“I can of mine own self do nothing:” (John 5: 30 to 1st :)
“Jesus said unto them, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to them that believeth.” (Mark 9: 23).
“Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Matthew 17: 19 & 20).
Everything we individually experience in our daily lives, whatever conditions and situations we accept and live with, depends upon our perception and view of ourselves and the universe.
If we base our beliefs on the conviction that material life is all there is, or mostly all there is, we then place great confidence in the ‘laws’ of matter and easily accept what they measure out to us. We become (to ourselves) helpless victims to the material so-called ‘powers that be’ and resign ourselves to living with whatever good and whatever evil comes our way. With materiality as our basis of belief, it’s difficult to be self-confident about anything. We’re subject to too many external forces upon us and our lives. We often feel quite powerless.
If our own thoughts, however, reach beyond the external, physical scene and touch the metaphysical, or invisible, spiritual realm, we begin to find a different creation, and different laws operating than what we’ve perceived merely by the physical senses. We no longer readily accept external, material forces, or laws, as the truth of things. We sense a greater presence and intelligence with us, along with a higher purpose to our time in this human experience. We begin to separate ourselves from the narrower view that life, law and truth is resident in mindless materiality.
When, individually, this sense of the unseen spiritual realm and its supremacy over material domination dawns on thought, we’ve touched the realm of God; and a seed of confidence begins to grow quietly within us that with God, all good things are possible for us. We begin to feel a love, not of this world, which holds us to be of some vast, great value. We begin to lose our fear of the evils and limitations in our material environment. A better form of self-confidence then peeks its head out of our deeper psyche, because we’ve found the Kingdom of God, the divine truth of all things, and our own place, and value, in it.
Our self-confidence grows as we acknowledge the divine Presence, always with us, and our own conscious kinship and connection to it. Very slowly, our former self-confidence begins to be transformed to a God-confidence, as we recognize more and more our oneness with Almighty Spirit and Its provision of all good to each of us, given to us to enjoy for eternity.
Immanuel, or God-with-us, is then accepted, in growing degrees, as the true Source of bringing whatever and whoever we need into our human experience. Provision for successful living, on this plane and any other, is an eternal part of Spirit’s ever-present provision, or sufficiency, to all Its divine children and creatures.
We begin to perceive the fact that God, Spirit, is our only real Source, our only real Parent, and our only real Life. Matter never brings us anything lasting. All material forms (symbols of spiritual concepts) are temporary. Material substance never lasts.
As we continue to change our perspective from a material to a spiritual basis, we start to prove this spiritual dominion daily, first in small ways, then in more important ways. Through this change in our own beliefs, we are actually calling the spiritual Kingdom of God, and its infinite health, safety and provision into the human (seemingly physical) scene, transforming the material from its myriad evil manifestations back to the good and normal, in the healing which Christ Jesus taught to his followers. Thus, the key to true, enduring self-confidence is really a confidence in God’s presence, love and power with us at all times—a presence and power that works through us and can be expressed from within.
During my teaching career, I was always aware of the importance of self-confidence in students. But self-confidence is built upon each one’s self-image. Even small children have an opinion of themselves. This opinion, (or mentally constructed fleshly identity) would rule their life experience here, in the material dimension. I cared about helping them believe in themselves and to see that they were of great value, and ability, to the whole of creation. (I didn’t use God references or religion. This is a no-no in public schools.)
To the purpose of encouraging positive self images, I would usually enter the first day of a new class and write my name on the board for the students. Under my name, I would also write the words, “I can’t.” Then I would explain to the students that the words ‘I can’t’ were not to be used in our class, ever. Whatever the work or project to be done, they were only to tell themselves, ‘I can.’
“When you say you can’t,” I told them, “you won’t.”
Now, since I began my teaching career with grade school and ended by teaching college, I would clearly draw different reactions from the students, due to their ages. The young children would be quiet, at first, then look at each other, as if to say, “Uh, oh…what does she mean? Am I going to get in trouble?” So, I couldn’t leave it there. I would gently explain that, whatever they wanted to do in life, or become, they must not allow the thought ‘I can’t’ to hold them back. The only difference between themselves and someone who became good at something is practice.
