"God is the strength in which I trust."
Longer: 4 (more urged) for 5 minutes (longer urged)
- Close eyes and repeat idea.
- Search your mind for situations associated with fear. Dismiss each one, saying: "God is the strength in which I trust."
- After a minute or two, try to slip past concerns caused by your perceived inadequacy. Let go the trivial thoughts on the surface of your mind and try to reach down and below them to a place of safety, of peace, where God's strength abides. You will recognize reaching this place by a sense of deep peace, however brief.
Shorter: often. Repeat idea.
Response To Temptation: Answer any disturbance with idea, remembering that peace is yours because you trust in God's strength.
It is reported in the Gospel of John that Jesus said, "The Son can do nothing of himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing....I can do nothing on my own initiative, as I hear, I judge" (John 5:19, 30). Basically that is what this lesson is telling us: We cannot do anything by ourselves. When the lesson speaks of "trusting in your own strength" (1:1) it is talking about attempting to do anything by ourselves, as an independent unit, separate from God and His creation. It is talking about operating as an ego. The lesson is saying that it is simply impossible.
Another example from the Gospel of John may help. Towards the end of his time on earth, Jesus compared himself to a vine, and his disciples to branches in the vine. He was speaking, I believe, from the perspective of the Christ; or perhaps it would be better to say the Christ was speaking through the man, Jesus. He said: "As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me....apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:4, 5).
Think about it. Where does the vine leave off and the branch begin? The branch is part of the vine. That is its whole existence. It cannot operate independently; it cannot "bear fruit" if it is cut off from the vine.
We are parts or aspects of the Sonship, and the Son is one with the Father. "What [God] creates is not apart from Him, and nowhere does the Father end, the Son begin as something separate from Him" (W-pI.132.12:4). Sounds a lot like a vine and its branches, doesn't it?
When we try to operate independently we can do nothing. As we normally think of ourselves, what is there we can wholly predict and control? How can we "be aware of all the facets of any problem" and "resolve them in such a way that only good can come of it?" (1:3) Left to ourselves, left to the limited resources of the self as the ego sees it, cut off from everything, we simply cannot do it. We don't have what it takes. "If you are trusting in your own strength, you have every reason to be apprehensive, anxious and fearful" (1:1).
The lesson is asking us to recognize that we are not limited to "our own" strength; "God is the strength in which I trust." It is asking us to operate based on our union with God. From where we are at the start of things, it is going to seem as if we are dealing with some kind of external God, a "Voice" that speaks within our minds or operates in circumstances to guide us.
"Since you believe that you are separate, Heaven presents itself to you as separate, too. Not that it is in truth, but that the link [the Holy Spirit] that has been given you to join the truth may reach to you through what you understand" (T-25.I.5:1, 2).
So it may seem as if we are being asked to "submit" to a superior force, when in fact all we are doing is aligning ourselves with all the rest of our own being, from which we have dissociated ourselves. The Holy Spirit speaks for us, as well as for God, for we are One. (See T-11.1.11:1; T-30.II.1:1,2; W-pI.125.8:1; W-pI.152.12:2)
When we realize we cannot live on our own--when we accept our dependence on this Higher Power--God becomes our strength and our safety in every circumstance. His Voice tells us "exactly what to do to call upon His strength and His protection" (3:2).
When we fear, in any degree, we must obviously be trusting in our own independent strength, which is non-existant. Simply feeling inadequate for something is a form of fear arising from thinking I am on my own. "Who can put his faith in weakness and feel safe?" (2:3) So when fear arises, let me simply remind myself that I do not trust in my own strength, but God's. That reality can pull me up from fear to a place of deep, abiding peace.
To recognize our weakness as independent beings is a necessary beginning (6:1). If we deceive ourselves into believing we can handle everything on our own, without God, without our brothers and sisters, we will crash and burn eventually. But that recognition is not the point at which to stop; we must go beyond that to realize that we have the strength of God, and that confidence in that strength "is fully justified in every respect and in all circumstances" (6:2).
Nearly every time I meditate I repeat, silently or aloud, the words that come near the end of this lesson:
"There is a place in you where there is perfect peace. There is a place in you where nothing is impossible. There is a place in you where the strength of God abides" (7:4-6).
Let us, today, pause frequently to reach down below "all the trivial things that churn and bubble on the surface of [our] mind" (7:3), to find that place.
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