How I Used Truth - Lesson 7 - Annotation 10
Explain the meaning of the Scripture (text, page 79) : "To this end was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil [evil]" (I John 3:8).
10. The word devil is used to symbolize what man terms evil in all its forms (How I Used Truth 79). In other words, devil stands for all in man's consciousness that is adverse to the perfect will or plan of God, the good. We read in The Revealing Word 54:
"The 'devil' is a state of consciousness adverse to the divine good. . . . There is no personal devil. God is the one omnipresent Principle of the universe, and there is no room for any principle of evil, personified or otherwise."
The "works of the devil" as mentioned in this question are all the undesirable conditions that have resulted from the unrighteous use of the power of thinking. The "works of the devil" are the things or conditions that we term evil, for these bring pain, suffering, death, unhappiness into our world. The primary cause of our wrong use of the formative power of thought is our unawareness of our true heritage as sons of God. (See Lessons in Truth Lesson 1 Annotation 1.) In this unenlightened attitude of mind we do not have a true premise upon which to base our thinking. Therefore, our thinking centers on appearances, and especially on limited conditions. It follows that conclusions are drawn from a false premise rather than from the Truth.
To manifest means "to bring forth," so that a thing or situation is recognized by any or all of the five senses. Our true nature as sons of God has to be manifested. That is, our true nature must come forth in our thinking, feeling, speaking, acting, and reacting in order to effect a change in the limited conditions ("works of the devil") in our life.
"Son of God -- The fullness of the perfect-man idea in Divine Mind, the Christ. The true spiritual self of every individual. The living Word; the Christ idea in the Mind of God" (The Revealing Word l8l).
Jesus Christ, our Elder Brother, recognized Himself as the Son of God. Through this recognition He fulfilled, in actual experience, ' the perfect God idea of man. Jesus showed us how to redeem all the false formations of mind ("works of the devil") that have come forth in body and affairs through misconception and wrong use of our mental powers. In one sense, there is never any actual destruction ("destroy the works of the devil"). It is, rather, a reversal of our wrong thinking to right thinking. Paul instructs,
Only thus can we be transformed in every phase of our experience. Knowing the truth of our relationship to God, we allow the process of denial to cleanse our consciousness of all limiting thoughts and beliefs not true of the Son of God. Through affirmation of Truth we begin to manifest the nature of the Son and "prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God" in our mind, body and affairs. If we are centered in Truth the "destroying" of "the works of the devil" (error beliefs and conditions) is not a struggle or a difficult process. It is the gentle erasing of that which does not belong in the life of a child of God. The wisdom of gently cleansing the consciousness is emphasized by Charles Fillmore when he says:
"A denial is a relinquishment, and it should not be made with too much vehemence. Let us make our denials as though we were gently sweeping away cobwebs, and our affirmations in a strong, bold, positive attitude of mind" (The Revealing Word 53).
Reaching the place in consciousness where we know and apply the Truth may require a great deal of mental effort and self-discipline, much prayer, and obedience to spiritual guidance. It is not an effort for the student to erase his wrong figures, if he knows the principle he is working with. However, until he does know the principle, and how to work with its rules, he may find it difficult to reach the right answer. Once he understands the principle, the erasure is a simple matter. Each of us must assume the responsibility for the dominion God has given him as His son, in order to erase or "destroy the works of the devil."
Claiming our sonship and our dominion is an individual work. Once this is accomplished in consciousness, the change begins in our own life and radiates into the whole earth. That is why we need to affirm constantly,
"You have a spirit in you! It will meet
Whatever comes to pass and climb up higher;
God's Spirit that will take life as it is
And shape it into something nearer His!
A spirit that will fire
Your heart and mind with faith, direct your feet,
Steady your hands, and lift your eyes to see
The certain vision of the victory'.
--James Dillet Freeman: Best-Loved Unity Poems.
Preceding Entry: What is meant by "the Godhead"?
Following Entry: What is meant by the statement, "holding to the Truth"?