Correspondence School - Series 2 - Lesson 5 - Denials and Affirmations
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- 429. Explain why man should be in conscious control of all his thoughts.
- 430. Explain in detail the process of denial and affirmation.
- 431. Describe In your own words how the body is reconstructed by affirmation and by denial.
- 432. How is thought controlled?
- 433. What is the one true standard of thinking?
- 434. Are specific denials always necessary?
- 435. Why is it Important to make the right use of the power of the mind to deny and to affirm?
- 436. What have affirmations to do with making thoughts substantial (establishing faith) in consciousness?
- 437. Explain the Scripture, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matt. 16:24).
- 438. What is "the world"?
- 439. What is "the flesh"?
- 440. What is "the devil"?
- 441. What is the basis of universal unity and cooperation?
- 442. What is the place of man's overcoming?
- 443. Explain how one overcomes wrong beliefs of "the world," "the flesh," and "the devil" as mentioned in the temptation of Jesus recorded in Matt. 4:1-11. (Also recorded in Mark 1:12,13 and Luke 4:1-13).
1. How is thought controlled and why must man be in conscious control of his thinking faculty?
Every thought of the mind becomes a center around which a state of consciousness or state of mind is built. If a right thought has been dwelt on regarding, say, life, the Individual has a right outlook on life; a right state of mind or consciousness concerning life. On the other hand, if a limited thought of life has been held in mind, the Individual has a limited state of mind or consciousness.
Our power to "think" is a gift of God, but how we use this power is determined by our understanding and use of it. Once we have thought about any subject, we have, in a sense, put ourselves into it and endowed it with power. There is, therefore, a "secondary power of thinking" given to our thoughts in that they have to express "after their kind." Charles Fillmore states on page 50 of Christian Healing:
"There is, however, a difference between the original thinking and the secondary thought. One has its animating center in Spirit; the other, In thought."
First, we think consciously through the thinking faculty or the conscious phase of our mind (also termed the "intellect"). This thinking then is taken up by the subconscious phase of mind or the feeling nature (often termed "the heart") and becomes a "secondary power of thinking" in that thoughts carry out according to their own character. The body and affairs are both influenced by whatever predominant thoughts are held in the mind, for they can only express at their own level of activity. If we do not rightly use the power of our I Am (Son of God) dominion and allow discordant thoughts in the subconscious to rule us, a multitude of discords in mind, body, and affairs will result. Then an appeal to a higher understanding to set right this "wilderness" of mind must be made. "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil" (Matt. 4:1). The "devil" here would refer to any false states of mind that we are holding which can tempt us to believe that we are separated from God, or that the only way we can have the good we desire is by our own human power.
"It is possible for man to take I AM power and apply it in external ways and leave out the true spiritual law" (Jesus Christ Heals, p. 123-4).
The joy of living is manifest in the body as sensation, which is experienced through our senses. If, however, the senses are allowed free rein without spiritual education, without the guidance of Spirit, then Adam, the intellect or thinking faculty, is represented as listening to the serpent (sensation). He eats "of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden" (Gen. 3:3); that is, he takes into his unfolding consciousness a belief in two powers, "good and evil" (Gen. 2:9).
We read these words in Mysteries of Genesis, page 24:
"Underlying all these ideas related to sensation, which in their original purity are simply ideas of life functioning in substance, is the divine idea of life. When life is expressed in divine order it is pronounced good. What is termed 'sense consciousness' in man is not to be condemned but lifted up to its rightful place."
