea, giving strength to the weakness of mortal mind, - strength from the immortal and omnipotent Mind, - and lifting humanity above itself into purer desires, even into spiritual power and good-will to man.'' n4
n4 Science and Health, p. 407.
God, the divine Mind, by virtue of His allness and supreme goodness, supports us in our battle with wrong desire and all sin. He strengthens us through spiritual ideas and satisfies us with feelings of peace and purity. As we awake to our true selfhood as God's sinless likeness, the dark demons of wrong desire disappear in the light of divine Truth. We feel God's comforting assurance that the good in us is the real ''I.'' What inspiration this gives us to persevere until we win! DAILY BIBLE VERSE Follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called. I Timothy 6:11, 12