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KNOW THE TRUTH AND BE SET FREE!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Truth”
for January 16-22, 2023

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 contains so many beautiful ideas about the strength, power, and authority that come from God. All of the healing works that Jesus and his disciples did came from turning to God, Truth, to see and know what was real and true. Turning to God, Truth, keeps us free from believing the “liar” – that which tries to detract and derail our thinking from the simplicity that is in Christ. Let’s enjoy exploring these ideas together in this week’s Lesson.


GOLDEN TEXT

“Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: . . . and I will glorify thy name for evermore.” Psalm 86:11, 12

We will walk in what God sees and knows is true. What a great plan – to glorify God’s name [nature] forever!

Here are some attributes of truth:
accuracy, authenticity, certainty, fact, legitimate, principle, actuality, correctness, exactitude, factuality, genuineness, infallibility, perfection, precision, rightness, gospel

These spiritual qualities are essential to our spiritual practice – to our ability to demonstrate Truth as Christ Jesus did.

This is the rock that we stand on. It is “the way, the truth, and the life” that Christ Jesus shows us.


RESPONSIVE READING

Truth enforces itself. We don’t have to make Truth true; Truth reveals itself.

“…let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.” (Psalm 40:11)

The Truth preserves us. Sometimes when we are working so hard at praying, we can be tempted to forget that the Truth is actually preserving and sustaining us. It’s God’s Word that makes Truth effective. Not the other way around.

In speaking of Moses, Mary Baker Eddy writes:
“Moses advanced a nation to the worship of God in Spirit instead of matter, and illustrated the grand human capacities of being bestowed by immortal Mind.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 200:4)

This new community and beginning of a nation – the children of Israel – needed to depend on God. They literally had no food, no water, no form of government, order, etc. God established all of these things for them. He healed them when they needed healing, fed them, gave them shade, and set up a form of community that was governed by spiritual rules. Imagine that amount of dependence on God!
Actually, each of us is that dependent on God, even though it may seem like we feed ourselves, pay our own bills, purchase our own resources, all through the money that we earn at our own jobs. The human mind is so often tempted to think it does things on its own – leaving God out of the equation! [One of Warren’s favorite acrostics in E.G.O. which stands for Edging God Out.]

But, as Psalms says, “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof…” (Psalm 24:1)  So, there is nothing we can do without God. God is the source of our supply, our health, our companionship, our lives, our intelligence, our activities, etc.
In speaking about God, Mary Baker Eddy writes: “He sustains my individuality. Nay, more — He is my individuality and my Life. Because He lives, I live.”  (Unity of Good, p. 48)

Jesus lovingly assures us that by seeking the Kingdom of God first – just as the children of Israel were beginning to do – then we will have all these “things” added unto us. This is the “covenant” that God has made with us.

“How much more should we seek to apprehend the spiritual ideas of God, than to dwell on the objects of sense!” (Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 510:2–4)


SECTION 1 – SHOW ME WHAT YOU KNOW, GOD

“Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait [serve] all the day.” (citation B1, Psalm 25:4, 5)

I love this humble petition to God. It expresses a sincere heart to know and do the will of God. It’s been helpful to expand the definition of “wait” to include “serve”. Rather than a passive waiting around for God, it brings us to an active service to God – which includes attentiveness and readiness. Many folks have enjoyed the metaphor of acting as a waiter, while God is the customer at the table. It gives new meaning to “on thee do I wait all the day…”

“The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.” (citation B5, Psalm 145:18) The Lord is near to them who call upon him. Many times when praying through a challenge, or simply looking for fresh inspiration, we find it rewarding because God feels so close to us. During those special moments of insight we may actually feel at one with God – assured of His presence and care.

The Bible says… “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” (James 4:8) That’s a callandresponse type of thing. We draw closer to God, and through our quiet communion with Him, we feel God’s presence. We feel like God is coming closer to us – when really the Word of God is wiping out those “tares” in human consciousness that make us think we are separated from God. The “wheat” becomes magnified as God becomes paramount in our consciousness. This clarity of thought shows us that only the wheat is real and true. It allows us to feel and experience God’s grace. The effect of the Word of God dissolving, assuring, calming, strengthening, illuminating – showing us who we really are as the loved of Love.

I love this reminder to always look through God’s view: “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:” (cit. B4, Habakkuk 1:13) Sometimes that can be a great starting point for our prayers: What is infinite Spirit seeing right now? What does infinite Love know about this? God can never know lack or fear, so we can be assured that such feelings of insufficiency are always the misapprehension of existence as mortal. As we align our view with God’s, error fades away. That which seemed real, disappears, and we rejoice in yielding to God’s holy view.


