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Lesson applications for the week of September 15-21
Subject: Matter
Prepared by Kathy Fitzer, CS of St. Louis, MO
Choose God!

Where are you looking? How are you thinking? What are you serving? This week’s lesson on “Matter” teaches us how to choose wisely.

The Golden Text starts us thinking about what view we are entertaining. We have a choice. Paul was determined not to be taken in by the temporal (fleeting) challenges of mortal sense (that are at times so “in-your-face” that they can seem quite convincing and intimidating). Instead of focusing on the material picture, he embraced that which can’t be seen with the eyes (qualities of thought such as love, faith, joy), but which endure forever and can’t ever be taken away. We can make the same choice – with the same healing results – if we stay connected to God as Spirit, as Paul, and others in the Bible – did.

The Responsive Reading clearly states the need to “Look unto me [God]” in order to be saved – delivered from problems of any type. We’re required to look away from the problem to the solution – to God. The reason makes such sense … “there is none else.” The call goes out to “all the ends of the earth” – to all peoples of all nations. This would bring peace to the world, if all people everywhere would look to the one Mind, the one Love, the one Spirit for their happiness and prosperity. But, instead, we create idols that are “the work of [our] hands.” These include unyielding opinions, stereotypes of others, fear of the unknown, etc. All that is unlike God is the creation of mortal mind. Whether it calls itself a form of matter (that supposedly produces pain or pleasure) or a false opinion that we misname law, it is powerless to do anything of itself. Verse 7 describes how idols (false beliefs) seem to have a life of their own. [People] bear [them] upon the shoulder; they carry [them], and set him in [their] place, and [they] standeth. What would happen if we refused to carry the idol around in our consciousness? Could it continue to plague us, or would we move on and leave the false belief (regardless of how persistently pesky it was at one time) behind? By acknowledging that there can be only one God, we take away whatever life would try to endow an idol with life.

Section I: Choice: Accept what appears to be, or stick with the Truth? We can’t see Spirit with the material senses. But, don’t be fooled. There is one eternal Truth – and the gospel of John states that truth this way: “God is Spirit.” The prophet Jeremiah pleads with the people of his time to turn away from their idols and “hear the word of the Lord.” Today, our belief in matter, which would limit us by alluring us with its pleasures or threatening us with its pains, remains that which would pull us away from God and lead us astray (“become vain” Jer. 2:5) Jeremiah speaks of two evils (or mistakes) people make: forsaking the fountain of living waters (turning away from the endless source of good springing from Spirit) and looking to broken cisterns to get the water (inspiration and strength) that they need. Foolishly, we are sometimes tempted to believe the god of mortal mind (namely the material body and material conditions) when there is only one dependable power – enduring Spirit! Science and Health makes it very clear that “There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter.” (468). Matter may be easier to see, but it has no substance – so skip it! Matter is just “an error of statement.” (277) You’re smarter than to believe an error! Correct it with the truth of God – Good!

Section II: Choice: Believe that good is limited – fall for the false sense of competition – or see that God’s goodness is available to all! Sarah was threatened by the presence of Hagar and her son, Ishmael. Believing that Ishmael would be in competition with her son, Isaac, she demanded they be sent away. God reassured Abraham (who grieved at the possible loss of his son) that there was plenty of good for everyone and he demonstrated this fact by responding to the needs of Ishmael in the wilderness. Hagar, too, saw only lack and despair, but God opened her eyes so she was able to see the well of water available to sustain the child (and her.) Abundant good is available to all. The idols of material thinking (anger, jealousy, despair, envy, insecurity) and “human logic” (the belief that we can’t all be winners) would close our eyes to the unending good of Spirit available consistently to each of us. Remember: “Mind is the same life, Love, and wisdom ‘yesterday, and today, and forever.'” No danger of good running out! Just have to look in the right direction and have but one God – one loyalty – to see it!

Section III: Choice: Look to matter or Mind for wisdom, guidance, and intelligence? Judge by the world’s standards or God’s? The world would tell us that intelligence (and worth?) is judged by one’s IQ and that the source of that is a material brain! We are assured in James (1:5), though, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally (freely!), and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” The Message says it this way: “If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.” When we look to the brain (the idol that misstates the source of intelligence) we often find confusion – or we get a report that we just can’t understand. The thing to understand is that there is not matter and Mind. This is a key statement in S&H (p. 270): “One only of the following statements can be true: (1) that everything is matter; (2) that everything is Mind. Which one is it?” Answer correctly and all things fall into place!

Section IV: Choice: Which master will we serve: physiology or Spirit? Because a divided house falls, we must choose one or the other in order to find strength and healing. James Moffatt translates the verse from Gal. 1:1 this way, “Make a firm stand then, never slip into any yoke of servitude.” And verse 25: “As we live by the Spirit, let us be guided by the Spirit.” Jesus healed the body by the power of the Spirit. Trying to find healing while believing in material health laws (or laws of physics that say injury takes place as a result of certain circumstances) is like pulling in two different directions at the same time. It gets you nowhere! We imprison ourselves with our false beliefs. (see S&H #18) Choose God – love God supremely – and you will avail yourself of the power of Spirit. (#17) In this way, we can heal as Jesus healed.

Section V: Choice: What do we hold dear to our heart – the evidence of limited matter, or the Truth of infinite Spirit? Whatever we entertain mentally, and cherish in our hearts, directly impacts our concept of body. In Romans 12 (#19) we are told,”be not conformed to this world.” Peterson, in The Message puts it plainly: “Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.” Choose our thoughts wisely – be alert to what you cherish in your heart. Do your own thinking. Mrs. Eddy gives us a sharp reminder (#24), “If we look to the body for pleasure, we find pain; for Life, we find death; for Truth, we find error; for Spirit, we find its opposite, matter. …. Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.” Tough choice? Not so much. Choose Spirit (the high, unlimited quality of thought) over the downward reports of the body every time!

Section VI: Choice: New Christ man, or old dusty man? Romans 8 (#22) gives us an awesome promise if we choose to identify with Christ (as demonstrated by Jesus), rather than dusty Adam. J.B. Phillips puts it this way, “The truth is that no condemnation now hangs over the head of those who are “in” Christ Jesus. For the new spiritual principle of life “in” Christ Jesus lifts me out of the old vicious circle of sin and death.” As we blend each thought with what God knows of us, we experience the freedom of the Christ. We stop feeling “beat up” by road blocks, stop running in circles, and feel free to be the unlimited expression of Spirit! The last paragraph of the lesson (S&H p. 264) gives us this awesome promise of wholeness, “When we realize that Life is Spirit, never in nor of matter, this understanding will expand into self-completeness, finding all in God, good, and needing no other consciousness.”

It’s not really a tough choice – the God of infinite Spirit, or the idol of limited matter – in which direction will you choose to focus?!

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