I went on to tell them that each one had infinite abilities and talents within his or her self, no matter what negative things they had accepted about themselves. The truth was, they were each important to the universe. If one of them went missing, the universe would not be complete. (They generally liked that idea.)
I frequently declared, to my students, that one must find the way, through the intelligence within us, to conquer something bad, or do what was needed. So, if they were having trouble in class with something (like arithmetic or spelling) we’d find the way to overcome the problem. Over the school year, I often saw positive up-ticks in the self-confidence of several students (which, as a teacher, was the success I was looking for, even more than their academic success).
Adult students reacted more swiftly and verbally to my ‘I can’t’ rule. They were ‘tougher nuts to crack’ concerning self-confidence, or lack of it, because they’d spent many years solidifying their self images.
The female students who objected would often use the art of ballet or becoming an actress as their illustrations of my error. They would say things like, “Well, telling myself ‘I can” is never going to make me a prima ballerina, I’m too fat!” or “Hollywood never discovered me, so I really can’t become a movie star!”
Adult male students usually responded with a sports figure, such as, “Well, if I had Joe Namath’s talent, I’d be rich by now, not sitting in some classroom!”
Whatever discussions ensued about the ‘I-can’t’ rule, they made the students think about their identity and sometimes face the negativity they were accepting about themselves. These discussions were also invaluable to me as a teacher. Since self-image is so vital to success and failure in life, I wished to see where each one stood on the issue. This early class discussion was revelatory to me, because I’d found that those students with positive self-images didn’t argue with the rule; those with negative self-images almost always did.
So, from this first-day exercise, I would learn which students would more likely need help. The protesters were used to telling themselves ‘I can’t’ do this or that…I’m too dumb, old, overweight, etc. These were the ‘have-nots’ in their own thinking. They were the ones lacking self-confidence, because they didn’t believe there was anything within themselves about which to be confident. These, I recognized, were the ones who would fail things because their own beliefs about themselves would not permit them to succeed. The ‘haves’, on the other hand, were the positive, confident ones and would likely succeed in most things they attempted, without much prompting or need of attention from a teacher.
Also, over the years and outside of a classroom, I perceived two things about the mental ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ I’ve encountered in every-day life:
Self-confidence is vital for lasting success at anything—even spiritual healing. So, those on this spiritual path need to address any lack of self-confidence they may feel. Trying to heal spiritually, while doubting one’s own individual ability to bring about a healing, is an exercise in futility. No human healing will occur while doubt is present in consciousness, because faith and doubt are two mental enemies. They cancel each other out. This is what is termed ‘double-mindedness’; it’s like trying to go North and South at the same time. You will go nowhere.
Jesus once declared, “Verily, verily I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do, shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” (John 14: 12). Notice how impersonal this message is. It’s universal; it applies to anyone and everyone who has faith in the power of Spirit’s (God’s) law over seeming material law. He’s telling us that those who believe in the Christly, or spiritual identity of man (which Jesus came to reveal to humanity) and the presence of God’s kingdom and authority, can heal the ills of the flesh, because fleshly ills never touched the spiritual identity in the first place.
When beliefs in the power of disease in the flesh change to beliefs of spiritual health, the fleshly form changes back to normalcy. Why? Because consciousness is the key to what occurs in the outer world of form—even the physical body. Consciousness controls the body manifestation even when it appears that physical laws are the culprit. As individuals, we didn’t invent the physical laws of disease; we only agree with them, which has the same effect upon us as having inventing them.
