THESE are words of authority, often used by police or those in systems of justice. There are times, however, when we may need to take control of our own thinking. When thoughts of frustration, anxiety, and fear about what's going on in our bodies or our families, in our neighborhoods or the world, bombard us, can we arrest them? Such thoughts can seem to take over our thinking and cause despair, but only if we let them.
One of the definitions of the word arrest is "to seize with legal authority; to stop or check." The Bible assures that there is divine authority for taking control of our thinking. In Second Corinthians we read: "Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (10:3-5). So we can arrest fearful and alarming thoughts when they come. We can bring them "into captivity . . . to the obedience of Christ."
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science in 1866, wrote of Christ as follows in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men, speaking to the human consciousness" (p. 332). The voice of God is speaking to each of us. We can hear it when we arrest the clamor of fear and alarm. How do we know if it is God who is talking? If the thoughts offer solutions that will bless us and those around us-if they bring hope, encouragement, and assurance of God's presence and power-we can be sure these are God's messages.
It is possible to find help from God in every aspect of life, including physical problems. I recently saw an example of this.
The day before I was to leave on an important trip, I suddenly began having severe pain in my back. I had reached up and then had felt something in my back go out of place. My first reaction was dismay, because the trip would be very difficult under these conditions. But my next reaction was to put that thought under arrest, and to replace it with the spiritual facts of God's loving control. I realized that as God's likeness I could never stop reflecting Him. Since nothing could be out of order with God, nothing could be out of order in me. I was persistent in my prayer to understand these facts. I found it necessary to examine every thought that came to me, to determine whether it was worthy of admittance. If the thought was one of pain or fear, I rejected it and replaced it with an affirmation of spiritual truth. This process kept me very busy. And the pain lessened and disappeared. My trip was pleasant and productive.
After fearful and worrisome thoughts are denied, it is very important then to replace them with the healing facts concerning any given situation. Where are those healing ideas? There is always good direction to be found in the Holy Bible. For example, the book of Philippians advises, "Finally, brethren, 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" (4:8). The Bible tells how Christ Jesus spoke with authority when confronted with discord of any kind. He immediately calmed a storm on the sea of Galilee (see Mark 4:36-40). The book of Matthew says that when he was tempted of the devil, his response was, "Get thee hence, Satan," after which we read that "the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him" (4:10, 11). Jesus spent no time succumbing to either temptation or fear, and neither should anyone today.
Are you tempted to be jealous? Envious? Depressed? Well you really can detect and conquer any invading thought that would otherwise rob you of freedom and joy. You can say with divine authority to that thought: "You're under arrest!"
You can find other articles that discuss prayer in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.