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Genuine contentment

Is it right to be content? What should we be content about? At what point should we be content? The answers will vary according to our individual standpoint. In the very deepest sense, though, we can find definite answers - universally true answers that come to light in the teachings of Christianity. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded the Science of Christ, or Christian Science, makes this clear-cut statement on the subject of true contentment, true satisfaction: ''All men shall be satisfied when they 'awake in His likeness,' and they never should be until then.'' n1

n1 Miscellaneous Writings, p. 358.

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The teachings of Christian Science show us that genuine, lasting contentment can only be the outcome of a better understanding of our true selfhood, made in the very likeness of God, and of our unbreak-able relationship to God. This is because Deity alone is the source of genuine good, of enduring satisfaction. Certainly we should never be content with sin, which must ultimately punish itself.

Christianity challenges the whole concept that life is essentially material. Jesus stated plainly that God is Spirit, and he demonstrated the great fact that God is Love, the creator of good not evil, of spiritual perfection not physical imperfection. The Master's clear understanding of the nature of God has shed new light on the nature and character of man.

As Jesus proved through his healing works, man, in God's likeness, cannot possibly be material, destructible. He is spiritual and wholly good, reflecting only the spirituality and absolute goodness of his Maker. Though the physical senses insist otherwise, matter is not man's creator. Spirit is. Only as we understand and begin to prove that man is not material, mortal, vulnerable, but is spiritual and eternally blessed, can we find true contentment.

But how can we do this? How can we find contentment if we're discontented?

A Bible illustration gives us a guideline. It's Jesus' well-known parable of the prodigal son.

The parable tells of a young man, the younger of two sons, who asked his father for his share of the father's estate. He then spent his inheritance foolishly in a distant land. With his wealth gone, a famine in the land, and a degrading job, he finally ''came to himself.'' In humility he returned to his father's house prepared to accept a lesser place in the household. But he was met with love, and restored fully to his place as a dearly loved son. n2

n2 See Luke 15:11-32.

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Like many other people, the prodigal son hoped to find satisfaction in a carefree, material sense of life, but he didn't find it there. His suffering made him rethink his actions, come face to face with his position. He started to think and act more wisely - more contentedly.

What of us? Do we have to go through the same kind of suffering the prodigal experienced?

Not necessarily.

If we're dissatisfied and realize what our turbulent state of thinking is doing to our lives and the lives of those around us, we can calm our troubled sense by quietly realizing our inseparable unity with divine Love. We are never really cut off from good - from our true, spiritual relationship to God. But we have to prove this through prayer and through conforming our lives to the moral standard found in the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount.

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures Mrs. Eddy writes, ''In the quiet sanctuary of earnest longings, we must deny sin and plead God's allness.'' n3 Through prayer we can calm our thought, reject evil as illegitimate, and turn our attention to the spiritual reality of being. Doing so, we'll begin to know God better. And with a clearer understanding of God's nature we can increasingly appreciate our own true nature as the children of God. In the allness of God there is no unsatisfied yearning.

n3 Science and Health, p. 15

We are not, in truth, homeless mortals struggling to find satisfaction in matter. We are already at home in the everpresent love of God. We are the likeness of God now. Through the perception and living of this spiritual truth, we can be genuinely content. DAILY BIBLE VERSE This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. I Corinthians 15:53

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