While it may sometimes seem we’re subject to countless influences, the knowledge that there is only one real influence – the divine influence – enables us to increasingly prove the truth of what we are as children of God.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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I have found it to be a good practice to ask myself what is driving me. What kind of thoughts am I being governed by? Are they as good as they should be? Observing our own lives and what’s happening around us, it may appear that there are times when less-than-noble motives and thinking lie behind what’s going on.

But the good news is that we can grow to think and act from a more kind and selfless standpoint that truly blesses ourselves and others.

The Bible offers many lessons in this area. The clearest is Christ Jesus’ exemplary example, which remains deeply instructional today. As the Son of God, Jesus was wholly influenced by divine Love, and this ruled out any susceptibility to self-serving thoughts. Being impelled by God’s goodness alone, Jesus revealed this goodness in healing and transforming lives.

This also enabled him to remain safe from others who were driven by evil thinking. In one instance, an enraged mob essentially forced Jesus out to a steep hill, ready to fling him over the edge. But as The Living Bible puts it, “He walked away through the crowd and left them” (Luke 4:30).

Jesus understood that the anger which had overtaken the people had no divine authority nor power, and therefore could not touch or harm him. His protection lay in his understanding of his indestructible relationship to God. And essential to Jesus’ mission was to show how that permanent, secure relationship to God truly belongs to everyone.

Mary Baker Eddy defined the Christ, the power that animated Jesus so completely, as “‘God with us,’ – a divine influence ever present in human consciousness” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. xi). Christ continues today to urge us forward in acts of healing love and peace.

While working at a company many years ago, I vividly saw the power of this divine influence to govern what drives our experience.

At one point everyone in the company was expected to go through a workshop. Some of the first employees to go through it reported that it involved humiliation and belittlement of people before building them back up.

Many who participated in this workshop left in tears and confusion, and the tension was palpable. It appeared that those running the company and holding the workshop were trying to control and manipulate our feelings. There appeared to be nothing good about it at all. My first thought was, “Who do they think they are!” Then dread set in, and I wanted to flee.

But Christian Science had taught me that I could always pray to feel God’s presence regardless of the circumstances I faced. So I prayed to perceive that true relationship to God that Jesus had evidenced – to know the spiritual innocence of myself and others. I saw that each one of us is God’s child made in His likeness – spiritual because God is Spirit – so we could neither carry out nor be subject to any evil intention.

I also saw that divine Love’s plan of good is a spiritual fact that always blesses everyone. And as it turned out, I never needed to take part in the workshop, and it wasn’t long before they just stopped altogether. I was grateful for this outcome!

Divine Love itself is our true source of thought. It is actually the one and only source of our thinking. Love’s power shows wrong thoughts or impulses to have no power to drive any kind of activity. It gives us the authority to refute thoughts that aren’t from God, good, and deny them as capable of bringing about any effect.

The understanding that we can reject oppressive or dominating thinking as incapable of driving anyone’s life brings great benefits. Then we are open to accepting and following the inspiration from God that always moves us with a spiritual grace and calm that loves and embraces others, too.

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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.