Some days, bloggers just wake up and think, “How about taking on a subject that may kick up some dust?”
This is a Finding your Prayer MOJO post. This means you can expect to find a tip or two in here to give more confidence, to support progress and to help power up your prayers.
Last week, the subject was anger. Christ Jesus gave tips on cleaning anger out of our path. This week, the subject is lust. The Sermon on the Mount has a thing or two to say to us to pave the way to better health and to being an effective healer. And it all starts with thought.
Matthew 5:27-30 speaks of adultery as a mental crime. “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
It isn’t enough to just watch our behavior. Our thoughts need to be clean and pure, too.
Mary Baker Eddy explains in the chapter "Marriage" of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “Infidelity to the marriage covenant is the social scourge of all races, 'the pestilence that walketh in darkness, the destruction that wasteth at noonday.'" (56)
Why such strong words? Because infidelity relates to instability and the inability to keep our word. If we can’t keep a promise to one, how can we keep a promise to anyone, especially God?
She speaks also of chastity as “the cement of civilization and progress. Without it there is no stability in society; and without it one cannot attain the Science of Life.” (ibid 57)
Again, infidelity relates to instability and chastity to stability. That is no small thing.
Chastity involves keeping a pure perspective of yourself and others. Chastity involves a commitment to oneself and to others to see everyone as spiritual. If our sense of self and of others rests on a material basis, if we see and treat others as primarily physical, sensual, sexual beings, we are on rocky, unsettled ground and unhappiness follows.
To Christ Jesus, spirituality wasn’t simply a theory or a theological viewpoint, it was also a way of life. Jesus’ teachings give the opportunity to think of ourselves as more than physical. Spiritual qualities, not material, physical, sensual characteristics, comprise true identity. These spiritual qualities include, but aren’t limited to, joy, peace, tenderness, love, compassion, affection. The list goes on forever. We would do well to add to the list daily fresh insights into the spiritual nature of God’s man.
Getting back to Jesus’ instructions, it is as important to guard against sexual feelings and activities outside the marriage covenant, as it is to guard your home against marauding intruders, because lustful thoughts are predatory. They raid purity, pirate spiritual intuition, and loot spiritual sense by reinforcing a one-dimensional, limited material sense of God’s creation.
Often the desire to find a companion gets mixed up with physical attraction. But there is a simple way to think about sex: as part of the conversation between a husband and wife. Seen in this context, the desire for sex really points to the desire for the permanent relationship of a marriage.
So when thoughts of sex come, we can be clear in determining what to do with them. Are these thoughts pointing to a desire for the commitment of a marriage, to be a lifelong witness to the spiritual growth of another? Or are they sneaky, hedonistic, aggressive intruders chipping away at inspiration, productivity and restricting your worldview to materiality and sensuality? Those are the ones Jesus condemned as detrimental to wellbeing.
A mere attraction to a physical body is pretty useless. It doesn’t better prepare one for a happy marriage. It can induce one to underestimate the good they have to bring to a relationship. The safest context for a couple to work out sex and sensuality questions from a spiritual basis is within the context of a marriage engagement, because they have already agreed to see each other in larger terms than simply a physical relationship.
Even within a marriage, a spiritual perspective of one’s mate is essential to progress and spiritual practice. A pure and open look at a spouse from a spiritual perspective can do much towards nurturing the wellbeing of the couple, leading to the tender sharing of good in daily activities, including, but not limited to, sex..
Marriage, whether sex is or is not a part of the relationship, is a workshop in earth’s preparatory school. It isn’t an essential workshop. Not everyone needs to marry or to have sex. It is just one of many workshops available to us.
Jesus equated lust with adultery, indicating that they are fatal to Christian healing and to Christian healers. He also gave an effective antidote to lustful thoughts: “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.”
No, dismemberment is NOT the Christian antidote to lust. In Scripture, eye is symbolic of discernment and hand relates to power. To me, Jesus is saying that if a material view of people dominates your thought, it will affect your behavior. Go after the material view and correct it. It is better to catch the problem while it is still a thought, than it is to let it be a further detriment to your life and productivity.
And if a physical or sensual sense is pulling on you to think or act in a fashion detrimental to your healing potential, cut it off with your spiritual sense – that is, give consent to the power of the purity and goodness reflected from God at the base of your spiritual identity.
Prayer MOJO is never tough to obtain. It is often the little thought adjustments that bring out the greatest confidence (or prayer MOJO) when we pray.
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Our dog was not allowed on the sofa. Not when we were looking. Not when we were not looking! And she knew it. This did not, however, stop her from climbing on it when we were out. Each time she was caught, her tail-wagging joy at seeing us would turn into tail-tucking guilt as she would be scolded for doing it yet again. She never quite got the point that the joy of being good was more satisfying - and the act of being good, more empowering - than the temporary indulgence of stretching out on that couch!
Who enjoys swimming while carrying weights? Nothing zaps energy, inspiration and joy like a boulder of fear tied to one's neck by a heavy rope of regret. That is really what guilt is - an anchor of regret and fear - the "shoulda, woulda, coulda" that sinks inspiration, pulling thought down, down, down into sadness over yesterday and dread of tomorrow.
To get your prayer MOJO - to feel confidence, momentum, joy and inspiration in your prayers - you've got to drop the guilt and engage with good and all its present possibilities.
I am not saying it is easy. But I do say it is absolutely doable and completely worth whatever effort is demanded. So, let's talk about how to do it.
I have practiced Christian Science professionally in
some form since 1979.
But my journey with
Christian Science started
in a Sunday school
where as a young child
I was taught the Scriptures and some simple basics
of Jesus' method of
scientific Christian healing.
A significant experience
at the age of twelve
opened my eyes to
the great potential
of this practice.
After impaling my foot
on a nail,
I prayed the way I had learned
in Sunday school.
the pain stopped
and healing began.
By the next morning the wound had disappeared completely.
the great potential
of Christian Science,
there would be no