Subject: Temptation or Purification
Golden text: Daniel 11:33-35*
And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder. 34 When they stumble, they shall receive a little help. And many shall join themselves to them with flattery, 35 and some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time.
Luke 4 1-4
And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’”
21st Century Science and Health**
Even at a young age Jesus knew he was in his “Father’s house.” Jesus’ pursuits were different from the conventional pursuits of human beings. His master was Spirit, versus the world’s master of material energy. Jesus served God, as opposed to the world serving money. His inclinations were pure, whereas the inclinations of mortals are to indulge the flesh and ego. Jesus’ senses drank in the spiritual evidence of substantial health, holiness, and life.
The Scriptures say, “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.” This shows that Truth is our actual life; but humankind objects to making this teaching practical.
Human mind is the feeler and the feeling, the tempter and the tempted, the sin and the sinner, the disease and its cause. It is beneficial to be calm when dealing with sickness; to be hopeful is still better. However, understanding that sickness is not real and that Truth can destroy its seeming reality is best of all, for this understanding is the universal and progressive remedy.
Every test of our faith in God makes us stronger. The more difficult seems the fleshly condition to be overcome by Spirit, the stronger should be our faith and the purer our love. The Apostle John says: “There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror!…he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].”
And the devil took [Jesus] up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”
21st Century Science and Health
It is to our advantage never to let sympathy and society tempt us to cherish error in any form, and certainly we should not be error’s advocate.
We cry because others cry, we yawn because they yawn, and we have the flu because others have it; but human mind, not matter, contains and carries the infection. When this mental contagion is understood, we will be more careful with our mental conditions. We will avoid continually talking about disease just as we would avoid advocating crime.
Diseases appear like other mental states, through association. Erroneous thoughts connect to one another and the condition is classified as a disease. Some diseases are regarded as contagious. Contagion is the human activity of copying and pasting sick thoughts from one mind and body to another.
Illustrations can be found to show how contagion is fickle. Dr. Albert Schweitzer has been quoted to say, “Serious illness doesn’t bother me for long because I am too inhospitable a host,” whereas some people will catch a contagious disease without coming into contact with disease inducing germs.
If a child is exposed to a contagious disease, the parent is frightened and says, “My child will get sick.” The law of human mind, and the parent’s fears, control the child more than the child’s mind. The sickness might have been prevented with different thinking.
Our responses need improvement if we typically say things like, “you look sick,” “you must be tired,” or “you need a pill.”
Why do people run to a child who has fallen, and whine childishly “Oh, poor thing, I know you hurt”? The better and more successful response to adopt is: “You’re Okay, let’s think about what’s good.” Soon the child forgets all about the accident and is directed to positive activity.
Why do drugs cause recovery? Because, according to the faith will be the effect. A mass general belief, culminating in individual faith, can appear to heal. Even if you take away the individual’s confidence in the drug, you have not yet divorced the drug from the collective faith. Mass consciousness—including the pharmacist, the chemist, the doctor, and the person on the street—equips the medicine with their faith in the drug and gives it the upper hand. To overcome the collective thinking, individual dissent or faith must rest on Science, otherwise the belief is governed by the majority, not the minority.
The universal belief in physics weighs against the high and mighty truths of spiritual metaphysics. The widespread belief in physics, which sustains medicine and produces all medical results, works against divine Science. The percentage of power on the side of this Science must mightily outweigh the power of popular belief in order to heal metaphysically a single case of disease. The human mind can offset the discords of matter and the ills of flesh by giving less power to physics and more to spirituality.
People who discern divine reality will hold crime in check, help banish error, maintain law and order, and cheerfully serve the certainty of completions.
And [the devil] took [Jesus] to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’
11 and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13 And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.
21st Century Science and Health
The belief that we have an existence or mind separate from God is a dying error—met and corrected by Jesus. Because God bestowed glory on the anointed Jesus, temptation, sin, sickness, and death did not terrorize him.
Treat a thought of sickness as you would sin, with sudden refusal. Resist the temptation to believe in mortality as intelligent or as having sensation and power.
Leaving all for Christ includes forsaking popularity and gaining true Christianity. Any attempt to engage society’s friendship in order to gain dominion over humankind comes from worldly weakness.
Society is a foolish juror, listening only to one side of the case. Justice often comes too late to secure a verdict. People with mental work before them have no time for gossip about false law or testimony. To reconstruct timid justice and place the fact above the falsehood, is the work of time.
Sects that endure the abuse of their predecessors, in turn, are tempted to treat badly those who are in advance of creeds. For Christianity, the cross is the central emblem of its history. It is the guiding star in the demonstration of Christ-like healing—the demonstration by which sin and sickness are overcome.
Material wealth, fame, and social organizations have no authority or influence in the presence of God. We attain clearer views of Principle as we break up cliques, level monetary wealth with honesty, and let worth be judged according to wisdom. We also get better views of humanity as we remove ourselves from biased personal perceptions.
Wicked human beings are not the rulers of upright neighbors. Let it be understood that success in error is defeat in Truth. The password of divine Science is Scriptural: “Let the wicked abandon their ways and the evil their thoughts.”
To discover our progress, we must learn to what we are attached. What do we acknowledge and obey as power? If divine Love is becoming nearer, dearer, and more real to us, then hate and fear are submitting to Spirit. The goals we pursue and the spirit we manifest reveal our standpoint and show what we are winning.
Nature voices spiritual law and divine Love, but the human mortal mindset misinterprets nature. Arctic regions, sunny tropics, coral reefs, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, flowering deserts, and galaxies—all point to Mind, the spiritual intelligence they reflect. The floral apostles are hieroglyphs of Deity. Quantum mechanics, gravity, and the cosmos teach grand lessons. The stars make night beautiful and the leaf turns naturally toward the light.
Mind is perpetual motion. Its symbol is the sphere. The rotations and revolutions of the universe of Mind go on eternally. In the order of Science, in which Principle is above what it expresses, all is one grand agreement. Change this statement, suppose Mind to be governed by physical forces or assume that Soul is in the body, and we get continual disagreement.
Humanity moves toward good or evil as time passes. If mortals are not progressive, past failures will be repeated until all wrong work is erased or corrected. If there is any satisfaction in wrongdoing, we must learn to loathe it. If we are now content with spiritual idleness, we must become dissatisfied with it. Remember that humankind must sooner or later, either by suffering or by Science, be convinced of the error that is to be overcome.
“The Lord disciplines those he loves.” A person who refuses obedience to God is chastened by Love, and individuals who know and obey God will run up against the hostility of envy.
The effort to unlearn false perceptions includes forfeiting those views completely. Then error will be submissive to Truth. The divine method of becoming responsible for every thought and action involves unwinding our snarls and learning from experience how to divide between the human and the spiritual.
The perfect Mind expresses perfection. God is meaningful Mind.
*Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
** Text from 21st Century Science and Health, 6th edition, copyrighted by Cheryl Petersen.
 Luke 2:49
 Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4 (The Message)
 I John 4:18 (Amplified)
 Dr. Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965) Alsatian theologian, philosopher, organist, physical, and medical missionary.
 Isa. 55:7 (REB)
 Heb. 12:6