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OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Ancient and Modern Necromancy, alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced”
for November 21-27, 2022

by John & Lindsey Biggs, C.S. of Maryland Heights, MO
541 418 1176 johnbiggscs@gmail.com
541 460 3515 biggs.lindsey@gmail.com


INTRODUCTION

This week’s Lesson tells us all the ways that God has given us dominion and power to overcome evil. From governing us with health and harmony to providing answers for difficult global challenges, God’s law of goodness is operating in our lives and revealing universal harmony.


GOLDEN TEXT

I love this Golden Text from Romans because the very statement indicates that we have the power and authority to not be overcome with evil, but to overcome evil with good, God. This power is inherent in us as the image and likeness of God. Knowing who we are as the spiritual ideas of God, give us the authority and ability to denounce error (a belief that we are separate from God, good). This rouses our thinking to not accept – but to reject – every claim of “something” opposed to God – “never fearing nor obeying error in any form”. (SH p. 244)

We don’t do this alone or by our own power. The Bible tells us “…it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)

The Bible also tells us:
“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4 ESV)

RESPONSIVE READING

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked:” Galatians 6:7

God is not mocked. Those sneaky, lying thoughts are always trying to mock God. Notice the serpent mocks God when he speaks to Eve. Eve has just clearly stated why she is not allowed to eat the forbidden fruit, and the serpent mocks it. “… Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4 Ye, 5)

We are warned:
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (II Corinthians 11:3)

We are also told that we need to be “Be sober, be vigilant;” (I Peter 5:8)

Part of a definition for vigilant includes being “watchful on all sides”.

Being watchful means we are keeping awake to what is really true – namely God and His perfect, spiritual creation. A creation that is already secure, whole, complete – living in an atmosphere of divine Love – and having everything it needs to be a wonderful expression of God.

With every thought, we can determine: does this measure up? Is this thought allowed in? Is this what God is saying?

God gives us the spiritual strength that we need. The Responsive Reading states:
“I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised:” (Psalm 18:3) and “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me…” (Psalm 34:4)

It’s wonderful to know that God is the “bouncer” for our thoughts – helping us to defend ourselves so that we can live productive and harmonious lives.

One way to do this is to magnify the Lord. “Magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.” (Psalm 34:3) When we think of the role of a magnifying glass, we can use that same methodology to God – magnifying all the good that God is. As God gets bigger in our consciousness, there is no room for anything else.

“Since God is All, there is no room for His unlikeness. God, Spirit, alone created all, and called it good.” (SH, p. 339)

Bible Lens Research from the Christian Science Sentinel has this great idea to add:
“The person who ‘soweth to the Spirit,’…follows the Spirit’s guidance in his dispositions, words, and actions, and . . . employs his abilities of body and mind, his time, talents, and possessions, to promote true religion in himself and in those about him: . . .’”


SECTION 1 – GOD WILL MAKE AN UTTER END TO ALL DISCORD

“What do ye imagine against the Lord? he will make an utter end…” (citation B2, Nahum 1:9)

The definition for “utter end” includes these adjectives:
“Complete; total; final; absolute, perfect”

What a promise! That God will make an utter end of whatever is the opposite to Himself.

Paul writes: “ …there is no power but of God:” (citation B1, Romans 13:10

We have the power to bear witness to this, and to experience it more and more. Not just for us, but for each challenge from climate change to war-torn countries. God will make an utter end. There is no power or authority, but God’s law.

“Christian Science brings to light Truth and its supremacy, universal harmony, the entireness of God, good, and the nothingness of evil.” (cit. S2, p. 293) Universal harmony. That means these universal laws of God’s goodness and love can be applied to each situation on an individual and global scale – from healing hearts and minds to the violation of human rights to deforestation.

The law of God is present and includes harmony, balance, order, and restoration. In fact, there is nothing outside of God’s law and you can’t go anywhere where God’s law is not operating.

