Overcoming bad habits
Some bad habits are more distressing than others. But however innocuous the habit appears at first, when it becomes uncontrollable it is an invasion of our dignity and uprightness. It needs to be eliminated.
There is a widely held belief that physical and psychological problems exist over which people have no control, and that this fact accounts for much illness and the development of bad habits.
A careful study of the Bible, however, reveals a different picture. The continuous emphasis on God's omnipotence and His control of man lifts the burden of helplessness. The student begins to gain glimpses of an ordered, spiritual universe and man, created, sustained, and maintained by God. Matter-based beliefs and assumptions cannot interfere with this spiritual creation. This insight into God's perfect universe inspired the great prohpets and leaders in the Old Testament. The author of Ecclesiastes puts it this way: "Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions." n1
n1 Ecclesiastes 7:29
Christ Jesus had such a clear vision of man's spiritual, perfect nature that he instantly healed those who came to him for help. He was so unimpressed by the false picture of disease, based on the flimsy structure of material beliefs, that he completely wiped it out of the lives of those individuals.
We have Jesus' example before us today, and knowing how effective an understanding of God and His creation is, we too can reject the claims of psychology and physiology about ourselves. I found recently that when I did this vigorously and persistently, my young daughter was very rapidly freed from a habit of unnatural blinking that was causing comment among friends and relatives.
This habit developed so suddenly, I had become alarmed, thinking something was seriously wrong with her eyes. It was when a well-meaning social worker gave me a whole list of possible causes that I realized I had to set the record straight --to establish clearly the spiritual nature of this child. I was advised by the social worker to ignore the condition as much as possible. I did refuse to be impressed by it, but I knew the various suggestions had to be dealt with.
I turned to the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scripturesm by Mary Baker Eddy, n2 the textbooks of Christian Science, to refresh and renew my understanding of God and His creation. My distress and concern were relieved immediately. I systematically denied each of the physical and psychological assumptions, finding ideas and spritiual facts in both these books that clearly showed God, not matter, to be the only cause and source of being.
n2 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science
The suggestion that this condition was a symptom of a contagious disease was refuted by knowing the child could never be outside the pure atmosphere of God's spiritual universe. The suggestion that she had been disturbed by something at her playgroup was dealt with by knowing nothing could ruffle or distort the peaceful unity of God's ideas; that God is in complete control all the time. The suggestion that she found satisfaction or enjoyment in unnatural blinking was seen as false because matter is in reality incapable of giving pleasure or pain. The belief that human beings need to indulge in any unnatural, excessive physical act in order to find comfort or pleasure, is a lie that should be exposed and corrected whenever and however it presents itself.
The following statement from Science and Healthm deals convincingly with the belief that wrongful habits of any kind can become uncontrollable. "There is no involuntary action. The divine Mind includes all action and volition, and man in Science is governed by this Mind." n3 The child's freedom came very quickly. I also noticed that as soon as I started praying along the lines mentioned all comment from friends ceased.
n3 Science and Health,m p. 187
How important and rewarding it is to deal promptly and firmly with the false picture of mankind's helplessness and keep clearly in view the spiritual facts of God and man. DAILY BIB LE VERSE To depart from evil is understanding. Job 28:28