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Spiritual Progress-Today and Tomorrow

HAVE you ever found yourself wanting to know the future? If so, join the club--it's a feeling shared by many. Of course, we can never know precisely what's in the future in terms of specific events and times and places. But by discovering who we are now, as someone capable and worthy in God's sight, we can find release from anxiety about the future. And--in greater and greater degrees--we can shape and control what happens to us.

The key to this spiritual progress, of course, lies in the effort we invest in learning of God as He is and of the man He creates and constantly renews. God doesn't change. He doesn't mature or decline, get better or worse. Why? Isn't it because He is the beginning point of everything? He is the creator. The book of Isaiah in the Bible calls God ``the Creator of the ends of the earth'' (40:28). God is infinite and eternal Spirit, who has nothing to do with time.

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The understanding of God as time-less, eternal Truth--``the rock of our salvation''--provides a true and reliable frame of reference for all else. It is important, though, to include ourselves on this rock, rather than thinking of ourselves as pitching to and fro in the ``sea'' of worry and helplessness. After all, we are His children. When Psalms says of God ``A thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past'' (90:4), isn't this an indication that time is no part of God or of all that He is and does? Because His creation must be like Him, time and finity can be no part of God's provision for man, either. God simply couldn't be timeless, eternal Spirit and make His beloved man--make us--as material, time-bound mortals. This spiritual view of man can set the stage for a happy, progressive experience now. The ``now'' unfolding from God-centered being becomes more active, more intelligent, more far-reaching, for us as we learn more of God's goodness. This paves the way for an even better future.

And there is more. In addition to being eternal Spirit, God is also Love. And this divine Love is incomparable and beyond all else in its scope and power. The Founder of the Christian Science Church, Mary Baker Eddy, points out for us in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures how spiritual progress stems from an understanding faith in divine Love. She writes: ``One kind of faith trusts one's welfare to others. Another kind of faith understands divine Love and how to work out one's `own salvation with fear and trembling.' `Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief!' expresses the helplessness of a blind faith; whereas the injunction `Believe...and thou shalt be saved!' demands self-reliant trustworthiness, which includes spiritual understanding and confides all to God'' (p. 23).

We need that understanding faith that ``confides all to God''-- giving over our deepest hopes to Him and His love for us! Inspired by a new vision of Him and of our worth in His sight, we can find new trust in divine Love and begin to work out our own future in a way that cannot fail.

This future may well include facing up to self-defeating habits of thinking that hide the presence of God and His goodness from us. Just standing up to them helps us to know and feel the power of God's presence now, right where we are.

When we are growing spiritually within ourselves; when we are finding happiness in who we are and what we're doing, we lose our fear of the future. We know what tomorrow will bring because we know God's goodness so well today. A bright future grows naturally from a bright, God-centered present.

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