What Are We Capable Of?

WHAT is it that would make us feel that we just aren't good enough, and may never be? Once when I doubted my own ability to face a particular challenge, I said to a friend, who was a Christian Scientist, "I want to do the right thing.'' "That's not the point,'' she said.

At first I was surprised, but as we talked I saw that I'd felt basically that my ability to face that challenge was wholly dependent on my own personal resourcefulness. This way of thinking can be so habitual that, without realizing it, we're left feeling almost wholly separated from God. As long as we're unaware of this general material view, we're going to run into many situations where we feel inadequate.

In regard to such thinking, it's interesting to consider Christ Jesus' response to many people who were in need. He often asked them to do things that would have been considered impossible by others. He would ask a man whose hand was crippled, for example, to stretch his hand out. Such encounters weren't scenes of willful demanding. A careful reading of the Gospels indicates that Jesus' confidence in people's ability to respond came from a reasonable understanding of man's true nature as the child o f God.

Those who were receptive to Jesus' prayer and direction must have caught a glimpse of man's nature as the spiritual expression of God. This spiritual insight changed them. They were able to far exceed what they had thought themselves capable of.

I know someone who was told that she had little aptitude for advanced work in school. Not long afterward, this person learned about Christian Science and began to see something of the spiritual nature of man as the expression, or reflection, of God. She began to realize the importance of understanding God and saw that such a spiritual understanding would change her view of herself as well. A sentence from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, confirmed this: "If God were understood instead of being merely believed, this understanding would establish health.'' Science and Health goes on to point out, "Spiritual perception brings out the possibilities of being, destroys reliance on aught but God, and so makes man the image of his Maker in deed and in truth.''

As she prayed to follow God's direction she found herself able to do work she'd not been able to do previously. And she went on to advanced studies. Any argument that denies a person's ability to be good, to be intelligent, to do what is right, is not simply a denial of a person's capacities. It's a denial of God's nature as unlimited Mind and of His idea, man. Such a denial isn't modesty or humility; it's an evil. Man in his true selfhood--and this includes the true selfhood of each individual--re flects God's being just as rays of light naturally express their source.

To begin to realize that our real nature is spiritual and not mortal truly humbles and turns us Godward. In this light, Jesus' call "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect'' isn't unrealistic at all. It is a scientific statement of God's spiritual relationship to man as Father and child, or as Mind and idea. To catch sight of this truth is to begin to realize our own capacity to be good and to reflect Mind's unlimited spiritual capacities.

This is a condensed version of an editorial that appeared in the February 4 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

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