by Frances Harris
Every sincere Christian wants above everything else to be worthy of the “Well done” bestowed by Jesus upon the faithful servant. This reward comes only as the result of consistent alertness; alertness, both to the powerlessness of evil, and to the all power of good. True alertness demands that we immediately detect evil’s claims to power, and instantly act to deny them even a momentary influence. This type of watchfulness is the result, not of fear but of wisdom.
When David kept watch over his flocks, he was quick to detect the bear and the lion that would molest his sheep. If he had failed to notice them, their aggressiveness would have destroyed the flock. But because he was alert, he was able to go out and destroy them.
When nasty phases of disease and evil appear in our lives, we need to be awake to recognize them as phantoms of fear, and overcome them by perceiving their dishonest, lying nature. We must refuse to accept them as truth. The more quickly we detect and reject them as unlawful and powerless, the more health and peace we will have in our lives.
It’s not only the obvious foe that we need to watch, but especially the slinking, insidious evil that creeps, trying to slide unnoticed into our thinking. One such enemy is self-pity, accompanied by envy, fear, self-righteousness, pride, and criticism. To protect ourselves against these subtle enemies, we need to watch our thinking so that no evil suggestions enter our consciousness. Self-pity frequently tries to appear as humility, and self-righteousness, or to pose as superior intelligence. But to the alert thinker, forever conscious that God is the only Mind, and that man is God’s exact likeness, such wolves in sheep’s clothing can’t gain entrance.
In the first chapter of Genesis man was given dominion over every creeping thing; therefore, we have the right to rule out of our experience not only the obvious errors, but stealthy enemies such as old age, decrepitude, discontent, and hereditary weakness. As we become more alert, we will reject these errors, before they assume frightening forms.
To be vigilant doesn’t mean to fear evil. Jesus called the devil “a liar, and the father of it;” and over and over in Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy says that evil is not a person, place, or thing, but merely a false belief. Therefore we see that false belief isn’t to be feared, but to be recognized for what it is, nothingness. To know a lie is a lie, renders it powerless. We can destroy each phase of evil by knowing the omnipotence of God.
Mrs. Eddy writes in the Preface to Science and Health, “The wakeful shepherd beholds the first faint morning beams, ere cometh the full radiance of a risen day.” It’s “the wakeful shepherd,” the alert worker, who beholds the first signs of day. And, having overcome each fear that the night has brought, he joyfully awaits the light which will reveal even greener pastures and clearer, more peaceful waters!
So in spite of any seeming darkness, we can lean on God and gratefully accept the first signs that the veil of sickness, sin, or lack is melting away. And as we learn to be more patient, tender, and alert, we will find our right thinking outshining and destroying the darkness of fear and limitation. Thus, through our victories, we will enter into the joy which is the reward of the faithful.