THE latest model sports car, a beautiful house in the suburbs, designer clothing -- such things spell success for many people. But when the euphoria from having a new material acquisition has worn off, is it any wonder that people often feel empty about their lives? Materialistic priorities bring a multitude of personal problems. Spiritual priorities are the answer -- the cultivation of a spiritual sense of life that puts God first and so finds genuine, lasting satisfaction. Turning to the allness of God, coming to discern our unity with Him, and putting off the materialistic thinking that opposes His nature promote genuine peace and stability.
Biblical prophets and apostles, who saw what spiritual sense could do for them and others, climbed mentally and sometimes literally to a mountaintop, above the limited, material concerns of their day, and listened solely to God, to the one Mind. The Bible tells us that ``the Lord came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.''1 After this experience Moses came down from the mountain at God's command and gave the people the Ten Commandments.
The prayerful periods that Christ Jesus had, fortified him to teach the marvelous truths he understood and to heal sickness and sin. Echoing the Old Testament teaching, he said: ``The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.''2
With obedience to these commands as our priority, we, too, can mentally retreat from materiality right in the middle of a business break or a crowded classroom or a traffic jam and consider the things that ultimately mean more than anything.We can feel something of God's presence and see more of our own and everyone's true selfhood as the emanation of God, as His spiritual likeness. Such turning to God is more than seeking peace for a moment to help us cope or escape. It involves a deep desire to know Christ, Truth, better and to live in harmony with God. And this inevitably brings health and peace.
During a busy teaching schedule in a junior high school, I went back to college evenings to meet a deadline for an extension of my state certification. This, along with the responsibilities that came with raising three children, plus a lingering problem, made me feel burdened. Although I had all the material things anyone could want, I began to lose my joy. Getting up and making it through another day seemed a grim task. People at work often solicitously asked me if things were better.
One day it occurred to me that I was helping to create my own gloom. I stopped comparing my condition with others' and started to regain my joy.
It wasn't a matter of thinking positively or cracking more jokes or running away on a vacation or just giving up. It was a matter of seeing God, Mind, as the true source of my existence and happiness. God had made man wholly good and perfect, and I had the right to prove something of this spiritual reality through prayer and daily practice.
I made it a practice when I woke in the mornings to think, ``Thank you, God, for giving me life.'' I made moments to sit down and read from the Bible and from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy,3 even if I only had time to consider a few lines. Instead of coffee breaks, I would take more thoughtful breaks. I would thank God for my being able to be truthful, loving, thoughtful, and law-abiding, for being able to reflect His nature.
This passage in Science and Health really stood out to me: ``If we concede the same reality to discord as to harmony, discord has as lasting a claim upon us as has harmony.''4
Gradually my life improved, and I was truly joyful. And I was able to impart genuine buoyancy and encouragement when I would see others downcast.
Spirituality is the best thing in life. It affirms man's unity with God. This solid, eternal relationship of man to God can never be severed, and it's the only basis for genuine satisfaction.
1Exodus 19:20. 2Mark 12:29-31. 3The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 4Science and Health, p. 186.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: To be spiritually minded is life and peace. Romans 8:6