The moment we set self aside and understand that we can of ourselves do nothing, or realize as did Paul when he said in his letter to the Corinthians, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God,” then and then only are we assured of the success in which discouragement plays no part. If, for example, we should be endeavoring to grasp some line of work or study which we have not undertaken before, it should be done with the understanding that nothing can be new to the one Mind, which man as the son of God expresses, and therefore that the particular endeavor is but an unfoldment of the knowledge man already has. And what is there that can claim to withhold or retard the unfoldment of this knowledge? It is nothing but a belief that we ourselves are trying to grasp something which is wholly unfamiliar and difficult, a belief which says that success depends entirely upon one’s own capabilities. Nothing could be more erroneous than a notion of this kind. Man knows all now because his sufficiency is of God.
What reality can discouragement have with the man who has planted his feet firmly upon the fundamental fact that God, good, is the only Mind and is his sufficiency? Discouragement can have no place at all in his thinking. To be Sure discouraging thoughts may suggest themselves to him, but he does not open the door and let them in; on the contrary, he closes the door upon them. Almost any kind of erroneous thoughts may present themselves to a person, but that does not mean that they are going to be acknowledged. For instance, an honest man, finding himself absolutely alone in a store, may be confronted with the thought that he could take away with him anything he wanted and never be found out. But does he act upon that suggestion? Most assuredly not; it is not even a temptation to him, and he laughs at the very notion of it. Now, the suggestions of discouragement have no more power over God’s man than have suggestions of dishonesty. They cannot be known to him because they are not logical and cannot be derived from Principle, God, Mind, which is his sufficiency.
It goes without saying that we must be loyal to what we know to be true; that is, we must be consistent in our practice of the truth, no matter what the seeming problem. Under the paragraph heading, “Patience and final perfection” on page 254 of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” Mrs. Eddy writes: “Individuals are consistent who, watching and praying, can run, and not be weary; . . . walk, and not faint,’ who gain good rapidly and hold their position, or attain slowly and yield not to discouragement. God requires perfection, but not until the battle between Spirit and flesh is fought and the victory won.” The only loyalty that can really exist is, of course, the loyalty to Principle; anything else is stubbornness in clinging to error. By refusing to entertain error of any kind, we are proving our loyalty to God and becoming worthy of the name of Christian Scientist.
Over and over again Jesus tells us that he himself was not responsible for the good he did but that it was God the Father who worked in him, and he also said that each and every one of us could do the same things and even greater. With God as man’s sufficiency what right has a person to limit himself for a moment to any amount of intelligence or good? To do this would be the same as admitting a weakness in Him who already knows all. We must examine our thoughts, be alert, and as we read in II Timothy, “be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” On the other hand, we must never forget that God is Love, who expresses His love in His care and watchful guidance of His creation. The second stanza of hymn 149 in the Christian Science Hymnal expresses most beautifully this thought:-
Wherever He may guide me,
No want shall turn me back;
My shepherd is beside me,
And nothing can I lack.
His wisdom ever waketh,
His sight is never dim;
He knows the way He taketh,
And I will walk with Him.
(Originally published in the March 26, 1921 Christian Science Sentinel)
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