These days we’ve all been charged with being especially mindful of cleanliness. We can apply this not just to our hands and surfaces around us, but to our thoughts, too – letting God’s purity wash us clean of fear and illness.

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These days people are being asked to give particular care to cleanliness. I like to think of this as relevant not just to sanitizing ourselves and our environment, but also to addressing “contamination” of a mental nature, such as entertaining fear.

Fear is not the path to progress and healing. “Keep in mind,” writes Dr. Lissa Rankin on her website, “that the news media’s job is to keep you informed about global events, but it’s also their job to get your attention and sell ad space. Panic sells.”

Panic may sell, but that doesn’t mean we need to buy it. Christian Science reveals how truly overcoming fear comes not from being personally brave, but from understanding the nature of God, whom the Bible calls Spirit and Love. As we learn more about our tender relation to this all-good and all-loving God, we become more settled, mentally washed clean of fear.

God sees us all in only one way: as His flawless, pure, spiritual creation. The Bible says of God, “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness” (Habakkuk 1:13, New King James Version). Things like anger, resentment, fear, and self-will don’t make us feel all that pure, but those things are not part of God, good, or God’s creation – so they are never an inherent part of us. As we realize that these mental states are not part of our God-created identity, our thought is increasingly purified of them.

The spiritual identity God has given us is more than just a philosophical concept. It is actually tangible and knowable. Jesus once encountered a man with a contagious skin disease who told him, “If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” With confidence in the fact that, contrary to appearances, this man was the pure offspring of God, divine Spirit, Jesus clearly wasn’t afraid. In fact, he responded, “I will: be thou clean.” In that instant, the man was healed (see Luke 5:12-15).

Through prayer, can’t we also expect to be made clean of fear or illness? Yes. It happens as we turn to our divine Shepherd, divine Love, and learn something more of God’s infinite goodness and care for us. God is here, not sporadically, but eternally.

This was made clear to me when I inadvertently swallowed a harsh chemical agent. Quickly, my throat swelled, but just as quickly, I turned to God in prayer. It was tempting, and scary, to believe that I had been contaminated by this accident.

Instead, I began considering the purity of God. I acknowledged then and there how much I love that we are, in fact, the very expression of God’s nature.

Prayerful thought made clean by God is a perfect defense. As I embraced the simple yet deep, inspired fact of my spiritual purity, it healed me in a few moments. Not only did the discomfort and swelling completely vanish, I felt happily clean of fear and very much renewed.

We become most unafraid not by telling ourselves to be fearless, but by letting the spiritual idea of divine Truth, or Christ, purify our thoughts, washing them of the notion that Spirit or Spirit’s immortal offspring can be threatened. To the extent that this occurs, we show forth the truth of God’s nature. “In proportion to his purity is man perfect; and perfection is the order of celestial being which demonstrates Life in Christ, Life’s spiritual ideal,” states “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science (p. 337).

What an encouraging statement to realize that our purity corresponds to the nature of divine Life, God. God is 100% pure and perfect, so as God’s expressions we are 100% spiritual and utterly pure. Moment by moment, thought by thought, we can open our hearts to this truth of our nature. We can maintain spiritual freshness by letting God’s spiritual goodness and purity shine through. This is a clean state of thought that has the power, not just of human thinking, but of God, divine Truth, behind it.

And this is the call for today. Through heartfelt prayer, with God’s loving help, we can confront and overcome impurities in our thoughts and lives. With these words from the Bible, we can joyfully pray: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalms 51:10).

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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.