Confidence in our God-given ability

A Christian Science perspective: What is the source of our intelligence and ability?

Thinking that I wouldn’t be able to grasp the concepts of the required accounting course, I decided to sit in the corner of the back row of the classroom. I looked at all the other students with frustration, because I thought they would all understand what was being taught, while I would not.

Why I thought this negative feeling would help me understand what was being taught is beyond me, but I didn’t know what else to do at the time. I failed the course.

Because it was a required course, I had to take it again. In preparation for the class, I decided that I really needed to pray about it. Instead of seeing myself as inept, unintelligent, or unable to understand the material, I took a different approach: I started from the standpoint that man is a child of God – intelligent and fully endowed with the ability to grasp and know what is needed. I prayed to know that divine Mind, another name for God, was my real source of intelligence and that I was the expression of that Mind. I claimed my divine dominion and ability.

Instead of sitting in the back when I retook the class, I sat in the very front row, right in the middle. And I decided to ask the professor every single question I had in order to understand what he was teaching. I reasoned that even if the professor and other students got irritated with me for being so persistent, I would still do it so that I could learn what I needed to know and understand it.

I got an A. Some fellow students even thanked me for asking questions to make the concepts we were learning clearer. Even though I did not become a professional accountant or bookkeeper, that experience has been in my thought many times since then. It proved to me that feelings of inadequacy, as well as personal egotism, are overcome by realizing that God, divine Mind, is the source of intelligence and right thinking for every man, woman, and child.

The Bible makes it clear that this perfect Mind is the true source of our ability. In referring to God, the writer of Job says: “But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him” (23:13, 14).

Christ Jesus, who demonstrated impeccable wisdom and unlimited intelligence, declared that everything he did was made possible because he acknowledged God as the divine source for all the works he performed. He said, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19).

Christian Science completely sustains the fact that turning to divine Mind gives us only good and intelligent thoughts, because God is omnipotent good, the all-knowing divine Mind, of whom we are in reality the spiritual outcome and expression. God gives us the capacity, confidence, and courage to do right. Even a glimpse of the supremacy of God and our inseparable relation to Him strengthens our mental comprehension and ability.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, writes: “The term Science, properly understood, refers only to the laws of God and to His government of the universe, inclusive of man. From this it follows that business men and cultured scholars have found that Christian Science enhances their endurance and mental powers, enlarges their perception of character, gives them acuteness and comprehensiveness and an ability to exceed their ordinary capacity. The human mind, imbued with this spiritual understanding, becomes more elastic, is capable of greater endurance, escapes somewhat from itself, and requires less repose” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 128).

This keen understanding and discernment is available for everyone to grasp and put into practice, whether we are in the classroom, in business, or in the political world. God, divine Mind, has no limits of intelligence. It’s there for everyone to claim and experience.

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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.