Binding the Strong Man
by Albert F. Gilmore
No other religious teacher has ever used such compelling parables as Jesus did to explain his doctrines. The house built upon the sand, the mustard seed, the unfaithful steward, the fig tree, the sower, the strong man, and many other illustrations, strongly drove home the point. In each instance he was presenting an important metaphysical teaching.
The story of the strong man who was guarding his material possessions, and had to be overcome before he could be despoiled of his goods, contains an important teaching, which is made clear by Christian Science. In discussing this parable in Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy says, “Mortal mind is ‘the strong man,’ which must be held in subjection before its influence upon health and morals can be removed.” She asks this pertinent question: “How can I heal the body, without beginning with so-called mortal mind, which directly controls the body?” In these words, we are shown the necessity of controlling “the strong man,” mortal mind, in order to be free of its afflictions, sin, sickness, and death. Mortal mind claims to be the “strong man,” a very strong man, but this mind is a liar, and its claims to power are not valid. How we can bind this mortal or carnal mind, and be rid of its false beliefs, is the great blessing given to mankind by Christian Science.
Jesus established for all time the powerlessness of this false claim of intelligence, called mortal mind. When we first examine the situation, it seems incredible that a nonentity, a counterfeit, should have been given the power mortal mind claims to possess; but Science proves its nothingness, for all of its claims are destroyed by knowing the all-power of the one Mind, God. Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health: “The exterminator of error is the great truth that God, good, is the only Mind, and that the supposititious opposite of infinite Mind—called devil or evil—is not Mind, is not Truth, but error, without intelligence or reality.”
The way to overcome error is always present, and there is no need for delay. We can begin at once to declare God’s allness, to strive to realize the presence of infinite Life, Truth, and Love; and to the degree that we understand this fact, the “strong man” will weaken and be despoiled immediately of his seeming strength. When this happens, sickness is instantly healed. When thought becomes so flooded with the Truth, which is Christ, to exclude the claims of evil, not only is the “strong man” despoiled of all power, but he is reduced to the state of nothingness which is, indeed, his native state.
The operation of spiritual Truth is instantaneous. “The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword.” (Heb.); and infinite Truth is always present and always available. In order to invoke this mighty power, we must understand this fact. Mrs. Eddy has wisely provided for a step-by-step process, “here a little, and there a little,” by which evil is overcome, and the Christ, Truth, is gained. She assures us that even a grain of spiritual truth will work wonders.
If we complain because of our apparent slowness in learning divine Science, we retard our spiritual progress. The “strong man” is not bound by believing the task to be beyond our capacity to accomplish; but by knowing that ever present good is all-powerful, and as we act in accordance with that knowledge, we will go a long way in despoiling the “strong man”—“of his goods.” Every claim of evil that is overcome through the application of spiritual Truth makes the way easier for all others. We are engaged in this most important of all activities, and its rewards include all that is good: peace, salvation, heaven, eternal Life.