Progress--a possibility now
SOMETIMES it's difficult to see just how we can move forward. Yet we always can, at least in some way. For example, there's a kind of progress that we may have overlooked but that can be achieved now. And it's at the heart of all genuine forward movement: moral and spiritual growth. This may seem irrelevant to someone struggling with a physical handicap, with shortages, or with a confining relationship. It may seem abstract to someone whose way of life is restricted by discrimination or repressive government. Yet the battle with every form of limitation must ultimately be fought within our own consciousness. ``Work out your own salvation . . . ,'' the Apostle Paul wrote. ``For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.'' 1 And the master Christian, Christ Jesus, taught, ``The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.'' 2
This is not to suggest that cruel limitations are acceptable or that we're always personally at fault if better circumstances are slow in coming. All evil is illegitimate, and we have a right to be free from it. Yet whatever our situation, and to whatever extent we feel like helpless victims, at some point we need to resolve to trust the one God. We need to decide to let go feelings of hopelessness, move forward spiritually, and thereby experience progress in the areas where it seems lacking.
Either there is a God, a supreme creator who loves and cares for us, or there isn't. If there isn't, then our very life is at the mercy of blind physical forces. Yet our intuition, our deepest feelings, tell us of divine justice and of an intelligent divine order that must prevail. They tell us that God must be supreme if creation is to be sustained; that good, not evil, is right and real; that man, as God's offspring, is free, not imprisoned.
It's in turning to God and worshiping Him alone that we find our salvation. This is what Jesus illustrated through his healing works. It's what he showed beyond question through his resurrection and ascension. To worship the one Spirit more and more each day is to progress each day. We do this as we're less preoccupied with physicality and worldly values and more concerned with man's eternal, spiritual existence. We do it as love for God and man replaces fear, resentment, or whatever aspect of materialistic thinking would enslave us. And God is working in us, originating and supporting every pure, God-centered thought.
``The purification of sense and self is a proof of progress,'' writes Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. `` `Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.' '' 3 And elsewhere she says: ``To ascertain our progress, we must learn where our affections are placed and whom we acknowledge and obey as God. . . . The objects we pursue and the spirit we manifest reveal our standpoint, and show what we are winning.'' 4
Moving forward spiritually, we move forward in other ways. Why? Because we're bringing our lives into harmony with divine law, which removes obstructions to progress. We're working out our individual salvation, and the mighty power of God is working in us, opening the way.
1 Philippians 2:12, 13. 2 Luke 17:20, 21. 3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 324. 4 Ibid., p. 239.