A Christian Science perspective.

In this attention-scattering age of new gadgets, speedy social networking sites, and bewildering choices in every sphere of human activity, how does anyone make wise decisions about what to buy or watch or do – or even how to live one’s life?

How do you select from 34 varieties of bread in one supermarket, or an entire aisle in the hardware store displaying white paints ranging from Crushed Cotton to Moonlit Snow to Soft Linen?

You need turn no further than the Bible for a helpful guide. Take Joshua’s ringing challenge to the Israelites to choose whether they would follow the Lord who had proven His trustworthiness or allow the local gods to control them: “[C]hoose you this day whom ye will serve” (Joshua 24:15).

And Mary Baker Eddy stressed the importance of choosing good as the reality when she explained: “Man is tributary to God, Spirit, and to nothing else. God’s being is infinity, freedom, harmony, and boundless bliss” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 481).

These qualities might be viewed as flowing naturally from the connection we have with God, which is explained by Christ Jesus in the 15th chapter of the book of John, using the analogy of a vine and its branches. We won’t live fruitful lives unless we readily choose to honor this connection and so receive the spiritual direction that God provides.

Our guidance in decisionmaking can safely be left to the divine Mind, as the Apostle Paul confirms: “[W]hen the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22, 23, Living Bible).

We cannot develop these qualities (or those listed by Mrs. Eddy above) on our own. If we want them to be an integral part of our daily experience, we should recognize that our lives are already at one with the Holy Spirit, under whose control fruit ripens naturally. This takes away the pressure, the anxiety, the feelings of helplessness, which so easily invade our busy lives today.

And we still have choices. For example, we can choose to be more loving by acknowledging our oneness with divine Love. No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness.

We can choose patience because it’s one of the ways in which we affirm the unerring government (and patience) of divine Love, its originator. We can turn waiting moments into opportunities for healing prayer.

And we can put self-control high on our list of essential goals. As philosopher and religion writer Dallas Willard once put it, we can always “[practice] the discipline of not having to have the last word.” We can make sure that divine Love has the first and last word!

In any area of life, can we do better than choose to be influenced only by God?

From the Christian Science Sentinel.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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