Every bodily act should be under divine guidance. A yielding to uncontrolled appetites and emotions will produce a slackness of mind which permits some false thought-habit to take control of the consciousness to the exclusion of every other thought. This results in "obsession." Obsession is giving undue attention to certain beliefs, usually of a negative nature. This means that there is an imbalance in the mind. If the conscious phase of mind (intellect) has accepted some belief that has taken the whole attention and passed this on to the realm of feeling (the subconscious), then the belief becomes "fixed" in the subconscious as an obsession. Because the subconscious is endowed with "secondary power of thinking," the obsession or error belief can influence a person's whole life. The word obsess comes from a root word meaning "to sit before"; thus, in a sense the mind "sits before" some belief to the exclusion of other thoughts. A yielding to uncontrolled appetites, desires, or emotions produces a slackening of the functions of the mind so that one thought is allowed to take possession of the mind, and thus to gain control.
Obsession must be "unreality" because only what God created can have reality. That an "obsession" is unreal may be observed by the ease with which it is cast off when the mind really wants to let go, or gets so clear a realization of its unreality that it can release the thought that some evil spirit or "demon" could gain possession of a person. Now we are coming to the understanding that the "demons" that have so obsessed the minds of men are the unbalanced thoughts produced in their own minds. Ill-health, the distress of poverty, unhappy human relations, a guilt complex, tyranny, theft, perversion, can all become "obsessions" so that our mind is closed to the truth of our spiritual nature and our divine heritage.
The thoughts that we are thinking constantly fill our mind with some type of belief—pure or impure. In both the conscious and subconscious phases of mind we are continually building thought-structures and our body and affairs will show forth the projection of these thought-structures. The body Is the burden bearer for it is influenced by our thoughts and it will manifest imperfection, disease, if the thoughts are not true. On the other hand, it will manifest health, vitality, strength if our thinking and feeling are based on Truth. Our affairs, too, will show forth results of our negative or our positive thoughts. As an example of negative thought action and its results, we only need to observe those who constantly dwell in an atmosphere of material thought. Their souls are as heavy as their bodies with earthliness. Where is there room for the entry of spiritual thoughts? They need to have the excess of materiality washed away.
2. Explain in detail the process of denial and affirmation.
The function of denial is to disintegrate materiality and wash it away. We must be willing to deny that our sins and shortcomings have reality. Truth is not substance for us until we make room for it in the very character of our mind and body. The first step is to unload, to let go, to give up—this is termed "denial." If we were just beginning to build a new body, had new material, and understood how to build, the construction of a perfect body would be easy. However, we have erected our body without understanding and so we find that it is faulty in appearance. The plan for the body is held in Divine Mind as a perfect body-idea. Through ignorance we have failed to build according to the divine plan, so it becomes necessary to reconstruct. By denials we remove our faulty mental and physical construction, and by affirmations we build anew so that the outer appearance of the body is like the new mental picture we are holding. (See annotations for Lesson 4, Lessons in Truth,)
Though we might desire to do so, we could not erase all error states of consciousness at once without putting a heavy burden on the body. Little by little under the guidance of Spirit, we can tear down (deny) and build (affirm) again until the whole structure Is in accord with the divine plan.
3. Describe in your own words how the body is reconstructed by affirmation and by denial.
All this work is carried on under a law of mind. The mind has the ability to reject what it does not desire—this Is "denial." The mind also has power to receive or accept what it desires—this activity we call "affirmation." Every time we say "yes," we accept; when we say "no," we reject. In this ability to accept or reject lies the power to thought control, and it is necessary that we assume and exercise this control before we can build in accordance with Truth principles. (See Annotations for Lesson 5, Lessons in Truth.) In substance, or Mind essence, "we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). This substance fills all space and is free to all. By our thoughts we produce mental patterns, and it is the nature of substance to pour in, to fulfill (or till full) the pattern offered. It is, however, very necessary that we release the old pattern and produce a new one in mind before there can be any change in the outer manifestation, in the appearance. As this lesson has already brought out, the beliefs that one entertains are the thought-structures that sustain manifestation; the error beliefs must be removed, by denial, if the manifestations are undesirable.
"Denials may be made in many ways. It is not al-ways necessary to say specifically, 'I deny so and so.' The conscious acknowledgment that you have been Incorrect In your conclusion is denial." (Keep a True Lent, p. 64).
