Subject: Habits and Traditions
Golden text: Matthew 15: 1-3 (ESV)*
Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” 3 He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?
Numbers 22:1, 4-6, 18-30 (ESV)*
Then the people of Israel set out and camped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho.
So Balak the son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, 5 sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is near the River in the land of the people of Amaw, to call him, saying, “Behold, a people has come out of Egypt. They cover the face of the earth, and they are dwelling opposite me. 6 Come now, curse this people for me, since they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them from the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”
18 But Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the command of the Lord my God to do less or more. 19 So you, too, please stay here tonight, that I may know what more the Lord will say to me.” 20 And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men have come to call you, rise, go with them; but only do what I tell you.” 21 So Balaam rose in the morning and saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. 22 But God’s anger was kindled because he went, and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the way as his adversary. Now he was riding on the donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 And the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand. And the donkey turned aside out of the road and went into the field. And Balaam struck the donkey, to turn her into the road. 24 Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on either side. 25 And when the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she pushed against the wall and pressed Balaam’s foot against the wall. So he struck her again. 26 Then the angel of the Lord went ahead and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam. And Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he struck the donkey with his staff. 28 Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” 29 And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a fool of me. I wish I had a sword in my hand, for then I would kill you.” 30 And the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey, on which you have ridden all your life long to this day? Is it my habit to treat you this way?” And he said, “No.”
From 21st Century Science and Health*
Default thinking assumes that all revelation must come from a scholarly or ecclesiastical lineage, like kings crowned from a royal dynasty. Those assumptions disallow inspired understanding and the demonstration of God’s healing power. For this Principle there is no ecclesiastical monopoly, no human lineage of teachers, no successor. The priest is the spiritualized person. Immortal rulings are crowned.
Human beings habitually belittle divine Mind with immature perceptions. In league with physical sense, mortals take limited views of all things. That God is bodily or material, no person should affirm.
The human form or physical structure can’t be made the basis of any true idea of infinite God.
Surely we need to do more than preserve unreliable and useless dogmas, derived from religious traditions and stamped with human approval or authorization.
Love’s discipline is wholesome. As Love corrects us, we advance toward justice, peace, and purity, which are the milestones of Science. Beholding the infinite tasks of truth, we pause—wait on God. Then we make every effort to improve for the better. Spiritualized thought feels creative, free, and inspired, touching the divine glory.
In order to understand more, we must put into practice what we already know. Truth is provable when understood, and good is not understood until proven.
Matt. 23:1-2, 13-15 (ESV)*
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat,
13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.
9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
10 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
From 21st Century Science and Health
A reversal of Scripture shows the distinction between theological and ritualistic religion. The truth preached by Jesus was more than just talk and robotic behavior. A life of spirituality is requisite. Few understand or adhere to Jesus’ divine precepts for living and healing. Why? We don’t emulate Jesus, because we don’t want to set aside personal agendas, human beliefs, habits, and learned information. In Bible terms, we don’t want to cut off the right hand and gouge out the right eye. It is requisite to leave all for Christ.
It is easier to desire Truth than it is to stop our bad habits. Human beings may seek the understanding of divine Science, but they will not be able to profit from Christian Science without applying the spiritual facts in their daily life. This endeavor consists of forsaking error of every kind and possessing no other consciousness but good.
If a person is an alcoholic, a sex or drug addict, or has compulsive behavior, meet and destroy these errors with the truth of being. Point out to the person the suffering that comes along with indulging in bad habits. Convince him or her that there is no real pleasure in false appetites. A depraved mind is manifest in a depraved body. Lust, malice, and all sorts of evil are diseased beliefs, and you can destroy them only by destroying the wicked motives which produce them. If the evil is overcome in the repentant human mind, while its effects still remain on the individual, you can remove this disorder as God’s law if fulfilled and reformation cancels the crime. The healthy sinner is the hardened sinner.
Research points to the frailty and inadequacy of human minds and brains. Professor Susan Greenfield reports online at www.dailymail.co.uk, that, “Today’s technology is already producing a marked shift in the way we think and behave, particularly among the young.” Specifically talking about pleasure, Greenfield continues, “For some, pleasure means wine, women and song; for others, more recently, sex, drugs and rock-n-roll; and for millions today, endless hours at the computer console.”
These cases prove physical senses are beliefs formed by education or trained behavior. The hours and days spent in front of the computer video games would be appalling to the person who was enjoys a walk in the park. Sounds and sights from multichannel televisions and MP3 players that thrill some viewers, can convulse other people trained in an opposite direction.
The point to decide is whether human mind or spiritual Mind acts as the cause. It is much more productive to forsake the basis of matter for the metaphysical basis of Science and its divine Principle.
The effective prayer is a fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, humility, love, and good deeds. Constant prayer is the habitual struggle to improve always. The motive of meditation is made evident in the rewards it brings, rewards that, even if not acknowledged in audible words, confirm our worthiness to experience divine Love.
*The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. ESV® Text Edition: 2011. Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Text from 21st Century Science and Health, copyrighted by Cheryl Petersen.
 Matt. 5:30
 Matt. 5:29
 Greenfield, Susan, “Modern technology changing way brains work says neuroscientist,” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-565207/Modern-technology-changing-way-brains-work-says-neuroscientist.html#ixzz2xrjH2Ima Accessed 4/3/2014