An excerpt from God’s Law of Adjustment:

“All the power there is, is on the side of the law of Life, and that which is opposed to this law of Life is not law at all; it is only belief. In other words, every law of God has behind it infinite power to enforce it, while the so-called law of sin and death has no foundation, has nothing back of it that it can depend upon. When we understandingly declare that the law of God is present and is in operation, we have invoked or brought into action the law and the power of God. We have declared the truth, God’s truth—and that truth of God is the law of annihilation, obliteration, and elimination to everything that is unlike Him.” (January 1916 issue, The Christian Science Journal)

God is of purer eyes than to even see or know evil. “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:” (cit. B3, Habakkuk 1:13)
Wow, what a view. We can pray to be so open, humble, and receptive to have the same view that God does. Then we find that darkness simply vanishes in the light. Light does not struggle against darkness. It simply shines. And that shining effortlessly obliterates the darkness – ignorance or doubt through revelation and understanding.

God is seeing the beauty and perfection of a harmonious and peaceful universe governed and controlled by His law of goodness. We can allow our view to align with God’s view and live that spirit, recognizing our spiritual sonship and original nature as an idea of God.

This section also addresses the theme of animal magnetism. (See citation S4 & S3, 102, 103) What is animal magnetism? Nothing. Notice the words that Mary Baker Eddy uses. A negation. That which possesses no intelligence, power, or reality. An unreal concept. Not one quality of Truth.

So, we can approach anything and everything that tries to derail our thinking as “an unreal concept” possessing “not one quality of Truth” and therefore nothing to stand on. It is already void. Whatever suggestion comes to you is already void. Just a mistaken concept about God and man.

“Are we irreverent towards sin, or imputing too much power to God, when we ascribe to Him almighty Life and Love? I deny His cooperation with evil, because I desire to have no faith in evil or in any power but God, good.” (cit. S6, 348)

We can strive to pray from this standpoint of dominion and “have no faith in evil”. (cit. S6, 348)


SECTION 2 – GOD GIVES US THE SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT WE NEED

“In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.” (cit. B6, Psalms 71:1)

What are some antonyms for confusion? Spiritual clarity, spiritual purpose, dominion, understanding, spiritual recognition, spiritual discernment.

Discernment comes from the Latin word discernere, meaning “separate.” Discernment enables us to tell what is true and what is not true. It separates Truth from error, or the tares from the wheat, in our consciousness. It’s absolutely essential to cultivate and practice each day.

What does trust mean? “Confidence; a reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity,…or sound principle” So as we pray for the world and our individual lives, we are putting our confidence in God. We are understanding a sound principle that is in operation in our lives and in the globe. We are resting our mind on God, good.

The book of Daniel is fascinating and includes many experiences of trust in God and the preserved innocence of the Israelites under the Babylonian rule.

In this example, Nebuchadnezzar doesn’t just want his dream to be interpreted, but he also wants the “wise men” to be able to tell him what he dreamed. It’s like sitting down to breakfast with someone and asking them “what did I dream last night?” They shrug their shoulders because, of course, they don’t know. Then you tell them they will be slain because they can’t tell you what you dreamed or what the dream meant.

Daniel recognizes this as a “hasty” response from the king, and so he intervenes asking for more time to interpret the dream. He then connects with his friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abedngo to help him, and they all pray that God will make the dream known to them. Daniel goes to sleep, and God shows him the dream and the interpretation while he is sleeping.

When Daniel approaches the king the next day he tells him no one on earth has the power to reveal the dream, “but there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days.” (cit. B8, Daniel 2:28)

Bible Lens adds:
“Daniel’s dream interpretation recalls Joseph’s experience with Pharaoh (see Genesis, chap. 41). Both rulers first turn to their advisors for help in understanding their night visions but ultimately attribute authority to God. And both Jewish men are honored by these monarchs. Joseph is elevated to Pharaoh’s right-hand position in Egypt; Daniel is made ‘ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon’” (v. 48).

For more great insights on the book of Daniel, consider purchasing this audio lecture on BibleRoads.com.


