EVERY day we are besieged by dozens of sources of information. The morning newspaper tells us recent events, the radio reports a traffic jam, our colleagues at work remind us of unfinished projects, the television presents a world in crisis, and our family members speak of their needs, their fears, their dreams, and their problems. And through it all, the physical senses are suggesting to us, through their own diagnostic system called brain and nerves, whether we're sick or well, happy or sad, enjoying o r suffering.
But all of these sources of information are material and finite. They can't give us a consistently true and accurate picture of reality because they carry the innate limits of mortality. Certainly we've all yearned at times for a better report, one of harmony, peace, permanence, fearlessness, joy, health, and goodness. But where can such a reliable report be found?
I've found the Scriptures to be the source of the most reliable information. In other words, God, speaking through spiritual sense and through His inspired Word in the Bible, provides the true report of our being as His spiritual creation. In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, points out: ``The Scriptures inform us that man is made in the image and likeness of God.'' And she adds: ``Matter is not that likeness.''
What a revolutionary report this is. In effect, we're told that all the information from matter is not reliable for it is not like God, not derived from God. Furthermore, as we let the Scriptures inform us, we are able to see that the true information about man is that he reflects God, or expresses Godlikeness. So man, like God, divine Spirit, must be spiritual, immortal, harmonious, and good.
Now admittedly, the material senses can seem to overwhelm us with sensational reports, while a report from God may seem more like what the Biblical prophet Elijah experienced as ``a still small voice.'' How can we be expected to hear, much less give heed to, such meekness in the face of the aggressiveness of material informers and information?
It's not as hard as it sounds. Think of the difference between a flashy tabloid newspaper and a paper like the one you're reading now. You chose this one to read because you trust it to be a reliable source for the information you want. It's not sensationalistic and dramatic. Instead, it informs you in a way that is truthful and reliable, pointing thought to solutions rather than perpetuating lies.
The voice of God speaks to the spiritual sense of each of us, His children, through consistent, trustworthy reports of goodness. There is nothing sensual or sensational about these reports; yet they are lively, not dull. They point to solutions to the problems we face and lift us to inspiration and healing. Could there be anything more wonderful?
In the Bible, Paul urges the Philippians to turn their attention to what is good and spiritual. He tells them: ``Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.'' Isn't he in effect pointing to a spiritual source for genuine information and assuring us that relying on this source will bless us?
Not long ago I saw once again how turning to the Scriptures for a true report about my being blesses and heals. The physical senses were reporting that I was coming down with a cold. As a Christian Scientist, I'm accustomed to praying, so I turned to the Scriptures for the accurate information I needed. I remembered a passage from Genesis that tells us that God gave man dominion over all the earth. I continued to pray until I felt the authority of this passage and knew that as God's child I am not at the
mercy of contagion. Then I went to sleep as usual. I woke once in the middle of the night, when I again claimed God-given dominion as the only truth about my being. I went back to sleep and in the morning woke up entirely free. In fact, it wasn't until midmorning that I even remembered that I had been ill the previous night.
Just as we have a choice of which newspaper we read or which television report we listen to, we have a choice of which report about man's being we will accept as true. Sometimes it may seem easier or more entertaining to listen to the inaccurate reports of the physical senses. But such a choice brings with it the pain and misery inherent in accepting false information. At any point, however, we are free to make a clear choice to turn to the Scriptures and let them inform us. We find in them endless testi mony to man's dominion, freedom, and immortality. This accurate information about the man God created-- about every man, woman, and child--comforts, encourages, directs, chastens, sustains, heals. And lives are transformed by reflecting this harmonious report. When we've seen this result once, we'll joyfully turn again and again to God's Word to receive His invariable benediction and blessing.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. II Timothy 3:16