More Than Saying 'No'
IF all of life's problems could be easily resolved by using one simple phrase--such as the catchy "Just say no--wouldn't we all rush to avail ourselves of that simple remedy? But if it were so simple, would we really give up all of our notions of problem-solving--give up all our diets, medications, therapists, counselors, consultants, and so forth--and just say "No! to our problems?If we're honest with ourselves, probably not. And even the suggestions that there's an "easy solution may seem like cold comfort when one feels overwhelmed by circumstances. In fact, there are times when saying "No to temptation can be among the hardest things we have to do. If one is struggling with compulsive behavior, for example, and has tried in vain to say "No to a cigarette or to eating another chocolate chip cookie or to stealing a pair of earrings in a store or to remaining in a destructive r elationship, it isn't enough just to say "No! to the temptation. A stronger basis for rejecting temptation is needed. In the Bible, Luke's Gospel records that Christ Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness being tempted by the devil. Each temptation, however, was met with a rejection based on Scriptural authority. For example, at one point Jesus responded to the tempter, "Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. What was this devil that Jesus denied so summarily? It was the argument that he turn aside from his spiritual mission to achieve personal wealth, fame, and glory. In rejecting temptation, Jesus had not relied upon his personal authority or will. He had turned instead to God's perpetual promise of divine protection. The basis for freedom from temptation is the fact that all power belongs to God. And it's our reliance on the power and authority of God, man's creator, that empowers our rejection of tem ptation. The Gospels give many accounts of how Jesus liberated individuals from behavior that they couldn't escape on their own. Among them were a madman who called himself "Legion because of the number of devils he was tormented by; an adulterous woman; a corrupt tax collector. These were hard-core cases; they needed more than a simplistic "No to free them from bondage. And Jesus healed them through his understanding that man is the beloved child of God, protected by God's power. In each case Jesus' rejection of error went deeper than surface appearances. With acute spiritual discernment, he dug to the root of the problem and actually changed--healed--the individual seeking aid. Understanding, to a degree, the spiritual basis on which Jesus healed, we too may base our rejection of error on God's power and love for His creation and find ourselves healed. As we begin to see that there is indeed a loving, all-powerful God who cares for His creation, we are better able to reject temptation outright. We begin to recognize that from the standpoint of God's perfect, spiritual creation, freedom from wrongdoing is natural to man and that we can find our freedom from compulsion through reasoned prayer that shows us more of the reality of man as made in God's likeness. Christian Science shows how such liberating prayer is applied and effective in individual experience. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of this religion, presents an allegorical trial. In the "Court of Error, which bases its judgment on material, flawed evidence, the man is condemned to death. This allegorical trial opens with the statement: "The patient feels ill, ruminates, and the trial commences. While this trial scene relates to illness, I've found it helpful in praying to overcome both sin and disease to be reminded that rumination, mentally chewing over a line of thought that induces undesirable behavior and its penalties, is never in our best interest. In the trial cited above, the death sentence is appealed and overturned in the "Court of Spirit. The refusal to mull over the temptations of greed, gluttony, lust, hate, is a powerful "No! that helps us to stop the process that leads to disease and even death. But when more is needed, we can still--through prayer--take our case to the higher "Court of Spirit. "There, Mrs. Eddy assures us in Science and Health, "Man is adjudged innocent of transgressing physical laws, because there are no such laws. As we learn to live more fully under God's law, rejecting material temptations becomes easier and and we come to see that God's law is just and healing of all human hurt.
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BIBLE VERSE Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. I Corinthians 10:12, 13