Denials and affirmations, therefore, are a necessary factor in the spiritual growth of man. Mind must have expression through thinking, feeling, speaking, in either denial or affirmation. Every thought denies or affirms something. Through ignorance, man has fallen into the habit of denying Truth and affirming error. His mind must be trained on new lines, and the process of denial and affirmation is vital in this training. Through understanding, man can take advantage of the love of mental action and turn it to good account, instead of allowing it to work out on the error side.
We do need to remember that denials and affirmations are primarily attitudes of mind. The spoken word may be silent or audible. There are times when our silent denial (or affirmation) is more an attitude than actual words, yet it is a "spoken word" from a meta-physical standpoint in that it conveys some idea and is therefore more than random thinking. (See annotation one of Lesson Nine, How I Used Truth.) Entering the Jesus Christ consciousness is in itself" an affirmation, the mightiest one that we could make. Jesus lifted Himself into the high consciousness of divinity by His use of the spoken word. He continually made the highest affirmations for Himself:
"I and the Father are one" (John 10:30).
"All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth" (Matt. 28:18).
He uttered other statements equally strong and positive, and we know that during His ministry His silent "spoken word" must have been just as strong and positive for "he went out into the mountain to pray; and he continued all night in prayer to God." When we analyze our mental states, we see that every upward step in spiritual consciousness is an "affirmation," whether or not it is expressed in audible words, whether it comes to our recognition in a flash, or dawns on us gradually.
4. What is the one true standard of thinking?
There is a standard of thinking to which all the thoughts of man should conform. This standard is Truth, the Absolute—the Jesus Christ standard. In the first three lessons of this series we learned the truth about Divine Mind, about the Son, the Idea or offspring of Divine Mind, and about manifest man, the expression and manifestation of that Idea. All thinking must harmonize with this Truth, or the thought-structure in manifest man will not be perfect, and what he builds (mind, body, affairs) will also be imperfect.
Students sometimes listen to remarks about right thinking and accept them because they appeal to their reason, but they go no further. They do not use the law to change thought-structures that have been built into the organism through ignorance. The ability to make and to unmake thought-forms is within every individual, and all those who desire to follow Jesus in the regeneration must begin the work and complete It as He did. The mind should set right every function of the body, and not allow error thoughts to rule in circulation, in digestion, in assimilation, or in any other process or organ of the body. Every error should be cast out of both the conscious and subconscious phases of mind.
Denial is the cleansing of the human consciousness of belief in evil, but the effect of denial is only temporary.
"But the unclean spirit, when he is gone out of the man, passeth through waterless places, seeking rest, and findeth it not. Then he saith, I will return into my house whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man becometh worse than the first" (Matt. 12: 43-45).
A denial should always be followed by an affirmation so that the mind will be filled with Truth and not be subject to the return of the error beliefs that were denied. The quick way is to deny reality to the ~ false belief, leaving the mind cleared for a realization of Truth to be received through affirmation. Right affirmation heals the mind because it is the right use of the creative process of Being (God). God said, "Let there be light" (Gen. 1:3). This creative law at the center of man's being, when allowed free rein, raises both soul (mind) and body to the Christ standard. This "lifting up" is accomplished by the process of affirmation bringing one to the realization of Truth.
Some persons have said that they do not believe in denials— that affirmations are sufficient. It is true that every affirmation contains an implied denial, but usually we can get better results if we make specific denials to prepare the way. If the mind is full, it must be emptied before it can take in anymore. We read in the Scriptures that John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus. Denials wash away or cleanse the mind of erroneous beliefs so that there may be a place in which to plant Truth. The thinking phase of the mind cannot hold or consider two thoughts at the same time; one must make way for the other. Man cannot expect to establish a consciousness of Truth in his mind when he believes in evil as having reality. Denial is the cleansing, freeing process which we may use to purify our thinking faculty and to cleanse the subconscious or feeling nature of untrue beliefs that have been allowed to become established there. Limited or error beliefs must be uprooted If man would put on the consciousness of immortality or eternal life. So, we let go, by denial, of what we consider to be error; then by affirmation we may lay hold of that which we perceive to be true. A simple denial will remove mountains of limited thought.
"Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou taken up and cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that what he saith cometh to pass; he shall have It" (Mark 11;23).
Denials become obsolete, so far as actual statements are concerned, as the soul goes forward to perfection. When we have attained the Christ Consciousness, we shall joyously realize that "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30).
To say, "I believe in the power of Jesus Christ," because we have truly accepted the Truth, will produce a substantial state of mind that will lead to a great unfoldment of faith. Faith is primarily a spiritual principle, but a consciousness of faith is the accumulation of many affirmations. Not until an idea is firmly fixed in the subconscious does it become a habit of mind, a producing mental law for us. Only by repeated affirmations of it, by persistence in thinking about it, does the idea become so firmly fixed as to become an activity of faith. Error race thoughts are not displaced Immediately when the conscious phase of mind accepts a new thought of Truth, even though the new thought seems to be fully accepted by the reasoning mind. How-ever, any negative belief in the subconscious can be changed through steadfast denial and affirmation.
It would be a fine thing if one could instantly enter into a full realization of the Absolute, but as yet no one has done it. Only a few have ever known what it is to take even some of their steps in sudden flashes of inspiration and demonstration. Probably these steps were the result of faithful affirmations of Truth, perceived and declared with such wholehearted conviction that instantaneously the living word of Truth shed its blaze of glory throughout the conscious-ness. Undoubtedly this had been preceded by much building of Truth Into the consciousness, which was then released by the affirmation. We should not wait to declare Truth until It comes to us in sudden inspiration. It would never come to one thus waiting, because the mind is constantly expressing itself in denials or in affirmations of some kind—if not of Truth, then of error—and the manifestations will be of like nature.
Affirmations do not have to be made in set terms. For instance, men seldom say, "I affirm my body to be merely flesh and blood," but the general trend of their thought, their mental attitudes, affirms their belief. Continued thinking on the lines of such an affirmation of error fixes the thought of limitation or error in the subconscious, the thought then becomes a state of mind or mental picture and crystallizes into cells, which eventually merge into the body form. In this way the appearance of imperfection manifests in the body, even though it is primarily the temple of the Holy Spirit. The first step in doing away with this appearance of error is to deny the belief in Its reality. This denial, made in the understanding of the truth that the body is essentially spiritual, will reach the subconscious, break up the error states of mind, and make way for the new state of consciousness which is to be built by affirming that the entire man— spirit, soul, body—is spiritual.
The process of denial and affirmation is vital if we are to overcome the wrong beliefs held in race consciousness. In many instances we may find that each error belief needs to be taken up specifically. Among these race beliefs are belief in the reality and power of evil, belief in sickness and disease, belief in old age.
A dominating personal will (i.e., use of the will faculty in a limited way) is a form of negative affirmation, producing in mind and body a tense, rigid condition. Where the "no" phase of mind is too much in evidence, the consciousness becomes negative and relaxes to such an extent that weakness and ills of a "letting go" and wasting character result.
5. Explain the Scripture, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matt. 16:24).
Jesus Christ thoroughly understood the law of thought back of affirmation and denial. He said, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me" (Matt. 16:24). The "self" which Is to be denied is the aggregation of false, limiting beliefs that we have had about ourselves, resulting in a thought-structure or self-linage that does not measure up to the God standard of man as a spiritual being. The "me" that is to be followed is the Christ, the I pi, the real Self of each of us. We must deny reality to all false beliefs and wrong feelings If we would come into the Christ consciousness.
6. What is "the world"?
Jesus overcame "the world, the flesh, and the devil," as mentioned in Matthew 4:1-11. We also find reference to the temptations of Jesus in Mark 1:12, 13, and Luke 4:1-13.
