MY wife chides me each year about this time for indulging in some statistical banter with my son. The two of us are baseball fans, and we have fun trading facts and figures on the various players. ``Men!'' she says. ``They're so into numbers!''
Sports statistics are fairly harmless. But with the web of statistical measurements woven around people these days, it's easy to see how we can sometimes feel prisoners of numbers.
Often, we're inclined to focus on statistics about the body. While this may appear to be a useful thing to do, it's really very limiting. It shuts out the view of identity as the outcome of God. On the other hand, it's indispensable to our well-being to cultivate the true spiritual view of man as dependent on God alone -- the reality of man that has no measure, no statistical bound.
The Bible provides pointed examples of man's unlimited capabilities. For instance, there's David's victory over Goliath.1 When we're reading this story, it's tempting to think, ``Wow! Goliath was big!'' Have you ever wondered, though, whether David checked Goliath's statistics and compared them to his own before deciding to volunteer?
The Bible account implies strongly that David felt no fear, but surely this was because of his conviction of God's love and presence rather than because of any personal capability of his own. Those around may have seen the battle in statistical terms, but David didn't -- he refused even to wear the traditional armor. Evidently, to David, the relevant facts weren't physical size and weight but the spiritual truth of the superiority of good, or God, over evil. As a Bible prophet says, ``Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.''2
Our battles today usually aren't in the form of physical combat. Yet, when we think of the emphasis placed on statistics and health, statistics and ability, statistics and achievement, we can see that Biblical lesson as apropos. To believe that we, as individuals,are locked into these measurements as statistically quantifiable material beings is to neglect a basic Biblical message about God and man.
One theme brought out in the Bible is that God is infinite Spirit -- the sole creator of man. From this it's reasonable to conclude that God creates only that which is spiritual. If man is God's child -- and he is -- then man is spiritual and expresses the goodness and wholeness and boundless perfection of his creator. As Mary Baker Eddy3 writes in the Christian Science textbook, ``Immortal spiritual man alone represents the truth of creation.''4
We can begin to make this absolute reality practical in our lives, even if in small ways. When a question arises about our health or ability or overall well-being, we can find healing as we look to the spiritual model of God and man for the truth rather than to a statistical record, as authoritative as the latter might seem.
Since God is Spirit, there is no physical limit to Him -- He is present everywhere, He is all-powerful, and He knows all. In short, God is infinite. ``Allness is the measure of the infinite,'' says Mrs. Eddy, ``and nothing less can express God.''5
Because our genuine selfhood is the spiritual image of God, this infinite God can be our model when thinking of ourselves, of our prospects and abilities. Of course, it takes a sincere, sustained effort to make the spiritual fact of being a help in our daily lives. But thinking first of God and His nature instead of once again focusing on statistics, can help us rise steadily to our true spiritual potential.
1See I Samuel 17:1-51. 2Zechariah 4:6. 3The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 4Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 263. 5Ibid., p. 336.