SECTION 2 – AVAILING OURSELVES OF THE TEACHINGS WE’RE GIVEN

Reading the story of Adam and Eve always reminds me of a conversation I had years ago with a friend. I was sharing about my practice of Christian Science and what it had illuminated about my study of the Bible, and I sort of off-handedly said, “The truth of the first chapter of Genesis means that the second and third chapters just can’t be true, since they contradict the stated nature of God’s creation.” My friend said he disagreed with me, but asked what it meant to me practically, that the Adam and Eve story was untrue. I said, “Well, I just don’t pay attention to it – there’s nothing there for me.” My friend looked pretty startled at this and told me — kindly, but clearly — that it sounded like I was just picking and choosing what I wanted from the Bible. This comment really struck me, and as we were driving along having this conversation, I asked for a little quiet time so I could pray about that comment.

I realized that my friend was right: I was absolutely flat-out ignoring the story of Adam and Eve, cherry-picking which parts of the Bible deserved my attention and which didn’t. I soon thanked him for his insightful comment and resolved to make sure that, even if I didn’t buy into the historical legitimacy of some parts of the Bible, that I wasn’t just wholesale ignoring it.

I am so glad I have learned to not just throw out this story. As Mary Baker Eddy fully comments in her exegesis of the Adam and Eve fable (in Science & Health pages 521:18 thru 557:27), this part of Genesis is chocked-full of things we can watch for, including disguises that animal magnetism often wears to fool us. Here are a few aspects of the story that stand out to me:

  • A premise of a material cause, or a cause not entirely of God’s doing
  • God creating something that could harm another of His creation
  • Eve being overzealous in stating the commands from God – “Don’t eat it, OR EVEN TOUCH IT!!” (Citation B8, Genesis 3:3)
  • Self-justification

There are certainly many other qualities of thought that could stand out to us as we read this. But the important thing is that we do need to be familiar with this story and its symbolic representations of the nature of unreality, so we can be properly watchful. If evil always presented itself as a movie-villain serpent, it would be easy to identify it. We do need to be watchful of not allowing any of these guises or disguises of discord to abide in our thought.

Self-justification — the serpent suggesting why it really would be okay for Eve to take a bite — can be especially tempting, because the whole point of it is that we are trying to convince ourselves that such-and-such an activity or thought is legitimate. But the premise of self-justification is that God has not already honestly provided all good, and that there is something that WE need to do in order to access even more good. And that premise is erroneous.

I love the gentle instruction and promise of 2nd Corinthians 11:3, which is citation B9 in the Lesson. The simplicity of Christ is such a wonderful standard and watchword for us. God IS good. That IS the truth. Everything can be held up to the eternal causative standard of God and His goodness, His allness, to see if it fits. If not, it’s a lie.


SECTION 3 – THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST JESUS

Even in the face of such wonderful works, Jesus still encouraged his disciples to remember that their joy was because of the presence of the kingdom of heaven — to rejoice because their “names are written in heaven” — that is their natures were entirely spiritual and cherished by God. (cit. B13, Luke 10:20)

I’m also very struck by this passage: “Jesus patiently persisted in teaching and demonstrating the truth of being.” (citation S10, 136:32-1) He was patient — not just tapping his toes, waiting around for his followers to “get it” — but actively looking to their Father-Mother, and persisting in conducting himself with faithfulness, no matter what he was presented with.

The story that’s told in Bible citation 12, from Luke 9, has meant different things to me over the years, but today I am really grateful for the narrative flow of how the story is preceded by this passage: “the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (cit. B10, John 1:17)  Jesus did urge his followers to remember that faithfulness to God, their divine Mind, was paramount. They needed to keep looking to Mind, instead of giving up and being fascinated with the discordant picture they were presented with. The disciples were probably very frustrated with themselves and very despondent at not being able to realize the healing; Jesus’ continued assurances throughout his ministry that heaven was still here and that they were safe in heaven must have been a real encouragement to them.

It’s okay to ask for help! It’s hard for me to believe that Jesus was frustrated that the disciples and the community needed help. He so desired for people to see the real crux of what he was doing and teaching; that everything was about God, and not about personal power OR personal problems. He didn’t rebuke the boy; he rebuked the claim of an unclean spirit — it was never the boy’s issue, but always just an unclean sense of the purity of the perfect creation that God had made. The truth “came by Jesus Christ,” to repeat that opening citation mentioned earlier — he perfectly showed what the truth is like — and as we follow his teaching and example, we’ll keep seeing how to go to God for everything we need.


SECTION 4 – ONLY THE TRUTH MATTERS

 There are a lot of ways I can relate to this section. Whether it’s frustration with knowing (or thinking) other people are talking about us, feeling overwhelmed with world thought, or just feeling stuck amidst many different options or opportunities, it’s understandable to feel adrift and unsure when these influences seem present. When we feel pushed around or under the sway of different influences, it’s so important to find something steady and certain, something we can be assured of, to provide a strong standard and foundation — something we can rely on. Having that standard allows us to make decisions and think clearly regardless of what is being tossed around.