The "world" that God created is a good world for
"We are cited to the trees, flowers, suns, and stars, as the work of God; we are told that it is God who sustains and governs, controls and directs them in every minutia" (Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, p. 563).
There must, then, be some inner meaning to the belief that one is to "overcome the world." When we look more deeply into the subject, we find that "the world" thus viewed is the state of consciousness in us that has been built upon a wrong concept of God's creation. When one has such a state of consciousness, he has not come to know the reality back of all creation; so he looks to the forms he sees as being the real, rather than seeing them as the visible expression of the real, or divine ideas.
By consciously or unconsciously ignoring the Truth (idea) back of all things, a person becomes bound by the limiting traditions of men; too much emphasis is given to custom so that a person is bound by custom rather than finding through it an avenue of expression for the real, or some divine idea or principle. By this we do not mean to imply that either tradition or custom have no part in our life, for they have, but they are symbolic of the Truth back of them. The days in the year that are honored (many called "holy days") bring to our remembrance the ideals that lie back of them—i.e., Christmas Day, New Year's Day, days honoring the freedom of a nation, important events in a city or state, days that honor great people in government, education, religion. When we come into an understanding of what lies back of all life, then the freedom we seek for ourselves we desire for all men. This is freedom from the foolish, ignorant, limiting standards of living that have been set up in "the world" through lack of understanding. Because we desire this freedom for our self, we may need to make a sweeping denial on this order:
I am no longer in bondage to limited beliefs.
I am free to think, to speak, to dress, to eat, and to live in all ways according to my highest spiritual understanding.
By such a denial, there is no condemnation of the world in which we live, but rather a clearing of our own consciousness about the world, so that we become more worthy to be citizens of God's world.
When a person speaks of "the world" in a disparaging way we may be sure that he refers not to the world we see about us, which shows evidence of being the handiwork of God, but to the errors that spring from the unenlightened consciousness of man. In The Revealing Word, page 214, we find this consciousness referred to:
"The world—A state of consciousness formed through the belief in the reality of things external. It leads one to follow standards of living based on man's opinions rather than on Truth. The world is overcome by — our denying that it has any power over us and affirming freedom in Christ."
7. What Is "the flesh"?
The next temptation all of us must meet is termed "the flesh." This is symbolized by Jesus' temptation to turn stones into bread. As with "the world" we must come to see that this is a state of consciousness formed by man's wrong concept of substance that clothes the soul, that forms the outer visible structure of man we call the "body." If there is but one substance out of which all creation is formed, then what we term "the flesh" must be this same substance.
However, when we connect "the flesh" with the thought of temptation we know that it is not the flesh as we see it, but the error beliefs about it that we are dealing with. When a person suffers imperfection, disease, illness in his flesh body, he feels bound and he may think that he desires release from the body itself. With under-standing he finds that it is not release from the body he desires, but release from the limitations he has imposed on the flesh. It seems to man, in unenlightened consciousness, that the appetites of the body are his master; but once illumined to the truth that his body is "the temple of the Holy Spirit" (I Cor. 6:19), or as we often term it "the temple of God," he realizes that appetite is not really physical but spiritual. The desire for physical food has back of it the urge of God to give man spiritual food, the "bread of life." When first tempted, Jesus said, "Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4)
If a man seems to be in subjection to wrong appetites or habits of the body, it is because he has not been spiritually educated to understand and control these appetites. When the soul is not given opportunity for legitimate expression, then the body finds wrong ways of expressing the misunderstood appetites. Medical science has found evidence that a child or an adult who has an uncontrollable desire for food actually feels rejected, unhappy, or frustrated. There can, therefore, be no condemnation of one who seems not to be able to control appetite for food, but rather a prayer for enlightenment so that balance may be restored. Even insatiable desire for intellectual knowledge can be a type of "mental appetite" that Is indicative of the soul's desire for the spiritual food that alone can satisfy. Any imbalance in the body can be traced to imbalance in the mind. So, the overcoming of "the flesh" must be recognized from its meta-physical symbolism, and the true overcoming thus takes place in the mind with the raising of the consciousness to the Truth that we are spiritual beings.