For example, the body doesn’t steal anything without the conscious mentality controlling it; an individual’s consciousness tells the hand to take something. No material law forces anyone’s hand to steal, or destroy something. Just so, no material law actually exists in God’s spiritual creation to force disease upon an individual’s fleshly form. It’s the un-perceived consent of the consciousness of that individual which affects the form. (This means we accept worldly beliefs about disease and its power, without realizing we’ve accepted it so thoroughly, that we feel powerless to reject it when the symptoms appear.) We must believe in the power of some material law to attach disease to us, in order to “program” or direct, the body to manifest those symptoms, whenever conditions are thought to be right for the disease to manifest, such as contagion.
Our consciousness is like a computer in that way. A computer program only acts at the direction of the programmer. Our beliefs program future occurrences. That’s why faith was so important to Jesus when healing spiritually. He said to the centurion whose servant needed healing, “…as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.” (Matthew 8: 13).
Close scrutiny of the above statement shows that the Master needed the belief of the individual being healed, in order for the healing to take place ‘in the flesh’. Another biblical account of Jesus’ healing practice shows that without an individual’s faith (belief) in spiritual power to heal, the healing wouldn’t occur. When Jesus went to his own region to heal, this account is given: “And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.” (Matthew 13: 57 & 58). In Matthew 17: 14-20, another illustration of the need for faith (full belief) is given where Jesus’ disciples failed to heal a ‘lunatik’ child, thought to have an evil spirit. (See the familiar mustard-seed quotation, third from top at beginning of article.)
In fact, take consciousness away from the fleshly form we call our body, and this form decays into nothingness. Without the consciousness, and direction of someone’s thought leaning toward health or sickness, the body has no intelligence of its own to direct it.
On this subject of spiritual self-confidence, it’s wise to realize that we must often tear something down to rebuild something greater. For instance, if one has an old house in shambles, it’s best to tear it down to its base and rebuild, or destroy the entire structure and begin anew. This same principle is needed in finding our self-confidence in order to live our daily lives successfully, here in the human condition.
Christ Jesus also addressed the part which self-confidence plays in one’s own belief system and the tear-down. He showed that human self-confidence was to be replaced by our divine self-confidence. His words, “I can of mine own self do nothing,” (John 5: 30) shows the tear-down of the old concept of self. He was showing us that, as a mortal, material identity, separated (in false belief) from God, our Source, we have no abilities, talents, or true intelligence.
But as the Christ, the spiritual son (and daughter) of God, made in the very image of infinite Spirit, we have ALL the abilities, talents, and intelligence that comes to us from God. His heritage from God is our same heritage. We’re all the sons and daughters of God. (Jesus does have one distinction that should be noted: he was the only begotten son; that is, the only individual son of God brought forth with a human mother, but from Spirit, alone, as father—no fleshly male, or sperm, was involved in Mary’s pregnancy.)
To find and realize our true selfhood, as God’s image and likeness, is the key to all good. It is where true self-confidence is born, because it deals with the spiritual truth of being and discards the false sense of material existence. We have infinite abilities within our innate spiritual self, which didn’t come from two physical parents; so we’re not limited to fleshly inheritances or even handicaps. God’s has no imperfect images and likenesses. It only appears so on this material level of thought.
We are all ‘haves’. Self-confidence begins to grow when we find this out. We are so much more than what we humanly appear to be. We have, within us, so much more than what we humanly appear to have. That’s the reason spiritual healing works—because the eternal health, life and intelligence, created in us from God, is forever within us to be called forth, into the human experience. Nothing can stop it, once realized, since it’s the real truth of our being. And the most wonderful thing of all is that we’ve never really been separated from God, our divine Source, at all. We only believed we’d been severed from our divine Source. Our spiritual body, soul and mind are linked to God’s Spirit, Intelligence, and Power, forever.
So, the tearing down is to realize that, as mortals, we have no talents or abilities of our own. Our building up, however, comes from the realization that as God’s own off-spring, we have these things from our infinite Source, which is God. All of us inherit these talents and abilities from our divine, spiritual Mother-Father—far greater talents and greater abilities that we could ever, personally, have. The more this is tested and proven, in daily, practical ways, the more each of us expands our individual views of our own abilities, worthiness, and value to all. Then our self-confidence and God-confidence are united in purpose.