Listen -- and obey
A woman once felt overwhelmed by character problems that needed correction in her life. As she prayed in deep humility to be shown what to do, the thought came clearly: "Be orderly." As she pondered this, she suddenly thought, "But I amm orderly!" However, because she knew that prayer is sometimes answered in unexpected ways and that the human mind often resists what God demands, she decided to make every thought and act that day more orderly.
What a day it was! Every activity fell into place without the demand for a schedule, and many extra duties were accomplished. Her evening became a time of earned relaxation followed by a restful night.
Early the next morning she earnestly prayed again for spiritual enlightenment and progress. She did not question this time when the inner voice said "Simplify, simplify." It was immediately evident to her that true orderliness includes simplification, a dropping of needless details. She felt very close to God then.
The day was uncluttered. It proved to be one of even greater accomplishment than the previous day, and several new doors of useful activity opened spontaneously. Aware by now that her real need was for spiritual peace and progress, the woman expectantly approached her next day's answer. As she prayed she found it almost impossible to accept the message that came so directly. "Be honest!" it said. "But I amm honest" she replied aloud. Then she stopped and humbly asked the Father to teach her to listen better.
It became so simple to understand at this point. The only honest way we can be orderly and simplify our life is to adopt a divinely directed sense of priorities. As Mary Baker Eddy n1 says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m "Divine Mind rightly demands man's entire obedience, affection, and Strenght." n2 This newer sense of honesty as honesty with God and with our true identity as His expression abruptly changed the woman's approach, and she began to make wiser use of time.
n1 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n2 Science and Health,m p. 183.
Orderliness, simplicity, and honesty had become, in this woman's case, the basis of genuine spiritual progress. And all these qualities were the result of humble prayer. The human mind's resistance to progress had been recognized and checked.
So if we're struggling with character problems, instead of arguing that no change is needed, we can begin today to see man's perfection as the truth of being here and now. "Willingness to become as a little child and to leave the old for the new," states Mrs. Eddy, "renders thought receptive of the advanced idea." n3
n3 ibid.,m pp. 323-324.
In the degree that we understand our true being to be wholly the reflection of divine Mind -- and as we live this true being -- we protect ourselves from becoming victims of evil's subtlety. Our eyes are opened to the tendency of the human mind to gloss over personal weaknesses. When we hold these weaknesses up to the light of Truth, they disappear. Their nothingness becomes all too apparent, for they have no power unless we give it.
Christ Jesus was so awake to the falsity of the devil's suggestions that he could say at once, "Get thee behind me, Satan." n4 We can be alert, too. Through earnest prayer the sincere and receptive Christian can come to understand his or her true nature as God's immortal likeness. When this light of divine Truth illumines consciousness, destructive character traits are uncovered as unreal. Then we handle -- and heal -- them.
n4 Luke 4:8.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE Whatsover God hath said unto thee, do Genesis 32:16