8. What is "the devil"?
The third temptation Is "the devil." What is "the devil" which Jesus overcame, and which all men must overcome? The Greek and the Latin words from which the word devil came into our language meant the slanderer, the original or root significance of which is "to throw or let fall across," indicating delusion, a veiling. As with "the world" and "the flesh," we find that "the devil" Is also a state of consciousness built by man when he has forgotten that he is a child of the living God. This state of mind is built because a person is ignorant of the true use of divine laws (ideas), and when he reaps the unhappy result of misapplied law, he thinks there is something outside of himself causing him unhappiness. The state of consciousness that is "the devil" functions contrary to divine good; thus, it has accepted belief in separation, belief in the power of the outer world to harm him, and so it ignorantly rejects God. When man is lost in this "wilderness" of his own thoughts he is tempted to bow down to this seemingly powerful "devil," giving it control over his faculties.
The forces personified as "the devil" are not real or reality, for they are man's own formations of wrong beliefs. Our Father-Mother God gave to each of us freedom of will, so that we may use our God-powers as we choose. When we are guilty of unrighteous use of the will faculty, we bring into our life by the mental law of cause and effect results that cause pain and distress. The many perverse and degrading practices that have grown up with mankind in the childhood of the race have all come through the ignorance that has been carried on from generation to generation. When the light dawns and parents begin to educate children to spiritual truths, all of the accumulated error beliefs that make up "the devil" will be erased from the world consciousness (race consciousness).
In both the Old Testament and the New Testament we find the Hebrew word Abaddon, the Greek form for which is Apollyon. Both of these words mean destroyer. In II Corinthians 6:15 we find "the devil" called Belial, meaning worthlessness, lawlessness. In Matthew, "the devil" is designated as Beelzebub, meaning lord of the flies. We find the word Satan, another word used for "the devil," „ occurring in both the Old and the New Testaments, meaning adversary.
In Genesis the "adversary" is described as a serpent, representing a subtle state of consciousness that uses the life force with-out wisdom and through ignorance refuses to obey God's laws. This adverse state of consciousness in man stands aloof from God, desiring to be independent, believing in its own sufficiency. Even after Spirit begins its quickening work in the consciousness, the adverse state of mind or "the devil" is in evidence. As a matter of fact, it often seems more active than it was before, seeming to rise in rebellion against Truth. It has its own ways and does not want to be disturbed. This state of mind comprises all forms of fear, selfish-ness, ignorance, and must be denied, while the Christ love is affirmed. When a "housecleaning" takes place there is to all appearances an upset until the house is cleansed, and everything put in order. When Spirit begins its redemptive work in our consciousness there seems an upset while the cleansing (denial) goes on, but when this is accomplished the consciousness is put in order by affirmation which replaces limited beliefs with eternal truths.
9. What is the basis of universal unity and cooperation?
Since man has shown that he can be a producer of conditions that he terms evil, it is time for him to realize this fact; time to recognize what his freedom of will means; time to recognize his power to determine to produce only good instead of appearances of evil. On man, created in the Image and after the likeness of God, has been conferred the power of choice, and he must choose to be selfless and universal instead of selfish and personal; must choose to live by knowledge of wisdom and love instead of by undisciplined sensations.
There is no personal devil any more than there is a personal God, in the sense of a personality separate and apart from one's self. Just as "Lord God" means an embodiment of law, order, and justice in man, so "the devil" represents an embodiment of anarchy, evil, and injustice in man.
10. Explain how one overcomes wrong beliefs of "the world," "the flesh," and "the devil" as mentioned in the temptation of Jesus recorded in Matthew 4:1-11. (Also recorded in Mark 1:12, 13 and Luke 4:1-13).
