Eric Butterworth Speaks: Essays on Abundant Living #16
Delivered by Eric Butterworth on May 15, 1975
We live today in a changing world. Religion for today must be well-suited to meet the needs peculiar to this day. One of the weaknesses of traditional religion has been the determination to present teachings in the idiom and symbol appropriate to olden times. Religion should be reinterpreted to each succeeding generation in terms of vital significance to that generation’s thought.
Several years ago, LIFE Magazine commented on the giant strides being made by science into unknown territory. “It would seem that the more we learn about Life and the Universe, the more of an enigma they become from the viewpoint of science, if science limits itself to the ‘how’ of things. Only when it includes a ‘why’, that which is beyond the scope of the laboratory bench, is it possible for any rhyme or reason to appear in its accumulated knowledge.”
The editorial continued: “...Modern metaphysics is no longer irrelevant to science but indispensible to it if a total picture is to be achieved. In fact, metaphysics, by taking cognizance of the latest advances in science could become man’s greatest quest during the next hundred years.”
And this is where we stand: presenting a modern interpretation of Christian teaching with insight into the world of today, and vision for the World of tomorrow.
Among the fundamentals of Jesus’ teachings is one idea that is so dynamic in its implications that it should be shouted from the housetops. When this message gets into the consciousness of man he is done with fear and worry forever, for he has the key to faith. When he knows this message, really knows it, he will never again accept anything as impossible or incurable. He will never lose hope. He will work by all the means at his command to achieve the health and well-being that he desires, and even more, he will command the means—for he will realize that he has resources within him that are limitless.
What is this message? “THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU.” The right understanding of this message will change many traditional concepts about the after-life. Most important, however, it will reveal to you that WITHIN YOU IS THE UNBORN POSSIBILITY OF LIMITLESS EXPERIENCE, AND YOURS IS THE PRIVILEGE OF GIVING BIRTH TO IT.
Each one of us contains within himself an individual portion of the original creative force of the Universe, and by conscious direction of will, can open himself to and receive its power.
It is unfortunate but true that through the ages theologians devoted so much time in trying to find and analyze the body of God, that they lost the consciousness of His imminence and His dynamic power. Because they placed the emphasis on the miracles wrought by Jesus and the worship of His personality, they lost sight of the fact that He was simply demonstrating the possibility of Universal principle and the power of the Christ indwelling.
We live in a Universe of law. The purpose of this new insight is the study of that law—the same law that enabled Jesus to do the great works attributed to Him. Jesus said, “I came not to destroy the law but to fulfill it.” Jesus did not abrogate Divine Law, He simply revealed a higher potential of Divine Law than as yet man is aware of. There is no special law for anyone, not even for Jesus; but anyone can specialize the law by using it with a fuller understanding.
We can never really understand the meaning of Jesus’ life until we give up once and for all the idea of caprice or favoritism in the Universe, and until we stop praying to receive without giving or to be forgiven when we have not changed our own attitude. As long as we believe in a God who interferes with nature to please someone who has asked a favor, we will never have a strength of faith upon which to build our lives.
This new insight in Truth deals with the study of spiritual law and its influence in our lives and affairs. I believe that when Jesus said, “I came that ye might have life, and that ye might have it more abundantly,” that He meant what He said. It is not only possible to demonstrate health in our lives today, but it is our duty to continually press on to a greater awareness of God and a greater demonstration of His good in mind, body, and affairs.
There is growing interest today in spiritual healing, and of course we talk of it often. However, spiritual healing is not feasible simply because of intercession through God or of some spcial dispensation of divine law. Spiritual healing is possible because man is a spiritual being, because “The Kingdom of God is within you.”
For some strange reason that is not found in Jesus’ teachings, many have insisted that sickness is the will of God and should be passively accepted. Sickness is never the will of God. God is Spirit, the very essence of life, and this essence could not be working against itself.
I am dedicated to the message of Ezekiel: “Cast away from you all your transgressions wherein you have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit; for why will ye die...for I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord Jehovah: wherefore turn yourselves and live.” Jesus did not originate spiritual healing; He did not create the healing law. He simply discovered and brought to full flower the great Truth of the healing principle by which anyone may rise above sickness or weakness into perfect life and wholeness. This principle is God in action. This is not something extraneous to man, but in the very largest sense, the healing principle is very life itself.
Healing is normal, it is God’s will. Working for health does not mean fighting the force of sickness. There is only one force—this is God.
More and more doctors are recognizing that the inner healing power of the body is not strictly a material thing, a power that can be expressed in terms of cells and corpuscles—but a spiritual power of which the action of these are but symptoms. Sometimes it would seem that medical men have a greater faith in the “healing principle” within man than many ministers.
Too much faith in the doctor is wrong, simply because we allow him to become a crutch. But too much faith in the spiritual healer is wrong for the same reason. The problem is not in any inherent evil in drugs or medical techniques. It is in letting these things become the object of our faith, which should be placed in God. I do not insist that you go all the way in spiritual healing. I only urge you to go as far as you can on faith—and you will be surprised at how far that is.
Just a word in answer to the critics of what has sometimes been called “Practical Christianity”. It is strange but true that long faced Christians have always resisted the concept of using Christianity for other than the resigned acceptance of life’s experiences as God’s will. Once critic in a national magazine derided what he called “the concept of God for hire.” He makes a statement that we often hear, “Faith in God and optimism may help us withstand our problems but they can’t solve them.” This is a strange philosophy passing for Christianity, but it certainly does not originate with Jesus.
The critic says, “Let’s stop misusing God,” but he infers that to use God at all is to misuse Him. What of the tree in your yard? Does it not use the force of nature? Is it wrong for the tree to draw upon the abundance of nature in order to flourish with green leaves and fragrant blossoms and fruit? Didn’t Jesus say, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
As an expression of God, man is “using God” every moment. The thoughts of our mind, the love of our heart, the life of our bodies, and the substance of our affairs all are the essence of God that we use in living: There can be no depletion of God through our practice of His presence or our demonstration of His law. We teach that God is Spirit as Jesus so taught. We seek to understand and to demonstrate the workable law described in Jesus’ words, “All things are possible to them that believe... Whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye have received them, and ye shall have them.”
© 1975, by Eric Butterworth