What are you grateful for?

A Christian Science perspective: The First Commandment is a law that brings healing.

A high school girl asked her Christian Science Sunday School teacher if unsightly growths could be healed through prayer. “Of course,” the teacher answered. “In fact, let’s talk about how to heal through prayer.”

So the class began to share ideas they had learned about spiritual healing. One of the boys said, “I always start my prayer with gratitude.” The girl replied, “You mean I’m supposed to be grateful for an ugly growth?!” She laughed, and the class laughed with her.

No, we don’t have to be grateful for the problems in our lives, but we can surely be grateful for the law that heals them. Christ Jesus said he came to fulfill the law (see Matthew 5:17,18). Note how he did it: He healed the sick, raised the dead, fed multitudes, stilled a storm, and told his followers to go and do likewise. Obedience to the law Christ Jesus followed and gratitude for its protection are powerful healing tools. That healing law is stated, briefly and succinctly, in the First Commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).

I learned how the First Commandment works as a law when I discovered a small growth on my face. It wasn’t too visible at first, but then it began to spread. I knew it was time to take a deeper look at the healing power of that simple law. I had learned through the study of the Scriptures and “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy, that obedience to the First Commandment – acknowledging that only God, omnipotent good, has power – brings divine goodness and the Christly purity of spiritual, healing ideas into our daily lives. In acknowledging and loving God we begin to lose our fear of a power apart from all-powerful God. We also begin to perceive our own real nature as God has created us – purely spiritual and good.

An honest examination of my thinking revealed a host of ideas that were unloving and fearful. I needed some serious mental housecleaning. In Christian Science, Love is another name for God, and man is His reflection – His image. Love is the healer, and my job was to obey the law of Love by eliminating from thought anything opposed to His nature.

As I took on this self-examination with vigor, I found I was becoming more interested in lifting my thought to be in tune with God than I was in the growth. One morning as I washed my face I saw that the growth was gone! Not diminishing, not spreading less, but gone.

In Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy writes, “Action expresses more gratitude than speech” (p. 3). Christ Jesus showed by his marvelous works that obedience to one God, one Father of us all, brings healing, and our own obedience enables us to follow Jesus’ healing example. I’m immensely grateful for that promise. We’ve barely scratched the surface of the great healing potential of understanding and obeying God’s law! It’s a lofty goal, but it’s a promise, too, of the spiritual healing that we can accomplish today. That’s what I’m grateful for.

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