All efforts at social cooperation, such as have been tried in colonies of various kinds, will prove a failure until the law of Jesus Christ is put into operation and selfishness is eliminated. Many times, as is proved by history, men or groups of men have come to the realization that more good can come into the lives of individuals and nations through social unity and cooperation. This is very good. Every step in progress has begun with the nucleus of someone's thought of service. Sometimes, however, the outer organization of such social reform has not lasted or has not been as effective as it should have been, for the reason that no true unity is possible until God’s laws, as taught by Jesus Christ, are made the foundation of any such organization. This means, of course, that love must be predominant for love precludes selfishness. "Love ... is the fulfillment of the law" (Rom. 13:10). Jesus Himself emphasized love as the basis of universal unity when He gave as the first commandment our love for God, and as the second commandment our love for our neighbor.
Jesus went into the "wilderness" of His own mind, and there met and overcame the Adversary. So must each evolving soul meet within himself this "wilderness" or undeveloped state of mind. The answers which Jesus gave to the "adversary" or adverse state of mind indicate the nature of the error thought that is to be met and overcome. We are not very familiar with this "wilderness" or undeveloped realm into which Spirit drives us. The untried powers of this realm await our directive hand. In the visible world we see all about us opportunities to make profit, and the adverse state of mind, the devil, suggests that we use the divine law for material gain - "Command that these stones become bread" (Matt. 4:2). The higher understanding declares the necessity of affirming the Word as the real life-giving substance—"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). We must speak words of Truth every day about the wonderful possibilities of God as our supply and power, and we will prove the law of abundant supply in our affairs.
An exalted consciousness lifts us up to the very pinnacle of the "temple" in the "holy city" (Matt. 4:5). Unillumined personality says that we are so high in our spiritual perception of divine law that we are not subject to natural law; that we can—right now, without further experience with our untried forces—do marvelous things to astonish men. The possibility of using divine power in sense ways is the temptation. This is tempting the Lord (the Christ or I AM) or seeking to bring into manifestation the divine law before we know how to handle it.
"As soon as a person attains a certain degree of intellectual understanding of Truth he becomes self-righteous ... he is inclined to think that he has all of the fullness of the kingdom in his outer life. However, he must learn to use aright the beginning of Truth that has been revealed to him, that he may become worthy of a place in the kingdom" (Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, p. 523).
When unenlightened by Truth, the personality says that we can trust to angels, or to forces outside ourself, to guard us and protect us from the results of our ignorance. Spiritual man (Christ, I AM, Lord) says that it is not wise to attempt to do marvelous things before understanding the law; when we understand, then the ideas of God (angels) will minister to us and become our servants. "Thou shalt not make trial of the Lord thy God" (Matt. 4:7).
The "high mountain" referred to in this lesson is the exaltation of the outer man or personality, in the belief that through such exaltation dominion can be attained. A person with a strong desire to rule the minds of men can take advantage of the power that lies in spiritual thought (in the basic desire of all men to worship) and by exploiting it gradually build up a system of beliefs not based on spiritual principles. This state of mind might find expression through governments, educational systems, religious organizations. It is through this misapplication of spiritual power that dictators and tyrants are produced. History proves that attempts have been made to exalt personality in the name of God, and rulers and their people have been made to pay homage to personality under the delusion that they were worshipping God.
Man must continually recognize and work in harmony with Divine Mind through the Christ consciousness within himself. The man of spiritual understanding says to the Tempter: "Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve" (Matt. 4:10).
Life is a constant learning,
Never the lessons end;
And the more we learn, the further
The bounds of our life extend.
Life is a constant journey.
Never we reach the goal;
But the higher we go the greater
Is the reach of the living soul.
Life is a constant growing
Up from the nourishing sod
Into the better living,
Nearer the fullness of God!
This lesson was transcribed on April 20, 2021 by Coy Brock.