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Be Not Deceived!  If it’s not from God, it’s unreal.
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Lesson on


for March 31—April 6, 2014

by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S.  Glen Ellyn, Illinois (Bartlett) / (630) 830-8683

[Bracketed italics by CedarS Director Warren Huff.  Life-transforming camperships needed!]

In its introduction to the Book of Zephaniah, The Abingdon Bible Commentary states, “Wherever the spirit of infidelity, of pride, of oppression, of selfishness exists his book is entirely up to date.”  Zephaniah, living in the midst of what was for him an intolerably corrupt society, foretells a sweeping away of the whole order of life existent at that time. “…thou shalt not see evil any more….” promises the Golden Text. The evil would be replaced through the power of almighty God.

Some might feel our modern world is in need of a thorough cleansing as well. One way to achieve this reformation is to begin with our own thought. It appears that the evil we see in the world is quite formidable.  But spiritual understanding reveals evil to be a deception.  The Responsive Reading offers encouragement.  This encouragement begins with a warning from Deuteronomy, “Take heed… that your heart be not deceived.”

Warnings against deception flow throughout each section of this Lesson on Unreality.  In this first case, the warning can also mean, “don’t be naive, gullible, or easily enticed.”     The world is vying for our allegiance in a multitude of ways, none of which bring us closer to God.  We are under no obligation to follow these so-called powers.  The spiritual understanding of God brings us complete freedom from their malicious influence and the power of God reverses every evil claim against us.  In the phrase, “taken away thy judgements” the word “judgements” refers to the entire judicial process.  According to Strong it includes “the act, the place, the suit, the crime, and the penalty.” There is not a vestige of the enemy’s lie against us left.  We have no need to fear because our mighty God will save us with rejoicing.  Everything that afflicts us is driven out.

Section 1: Our Basis for Overcoming Deception—God Is All and Good.
As always, we begin with God.  The only way to see through unreality is to be fully acquainted with the reality of things.  The only reality, the only cause, is God the creator of all things.  Isaiah leaves no doubt that there is none beside God (B1) [as we sing in Hymn 444 that is based on citation B1].  Even though we don’t know it or acknowledge it, God is giving us everything we need.  He is in control of everything that exists.  Nor is God stingy about His love: He gives us the grace to overcome our sins and nothing is withheld from those who serve God sincerely (B2).  To serve God sincerely is to seek him and no other—to seek and love all that is good, and to hate evil (B3, B4).  This includes hating the evil that claims to be part of us.  We don’t go around with the attitude that we can do no wrong and are therefore the world’s watchdogs.  No, we accept the responsibility to eliminate evil wherever it tries to be; even—if not especially—in our own hearts.  In order to honestly seek good, we must regularly avoid and detest evil.  Paul too, cautions us not to be deceived, or led aside from the true path (B5).  Evil being a liar, it often deceives by pretending to be good, and even tries to get us to believe our good efforts are futile.  Here Paul encourages us to be steadfast and unmovable in the face of worldly enticements.  Why? Because such evils have nothing whatever to do with God.  The creator of all things made everything good (B6).

In Christian Science we believe that God made all that was made.  However we also maintain that everything He made must be good and perfect like Himself (S1).  God isn’t one of a series or the strongest of the gods.  God is the ONLY God.  What’s more, He fills all space.  By definition there isn’t room for anything unlike Him (S2).  Anything contrary to God, good, is unreal because if it isn’t good, it isn’t from God; and if it isn’t from God, it doesn’t exist.  Good and evil are opposites; good is real, evil is unreal (S3).  Just as God’s goodness leaves no room for anything unlike Him, since God is Mind, He is the only Mind.  Reasoning logically, if God is the only infinite Mind and everything He made is good, evil has no place left to exist.  If we think evil can find a way to creep in to God’s creation we contradict divine logic (S4).  At this point, one may be tempted by the age-old philosophical conundrum: If God is all, and God is good, whence comes evil?   Here Christian Science maintains its logic and states anything unlike God is unreal, and evil only seems real if we give reality to the unreal (S5).  Rather than accepting evil as real, even temporarily, divine logic denies any power or presence to evil because God is infinite good and God is All (S6).