SECTION 3 – BE A GOOD GARDENER OF YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS

 Recently, I’ve found the definition of tare in the Glossary of Science and Health to be helpful. The first word in the definition is mortality. Wow, every belief of mortality is a tare! So that shows us we don’t want to be comfortable with mortality, but we want to grow out of it. When we burn up all the beliefs and tares of mortality in our consciousness, what does that leave us with? A consciousness of immortality. The description of “man” on page 475 of Science and Health helps us understand this immortal man and demonstrate it. Mary Baker Eddy describes each of us as a spiritual idea dwelling in divine consciousness.

She tells us: “Ideas are tangible and real to immortal consciousness, and they have the advantage of being eternal.” (Science and Health, p. 279)

In the parable, the “enemy” comes when the people are sleeping. (cit. B10, Matt. 13:24-30) So, it is essential to be awake and alert to the claims of animal magnetism. Taking time to study and pray throughout the day keeps us awake to the Christ, the activity of God, good.

Mary Baker Eddy describes her own spiritual practice this way:
“Three times a day, I retire to seek the divine blessing on the sick and sorrowing, with my face toward the Jerusalem of Love and Truth, in silent prayer to the Father which ‘seeth in secret,’ and with childlike confidence that He will reward ‘openly.’” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 133)

She also says, “Even then he must gain spiritual understanding and spiritual sense in order to possess immortal consciousness. Earth’s preparatory school must be improved to the utmost.”
(Science and Health, p. 486)

Bible Lens (in the Christian Science Sentinel) gives some interesting background on this parable:

“In long-ago Israel, as today, weeds were a continual problem. The tares in this parable, known as bearded darnel, were poisonous, and could be deadly if mixed with wheat and later incorporated into flour used for baking. They were difficult to separate from wheat because of the similarity of the two at their early stages of growth and the intertwining of their roots as they matured. (Roman law punished the act of sowing darnel among wheat, evidence that this wrongdoing did take place.)”


SECTION 4 – A BELIEF IS NOT POWERFUL ON ITS OWN

 I so appreciate in this section how Mary Baker Eddy makes the vital point: “Palsy is a belief that matter governs mortals, and can paralyze the body, making certain portions of it motionless. Destroy the belief, show mortal mind that muscles have no power to be lost, for Mind is supreme, and you cure the palsy.” (cit. S19, 375:21) This was clearly Jesus’ approach: treating this discordant situation as nothing more than belief. I’ve often been fascinated with Jesus’ response to the audience’s concern, when he says to them, “And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?” (cit. B12, Matthew 9:4,5) Part of me wants to say….well, Jesus, it would be harder to say “Arise and walk!” But it seems clear from the tone and context of this interaction, that Jesus was implying that (to human sense, anyway) forgiving sin was harder. Now, of course “easy and hard” are not adjectives that apply or relate at all from God’s perspective. But it’s interesting to me that Jesus wanted to make it clear that the “real work” lay in correcting thought, and cleansing and uplifting belief, and not in physically adjusting the body.

It’s helpful, too, to note that it’s not just the patient’s thought which needs to be uplifted. The healer is serving as a transparency for Truth, for the light of the divine Mind (see Misc. Writings p. 59:26); that transparency – that window, shining with the light of Love – must be clear of distraction itself. The healer must not believe that the patient is fallen, sick, mortal! And, if that claim presents itself to the healer, what a joy to let Truth guide thought instead of starting from that mistaken standpoint. It’s so useful to have these examples of healing and Christianly scientific approach in this Bible Lesson because it really drives home the point that these claims of discord – that EVERY claim of discord – is nothing more than a claim of magnetic animalistic thought – reactive, predatory, mortal. I have found this article, “The power to push back”, to be helpful in my prayers about these aggressive mental suggestions, and I hope you enjoy it as well. (August 30, 2021, Christian Science Sentinel, shared view)


 SECTION 5 – STAND STILL!

