WHEN the strong man fully armed guardeth his own court, his goods are in peace: but when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him his whole armor wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. (Luke 11:21)
Jesus gave the foregoing illustration of a strong man's being overcome by a stronger. The incident is mentioned in three of the Gospels, those of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It is usually interpreted as illustrating in a general way the overcoming of evil, but the peculiar identification of the strong man in his court (or house), and the necessity of overcoming him, hint at a deeper significance. One who has studied man as an aggregation of personalities readily identifies the "strong man" as one of the twelve foundation powers that make up the manifest man. Among the apostles of Jesus the strong man is designated as Andrew, brother of Peter. The Greek meaning of Andrew is "strong man."
The development of the natural world from coarser to finer types in vegetable life and in animal life is paralleled in many respects in the unfoldment of man. The source of everything is in the realm of ideas; a knowledge of this fact, coupled with faith
in the working power of the unseen, makes man greater than all other expressions of Divine Mind. However, knowledge of the law of mind evolution does not relieve man of the necessity of refining and transmuting the various types of man that he has brought forth, and of which he is the epitome.
The Jehovah man is constantly making the Adam man and breathing into his nostrils the breath of life. The Adam man exists in the subconsciousness as a multitude of men: The wise man and the foolish man, the kind man and the cruel man, the loving man and the hateful man, the stingy man and the generous man, the hungry man and the full man, the happy man and the troubled man, the weak man and the strong man, the good man and the bad man, the live man and the dead man, the poor man and the rich man, the timid man and the courageous man, the sick man and the healthy man, the old man and the young man, the erratic man and the sane man—these, and a thousand other types of man as active personalities, occupy the consciousness of every human being. Every male has within him the female and every female has within her the male. This fact is admitted by physiology, substantiating the Genesis record of the ideal creation of man as "male and female," and his expression in Adam and Eve as the male and female in one man. The fact was corroborated by the Great Teacher when He said, "Have ye not read, that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female?"
The "strong man fully armed," referred to by
Jesus, is the strength and stability in man. In the natural man he is manifest as physical strength, but in the regeneration he is overcome and his possessions are divided or given to the other faculties as a nucleus around which the higher forces gather. The "stronger than he" who takes away the "whole armor" in which the strong man trusted is spiritual strength. The overcoming of Goliath by David illustrates the mastery of the spiritual over the material. Goliath trusted in his armor, which represents the protective power of matter and material conditions. David, spiritual strength, had no armor or material protection. David's power was gained by trust in divine intelligence, through which he saw the weak place in Goliath's armor. Direct to this weak place, with the sling of his concentrated will, he sent a thought that shattered the forehead of the giant. This incident shows how easy it is to overcome the seemingly strong personal and material conditions when the mind of Spirit is brought into action.
David was sure of himself, because he had slain the lion that had killed his sheep. The lion is the beast in man; when overcome, or, rather, transmuted to finer energy, this lion becomes a mighty soul strength.
The life of Samson, as set forth in Judges, shows the different movements of strength in human consciousness, and its betrayal and end. Samson did all kinds of athletic stunts, but was finally robbed of his strength by Delilah, a Philistine woman, who
had his head shaved while he slept on her knees. Hair represents vitality. When the vital principle is taken away the strength goes with it. The body is weakened by this devitalization and finally perishes. Eve took away the strength of Adam in like manner, and every man who gives up the vital essence of his body for the pleasure of sensation blindly pulls down the pillar of his temple, as did Samson.
Supreme strength as demonstrated by Jesus can be attained by one who trusts in Spirit and conserves his vital substance. The strength of Spirit is necessary to the perpetuation of soul and body and to the overcoming of death. "For there are eunuchs, that were so born from their mother's womb: and there are eunuchs, that were made eunuchs by men: and there are eunuchs, that made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake."
The body has many "brain" and nerve centers, through which the mind acts. Consciously we use only the brain in the head. We should think through every cell in the organism, and consciously direct every function in building up the body. When one has attained the mastery of these various bodily functions through thinking in the brain center that stores the vital energy of each particular faculty, then all deterioration ceases and the body is perpetually renewed.
The strength here discussed is not physical strength alone, but mental and spiritual strength. All strength originates in Spirit; and the thought and the word spiritually expressed bring the manifestation.
"The name of Jehovah is a strong tower" (Prov. 18:10).
We grow to be like that which we idealize. Affirming or naming a mighty spiritual principle identifies the mind with that principle; then all that the principle stands for in the realm of ideas is poured out upon the one who affirms.
"Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might" (Eph. 6:10) is a great strengthening affirmation for ourselves and for others. Be steadfast, strong, and steady in thought, and you will establish strength in mind and in body. Never let the thought of weakness enter your consciousness, but always ignore the suggestion and affirm yourself to be a tower of strength, within and without.
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The development of man is under law. Creative Mind is not only law, but it is governed by the action of the law that it sets up. We have thought that man was brought forth under the fiat or edict of a great creative Mind that could make or unmake at will, or change its mind and declare a new law at any time; but a clear understanding of ourselves and of the unchangeableness of Divine Mind makes us realize that everything has its foundation in a rule of action, a law, that must be observed by both creator and created.
Man's development is not primarily under the physical law, because the physical law is secondary. There is a law of Spirit, and the earthly is but the showing forth of some of the results of that law. We begin our existence as ideas in Divine Mind; those ideas are expressed and developed and brought
to fruitage, and the expression is the important part of the soul's growth.
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Evolution is the result of the development of ideas in mind. What we are is the result of the evolution of our consciousness, and that consciousness is the result of seed ideas sown in our mind. When Froebel, the great teacher of children, began his primary school, he thought a long time before he gave it a name. One day the name came to him, "a children's garden"; so he called his school a "kindergarten." Froebel may not have seen the connection, but in naming his system of educating the children of men, he was true to the plan given in Gen. 2:8. Humanity is the garden of God, of which the soil is the omnipresent thought substance.
Jesus says that the seed is the word; He gives illustrations of the various places in which the seed is sown, and the results of the sowing. The seed, or Word of God, is sown in the minds of men; these seed ideas go through many changes, and they bring forth a harvest according to the capacity of the receiving soil. If you will to do the will of God, the exercise of your will in God-Mind strengthens your will power. If you have faith in things invisible, the faith seed is growing in your mind and your faith will be increased. Every word or idea in Divine Mind is sown by man in his mind, and is then brought forth—according to man's receptivity. "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." So all the faculties that exist in Divine Mind (the twelve pillars of the temple of God) are in this way
expressed through the mind and the body of man.
Some have claimed that the Bible is a work on physiology. So it is, but it is far more; it treats of spirit, soul, and body as a unit. That is the reason why those who have studied the Bible from a merely physiological standpoint have not understood it. They have looked for descriptions of flesh and bones. In truth those things have no active existence without accompanying life and intelligence; and the Bible sets forth this fact in many symbols.
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Jesus, the Great Teacher, who knew what was in man, began His evolution with Spirit. He is the "only begotten Son of God"; He is the type that you should strive to follow, not only in spiritual culture and in soul culture, but in physical culture. If you would bring forth the very best that is in you, study the methods of Jesus. Study them in all their details, get at the spirit of everything that is written about this wonderful man, and you will find the key to the true development of your soul and your body. If you will carry out His system, there will be revealed to you a new man, a man of whom you never dreamed, existing in the hidden realms of your own subconsciousness.
Preceding Entry: The Twelve Powers of Man 24-33: 2. The Development of Faith
Following Entry: The Twelve Powers of Man 41-51: 4. Wisdom—Judgment