Section 2: “Live 2 Give” and You Shall Not Want
The theme this summer at CedarS Camps is “Live 2 Give.” [For more on this click on ]  Sometimes it can seem that we barely have enough for ourselves, much less anything to give to others.  But, “Be not deceived” (B7).  We can never lose anything good by giving to others.  Paul’s letter quotes Psalm 112 in which generosity brings prosperity to those who practice it.  Every possible blessing comes to those who are magnanimous and give with a full hand without any anxious thought (B8).

Consider the widow at Zarephath (B9). From all appearances, she had barely enough for herself.  Expecting to starve to death she was preparing for one last meal with her son.  Yet this man of God asks her to first bring him some water and to make him a little cake.  What would you have done?  Would you have looked at your almost empty cupboard and said “Sorry pal, I’ve gotta look out for number one.”  Why would anyone in her situation share anything?  Maybe she was so mesmerized by the picture of lack that she thought sharing the last of the supply wouldn’t really make a difference anyway.  Elijah took the question further by announcing that his request carried with it the authority of God’s promise that supply would not run out.  Perhaps the woman was putting her faith in his declaration.  Whatever her motive was, she took care of Elijah’s need before her own and was blessed for it.  She not only had enough for her and her son, but her whole household was fed throughout the drought.

This story reminds me somewhat of the film The Impossible—the story of María Belón and her family in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.  At one point after the tsunami struck and separated her from her husband and other children, she and her son come upon another little boy who’d lost his family.  Maria’s motherly nature took over as she was impelled to care for the boy even though she could barely help herself and her son.  She was rewarded too, by eventually reuniting with her whole family in what seemed to be an impossible situation.

The psalmist had the pure expectation that God would supply him in every need and under every circumstance irrespective of how bad the picture looked (23rd Psalm, B10).

Our Leader knew as well, that Divine Love always has and always will meet every human need (S7).  As strong as the mother love is, God’s Motherly Love for us is unfathomably greater.  More than God stepping in only to help when we run out of supplies we’ve earned on our own, God is the source of every supply at all times (S8).  All we ever have comes from God.  “Mortals,” writes our Leader, “take limited views of all things” (S9).  Seeing things from a material point of view, we are deceived into believing in limitation.  Looking elsewhere than to God for satisfaction and supply, we find that we can never be satisfied because the only true source of our satisfaction is God (S10). [“Who doth His will—His likeness still—is satisfied.” Hymn 160]

Mrs. Eddy writes, “Man reflects infinity.”  This infinite idea is forever developing and proceeds from a “boundless basis.”  The better we understand God and man’s real relationship to Him, the more able we will be to see past the unreality to the reality of God’s omnipotent care.  Our textbook tells us, “You command the situation if you understand that mortal existence is a state of self-deception and not the truth of being” (S11).  Notice that mortal existence isn’t “us” being deceived, but is mortal mind deceiving itself.  You and I can’t be deceived because God is our Mind, the only Mind.

All inharmony is unreal (S12).  As we realize this, we will begin to see things as they really are.  All discord, lack, or seeming danger is unreal—nothingness.  Harmony, abundance, and safety are the real—somethingness.  When tempted to believe a picture of limitation remember, all error is unreal, whereas, “Truth is limitless” and real. (S13).  What more could we want?

Section 3: Don’t Be Deceived by Threats or Taken in by Seduction
In this section, the warning to not be deceived (B11) takes on a slightly different shade of meaning: “Be not persuaded, or seduced.”  As mentioned earlier, there are a multitude of philosophies, pastimes, activities, disciplines, and other distractions competing for our allegiance.  Some are very subtle, others more aggressive.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, were faced with an ultimatum: bow down and worship the golden image, or die.  Many of the various influences upon our time don’t seem so urgent, nor do the consequences seem so severe, but none-the-less, we, like these boys, are faced with a choice.  Albert Barnes observes that for most of Babylonian society, it wasn’t really a big deal to serve a variety of gods.  And as far as we can tell, Nebuchadnezzar wasn’t necessarily prohibiting anyone from serving their own gods; he just wanted to make sure that worshipping the idol he set up was included.  Just so, in our time, most people don’t think anything of mixing prayer with medicine, or practicing their own brand of spirituality while still indulging in a variety of immoral activities.  We have become a very permissive society.  But these boys were devoted to serving the God of Israel—the one true God, beside whom there is none else.  To them, worshipping anything else, including that golden idol was tantamount to dishonoring their God.

