Remember that Salt 'n' Pepa song from 1991, "Let's talk about sex"? The chorus says,
Let's talk about you and me
Let's talk about all the good things
And the bad things that may be
So, OK. Let's. Only, let's change things up, baby. Let's talk about sin.
Mention sin and some automatically think of sexual immorality or wrong-doing to a neighbor. But, Christian Science broadens the term to include any action or thought that tries to separate one from the divine source of all good, from God.
In that sense, sin is the ultimate distraction. It obscures one's ability to see, feel and experience the healing Christ. It shuts down inspiration. It depletes energy and zaps joy. Sin makes one feel unwilling and unable to understand and practice Christian healing. This makes sin an assassin, crushing joy, peace, effectiveness at healing, harmony and health. It kills and kills and keeps killing until it is exposed and stopped.
When it comes to sin, we have to be willing to look at it. Unmask it. Pop it out from under cover and eliminate its toxic and deadly influence on us. Over the centuries, sin has been discussed under seven so-called carnal or deadly categories - anger, lust, gluttony, sloth, envy, greed, and pride. Under these seven categories you can effectually list any negative trait or behavior that is anti-Christ. Christ Jesus’ Lord’s Prayer can provide a helpful springboard for addressing any category of sin. For example:
Our Father, which art in heaven addresses ENVY. No one is left out of “OUR” Father. No imbalance. No haves and have nots. Through our connection with the Father-Mother each one of us is linked directly to heaven. No one and nothing can limit our expression and experience of good. No exceptions. (Here is another blog post that illustrates a cool healing of envy.)
Hallowed be Thy name takes care of ANGER. It is God’s name and nature that is hallowed, that is honored and worshipped as holy. True worship involves not just appreciating but reflecting that holy nature. There is no reaction in reflection. Reflection is a response or a giving back to the original, but never a reaction to the original or to any other source.
You know what healed Jacob of his anger and fear at Peniel? He saw God face to face – that’s what Peniel means: "God face to face." Reflection. To see God, was to see himself. So what was that angel Jacob wrestled? A correct view of himself as Godlike. When he glimpsed his own real nature, he found no anger there. Hallowed be God’s nature. Hallowed be yours. (Check out another post on healing anger.)
Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven is a great one for SLOTH. God’s kingdom is the atmosphere of ideas in which we work. God’s will is our motivator and goal. Praying to know and yield to the divine will for good and only good eliminates stubbornness and self-will. This shift produces more order at home and at work. It redeems from procrastination, mental dullness, spiritual apathy and laziness. (Could you use some ideas on mastering self-will? Check out this post.)
Give us this day our daily bread can be really helpful in eliminating GLUTTONY. Hoarding and overindulgence in any form is handled when we drop the fear that what we love or what we need may not be here today. But God’s grace is here today. Everyday. It satisfies our needs and desires. He sends us spiritual ideas to feed our famished affections and meet our needs. Taking what he gives, accepting our daily bread, produces balance and satisfaction. No more overeating, overspending, overindulging, overreacting, over-saving, overstocking, and even oversleeping – all gluttonous behaviors. (Looking for that unlimited supply of grace and good? Check out this post.)
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors is helpful against GREED. It is an equation of sorts with the word “AS” as the equal sign. And Love is reflected in love. God forgives and we forgive. God gives, and we give. The divine Principle, or God, of supply includes balance and generosity and abundance for all. (See another post on this one, too.)
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil offers a wit-sharpening, courage-inducing prayer to counter LUST. The book of Esther in the Bible tells the story of Vashti, Ahasuerus’ queen, who refused to cater to her husband’s deviant request that she parade herself naked before his friends. It took such moral courage at great personal risk to take that stand before her husband and king. Even though it cost her a human crown, later Scripture confirmed that her virtue was her real crown! Proverbs states, “A virtuous woman is a crown…:” Proverbs 12:4
Perhaps the issue with lust is not so much that the suggestions come, as it is that we have the power to choose, as Vashti did, to follow the leadings of good – that is, to acknowledge and act on the natural force, the powerful draw, to purity.
God doesn't lead us into temptation. Ever. Lust is not a natural propensity of man. The Lord’s Prayer helps us master and express our natural propensities for purity, moral courage, and goodness. (Yup, I have an interesting post on sex.)
For THINE is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever is a good line for flushing out PRIDE. I have an old cartoon clipping. Two monks are examining a list of the seven deadly sins. One monk said to the other, “After you’ve successfully resisted the other six deadly sins, its really hard not to be proud!”
What is real belongs to God. Acknowledging God’s kingdom, power and glory is an ultimate statement of humility, and humility counteracts pride – an inflated or deflated sense of one’s self. Pride can take the form of superiority or inferiority. We've got to root out both.
God is the kingdom in which you work, the power with which you work, and the glory for which you work – now and forever. That idea can take you far. (And here are a few more thoughts on the kingdom to nourish your prayers.)
During a class to train Christian Science teachers, a student named Mrs. Otis asked Mary Baker Eddy how she was to demonstrate over weak eyes. The response was, "Make yourself better every hour and don’t think of eyes.” (Joshua Bailey notes, Mary Baker Eddy Library)
Make yourself better every hour. Eliminating the influence of sin in our own lives brings the clearest discernment, deepest compassion, and strongest spiritual authority. It makes one an effective healer.
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.
If you like what you see in this blog, please share the link with your friends, fans and followers!
A full-text version of the blog can be delivered to your email inbox.
Please subscribe in the sidebar.
You may also wish to:
VISIT MY WEBSITE HOME PAGE
READ MORE BLOG POSTINGS
FIND A LIST OF MY OTHER PUBLISHED CONTENT
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