A while back, on a pretty chilly day, I was walking out to our mailbox. I had just finished eating some snacks and I was coughing as something had caught in my throat. On my way to the mailbox, a neighbor saw me and I greeted him. He looked straight at me and said, “WHAT are you doing outside with that cough?” I laughed and said, “Oh, well, we need the mail!” and didn’t think anything more of it. Later, though, I realized that he probably thought I was sick and that I was crazy for being outside while I wasn’t feeling well. Looking back, I recognize this is silly, but at the time I really started to become flustered. Did I now need to mentally defend myself from the suggestion of sickness, or from someone else thinking I was sick? I started wandering a little bit down the mental rabbit hole of fascination with world thought and feeling flustered at the concept that it could have any influence on me. Oh man, maybe I really WAS starting to have a challenge…I’d better get to work praying about that.

Thankfully, when I realized that I was starting to give consent to the reality of sickness, that caught my attention and I saw what a storm I’d let myself get caught up in. And it was entirely impersonal, of course — I’m sure my neighbor just meant to be kind — but without holding to a clear standard of assurance in God’s goodness, I was being tossed around with fascination and fear of all these different ideas. I found freedom from this turmoil very quickly once I dropped any interest in what influence these other thoughts might hold, and turned even more wholeheartedly to God’s perfect nature.

This section makes it very clear that no matter what is being talked about, thought about, or stewed in, God’s light is still present and still able to lead us. In praising God — turning to Him and keeping Him foremost — we will see the way forward!


SECTION 5 – TRUTH IS NOT CONDITIONAL

I’m so happy this record of Jesus’ conversation with “those Jews who believed on him” (citation B19, verses between John 8:31-47) is in the lesson this week. That opening statement of Jesus’, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” is so familiar to us! And whenever a statement becomes so familiar, I find it very helpful to really dive in and make sure it doesn’t just become mundane.

How easy it is, to look at this statement as a conditional statement. “IF you know the truth, THEN you will be free.” But this is a very burdensome approach: “If I knew this much more truth, then I’d be free!” Before too long, this approach could feel heavy and provide fodder for blaming oneself. “I must not be good enough, or be able to know enough, to find freedom,” we might sadly think.

Thank GOODNESS that that approach is not actually the way we need to go about things! The whole passage, again, reads, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (cit. B19, John 8:31, 32) Oh! What a relief this is. Instead of the ‘condition’ being, knowing the truth, the condition – the ‘if’ statement – is, “If you continue in my word…” And the outcome is being Jesus’ disciple and knowing the truth –  the truth that we are free.

So, rather than our freedom being a function of how much truth we know, our knowledge of our freedom is dependent on adhering to what Jesus taught. And what was the crux of what he taught? Well, he joyfully instructed his followers in the two “great commandments:” to love God with their entire being, and to love their neighbor as themselves. Now, I’m sure none of us would say that we are perfect at following these commandments! But it’s so good to know that we have clear instruction, and that we are already made free — we just see it more and more clearly, as we follow the law of loving God and our neighbor as ourselves. The truth is that we are able to do this!


SECTION 6 – THE CITY OF GOD – THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN – THE ONLY PLACE WHERE WE TRULY DWELL

 This section talks about the holy city – “…city of God;” “…a city of truth;” (cit. B20, Ps. 87:3, cit. B21, Zech. 8:3)

When I pray I love to locate myself in God – in the Kingdom of Heaven – because that is where we truly dwell. Then there is no doubt, no fear, no separation there. Only the spiritual child of God, who knows God and what is really true.

In God’s city or Kingdom within “there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth…or maketh a lie…” (cit. B22, Revelation 21:27)

Mary Baker Eddy describes this city as having four walls:
“The four sides of our city are the Word, Christ, Christianity, and divine Science; ‘and the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.’” (S&H, p. 575)

These are the walls of protection. They are spiritual and impenetrable.
This is the only place where we can truly be located. It is where our worth and value are secure. It is where we dwell as the image and likeness of God. It is where we never have been or ever could be separated from Spirit – therefore we can always feel comforted and loved.

Mary Baker Eddy goes on to explain a little bit more about this city….
“… It is indeed a city of the Spirit, fair, royal, and square. … westward, to the grand realization of the Golden Shore of Love and the Peaceful Sea of Harmony.” (S&H, p. 575)
“the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” (cit. B22, Revelation 21:23)

And the sun is always shining! The Lamb is the light of it – so there is only spiritual light. Never any darkness or end of day. It’s beautiful to know that where we truly dwell there is always light.

It’s fun to explore the definitions of day and night in the Glossary of Science and Health. (pages 584 & 592)

Mary Baker Eddy then describes the great benefits of acknowledging this city and all the good that flows from it!

“… In divine Science, man possesses this recognition of harmony consciously in proportion to his understanding of God.” (S&H, p. 576)

Enjoy your exploration of this week’s Bible Lesson!


GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas (from COBBEY CRISLER & others) will now be POSTED throughout the week and EMAILED later in the week as a summary string.  You can always check  for current GEMs at CedarS INSPIRATION website, whether or not you’ve  SUBSCRIBED here for this free offering.


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“POETIC POSTLUDE”
contributions related to this Bible Lesson.


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