How does this apply to Christian Scientists?  To my sense, we have committed ourselves to serving one God, beside whom there is no other.  Anything that seduces us into dividing our loyalty to God with any other activity, philosophy, desire, or means of caring for ourselves, is a demand to worship something other than God and is a species of idolatry.  Of all the possible beliefs that might demand our obedience, the demand to bow down to laws of material medicine seem to be the most threatening.  If we don’t bow down to them, we are sentenced to pay for it severely.  I have always thought of the sound of the instruments to represent the physical symptoms of the body.  When they start to play, we’re supposed to fall on our knees and worship materia medica.  If we don’t we are threatened with losing our lives.

These boys stood their ground.  They were resolved not to worship anything but God irrespective of the outcome.  I feel strongly that this resolve on their parts saved them.

All the influences apart from God that promise to benefit us are delusions.  Don’t be deceived!  They do us no good.  Especially materia medica threatens that if we don’t bow down and follow its rules, we are doomed.  This is sheer idolatry (S14).  The spiritual resolve and holy inspiration exemplified by these three boys can save us too (S15).  We can be free of the enslaving influences of material beliefs if we assert our freedom and embrace our dominion.  We can drop all the lies that tie us to material dependencies and see through their false promises.  Two of my favorite lines from the textbook are these: “There is no power apart from God. Omnipotence has all-power, and to acknowledge any other power is to dishonor God” (S17).  Do we want to dishonor God?  Of course not.  Let’s obey the First Commandment—Mrs. Eddy’s “favorite text” (S18).  This Commandment loved, and obeyed would solve every problem we might ever face.  Why would we even think of doing anything less?  Be not deceived!  God is the answer.

Section 4: Don’t Be Fooled by Impostors
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (B13).  To be honest, I wasn’t sure at first how this citation went with the story of the tares and the wheat (B15).  The concept of reaping what you sow seems to be more an issue of personal responsibility for the consequences of one’s actions.   But in the parable of the tares and the wheat, it wasn’t the sower’s fault that somebody sowed tares in his field.  So what did that have to do with responsibility for one’s actions?  The Amplified Bible’s explanation of the phrase “mocking” God, says, “God will not allow Himself to be sneered at (scorned, disdained, or mocked by mere pretensions or professions….)  “He inevitably deludes himself who attempts to delude God.”  The parable is about the kingdom of heaven in which only good seed is sown.  The liar—error—stealthily sows tares.  The tares represent an attempt to delude God—to essentially sneer at the high standards of His kingdom and implant something that looks at first just like the good seed but isn’t.  When the harvest comes, the grain of the tares turn dark and exposes the tares for what they really are—impostors.  The point is you can’t pretend to be good and still be wicked in your heart.  God will not abide it and you will inevitably reap the error you sow. Hence the need to fully repent and believe the gospel (B14).

By the same token, the tares as defined in Science and Health (S19) are errors—mortality, sin, sickness, disease, death—that pretend to be part of God’s plan, and therefore part of God’s man.  But they are impostors—they are unreal.  Life never mingles with any error, and the impostors that try to delude us into thinking good and evil are cooperative, is exposed as we progress in our spiritual understanding (S20, S21).  Whenever we are experienced in something we become better at recognizing errors.  A professional dancer or musician is more likely to detect mis-steps or wrong notes than one untrained.  In the same way, the more we grow spiritually the more obvious the tares of mortal belief will become, and the more we will realize the impossibility of evil and good sharing space (S22).  Evil is unreal—period.  Spirit is real and can’t be reversed or distorted.  Nor do these opposites ever even touch (S23).  A tare is never wheat, and the wheat is never a tare no matter how much they look alike.  We can’t be deceived into thinking anything else.

Section 5: Don’t Be Deceived by Bodily Evidence
Christ Jesus, being more spiritually advanced than anyone who ever walked the globe, was never deceived.  He saw through the unreality of material sense better than anyone.  He was aware that those suffering from sickness and disease were deceived into thinking the diseases and other maladies belonged to them, and he had compassion for them (B16).  One disease that was particularly virulent was leprosy.  Although it appeared to be a topical disease affecting the skin, it is believed to begin by operating unseen inside the body.  One suffering from this would probably be tempted to think that it was part of him, and that there was no way to separate himself from it.  Jesus, not being impressed with the picture, saw the disease as unreal and healed it (B17).