It’s very easy to be taken by ‘some new thing.’ Consumerism preys on people’s fear that they might miss out if they don’t buy the latest and greatest. Charismatic people sometimes convince others to act or think in ways that are not actually in their best interest. These things are almost literally magnetic – as in, animal magnetism! – in seeming attractive and drawing people to them. It’s interesting that Simon’s magic was so attractive to the people of the area. As you may know from having seen magicians on stage, a main feature of magic is to distract attention away from what the magician is actually doing. In other words, by keeping the thought of the audience occupied on all the activity of the hands or what the magician is saying, the magician can do the actual action in secret. However, there is no substance to the bluster of a magician; while in a performance it may be fun and exciting, when people claim to use magic to actually affect others, or use charisma or hypnotism to control others, that is a claim to power which must be seen as completely insubstantial.

In the story shared in Acts 8:5-13 (cit. B15), contrast the exciting works of magic with the steadfast message of “…Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God…” The effect of that preaching was healing, which the story includes, but the healing was not the entire purpose of the preaching. The message of the Gospel was the primary point, and healing happened because of what the Gospel says: that the kingdom of God is here. Instead of trying to attract people through doing special actions, Philip preached and simply let the healing – the revealing of what God had already done – happen. It reminds me of a quote that is often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.” This preaching-with-your-life is a wonderful, natural aspect of the fact that Christianity rests on and expresses divine law – as Mary Baker Eddy would term it, the Science of Christianity.

It’s fitting that the Bible citation just prior to this story, Job 37:14, commands us to “stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.” (cit. B14) Don’t run around, getting caught up in just following the pretty words of charisma, fear, or sensationalism. Stand still, let your thought and heart be grounded in the presence of God, and see what HE is doing, rather than getting caught up in what humans are doing, or what the reports of the supposedly material senses (but actually mortal mind’s reports) are suggesting. In a way, every healing through Christian Science treatment reflects this stillness, because the essence of that treatment through Christian Science is a refusal to accept the testimony of the mortal sense report, and instead to let the report of the angels hold complete sway in our thought. In this article, “What do we need to figure out?”, I share a healing I had recently which illustrated this refusal to buy into the sensational report of mortality. (October 17, 2022 issue, Christian Science Sentinel.)


SECTION 6 – WHAT WE DO, WHAT WE CAN COMMIT TO, AND WHAT GOD HAS DONE

 I appreciate the descriptions, commands and promises in this section. Sometimes, the temptations or claims of evil seem so intense, or perhaps just so normalized, that we might feel at a loss for what we can do to counter those claims – or even recognize them as illegitimate in the first place. This section is a really helpful standard which we can use to examine our thoughts and experience more closely.
“The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord.” (cit. B17, Proverbs 16:1) This is a helpful and clear standard by which we can assess our thoughts. Are we dwelling on something in thought that is hurtful, apathetic, or blaming? No matter how much that emotion may feel deserved or simply the way things are, the fact is that our thoughts are precious to God and He is the one who provides what is ours. In other words, if we seem to have an ungodlike thought, that thought can’t actually be ours, because God did not give it to us. Being clear about the proper ownership of thoughts occurring to us is really important! God gives us ‘the preparations of the heart…’ and we love to honor that. And of course, then, what we say – both to others as well as about others (and about ourselves) will be reflective of what God says.

Now, this statement is not like a, “Please do this, pretty please” request. This citation is a simple and clear description of the way things are! The clarity here cuts right through the self-righteousness, haziness, or complexity that so often characterizes the patterns of animal magnetism. Take a look at the rest of this section and see what passages feel like commands, or descriptions, or promises – either promises from God, or promises we can make to God and to ourselves and others.

Clarity about what’s real and legitimate, and what’s not, is one of the biggest gifts we receive from this week’s Bible Lesson. Allowing ourselves to be delighted with the love of God, and simply letting go of what isn’t ours, is such a help, both to ourselves and others.

 Have a blessed week!

 

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