Not only do people tend to believe that disease is part of them, they also believe that they are inextricably entwined with their bodies.  Do we really live in the body?  According to Paul this is but another deception (B18).  We really live in Spirit.  Some might think that Paul’s phrase, “your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost” means that somehow the material body is infused with some sort of spiritual holiness.  But our body—where we live—is in fact, the temple of the Holy Ghost.  The body isn’t a separate material housing for an indwelling spirit.  We are spiritual, we live in the temple of the Holy Ghost.  Our true dwelling place isn’t ours, it’s God’s.

In Christian Science, everything is based on the perfection of God and His creation, and God gets all the glory (S25).  When we’re governed by God, we know that all things are possible to Him.  There is no other teaching that takes this approach.  Everything else either leaves God out of it and assumes that matter creates, governs, and destroys itself, or that God either intends for evil to be part of existence, or that he at least allows it to teach us lessons.  In Christian Science all evil is unreal—a deception.  Seeing the truth exposes the unreality of sickness and disease, and brings healing (S26).  Jesus could heal so effectively because he saw the unreality of disease.  He could do that because he knew the complete and indisputable reality of God.  That’s what we need to do—understand the unreality of disease (S27).  The truth is God’s remedy for every error.  It works today just as it did in Jesus’ time (S28, S29).  Jesus’ healings weren’t miracles, nor were they some mysterious gift to an age gone by.  Spiritual healing is the natural result of seeing through an unreality.  When you know how a magic trick is done, you can’t ever be deceived again.  When you know someone is lying to you, you won’t believe their lie.  When we understand the power of divine Love, we are never deceived by anything that tries to oppose it.

Just as in Zephaniah’s time, we too, are faced with a multitude of evils claiming to be real.  But we need not fear, and we need not be deceived.  We can’t be fooled into believing there’s more than one God or no God at all.  We can’t be fooled by pictures of lack and limitation.  We can’t be seduced, forced, or threatened into serving anything apart from God.  Nor can we deceive God or others by pretending to be something we’re not.  Every deception is eventually uncovered and destroyed.  Finally we can’t be deceived into believing that we live in a body, are confined in it, or that we are subject to disease.   We live in Spirit.  Our authority for seeing through unreality is God’s omnipotence (S30).  We can’t be deceived into believing in any other power because there isn’t any!   If it’s not from God, it’s unreal.  How can we be deceived when we know that?  We can’t.

The Met application ideas above are provided primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and daily demonstrate the great value of studying and applying the Christian Science Bible lessons throughout the year, not just at camp!  YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP for weekly emails from past CedarS staff of possible ways to share Bible Lesson applications with older, as well as younger, Sunday School classes by clicking the "Subscribe Now" button (lower left) at ]

BY PHONE at 636-394-6162
CedarS Office, 1314 Parkview Valley Dr, Ballwin, MO 63011

[Additional Director's Note: You can sign up to have these application ideas emailed to you free – by Monday each week in English; or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION: in German, thanks to Manfred and Jeanette; or in Spanish, thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio, or in Portuguese, thanks to helpers of Orlando Trentini in Brazil.  A voluntary French translation by Rodger Glokpor, a Christian Scientist from Togo (West Africa) has been contributed.  Thank you, Rodger and all translators! Go to and click "Newsletters" to sign-up for a free translation into these languages.  This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 13-year series of CedarS Bible Lesson "Mets" (Metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians.  (Ask and look for "Possible Sunday School Topics "and "Possible Younger Class Lessons" in emails to follow.) These weekly offerings are intended to encourage further study and application of ideas in the lesson and to invigorate Sunday School participation by students and by the budding teachers on our staff. Originally sent JUST to my Sunday School students and to campers, staff and CedarS families who wanted to continue at home and in their home Sunday Schools the same type of focused Lesson study, application and inspiration they had felt at camp, CedarS lesson "Mets "and Sunday School ideas are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way serve as a substitute for daily study of the lesson. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension and background as well as new angles (and angels) on the daily applicability of some of the ideas and passages being studied. The weekly Bible Lessons are copyrighted by the Christian Science Publishing Society and are printed in the Christian Science Quarterly and in a variety of useful formats as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms or online at or The citations referenced (i.e.B-1 and S-28) from this week's Bible Lesson in the "Met" (Metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the Bible (B-1 thru B-26) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (S-1 thru S-32). The Bible and Science and Health are the ordained pastor of the Churches of Christ, Scientist.  The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world. The Lesson-Sermon speaks individually through the Christ to everyone, providing unique insights and tailor-made applications for each one.  We are glad you requested this metaphysical sharing and hope that you find some of the ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor.]




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