NATIONS and individuals often try to set their priorities by getting a true assessment of conditions, and this is valuable. But sometimes situations are so hopeless that we feel defeated before we even start. At times like these, we need to look beyond this human sense of the way things are to something deeper and more satisfying. This something is, in fact, the realism of God's creation, which Christ Jesus revealed to mankind.
Through his understanding of God, Jesus was able to give people freedom they never knew was possible. He also recognized that this spiritual understanding of truth could free people from the limited perception of reality that would make things appear to be hopeless or that would blind them to ways in which they could experience more freedom in their lives.
For example, John's Gospel tells us, at one point he told his listeners, ``Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They misunderstood his statement and assured him that they had never been in bondage so didn't need to be made free. But by looking purely at the surface situation, they were missing the Master's deeper message of spiritual freedom. Jesus was pointing out that we each individually accept certain limitations into our lives.
Jesus, on the other hand, was presenting a completely different view of man. The Master's ministry was designed to show that man is in fact the offspring of God. And because this is the case, his identity cannot be defined in material terms. The man God created is spiritual, expressing qualities such as intelligence, love, mercy, goodness, purity. Prayer to know that we are in fact this spiritual man, possessing these qualities, will begin to help us set better priorities. Such prayer will give us more h ope for our world, and it will show us how we can work toward freedom from the troubles that beset our nations and our individual lives.
For instance, understanding the spiritual fact that true intelligence comes from God, divine Mind, begins at once to free us from the sad conviction that we are inherently stupid or ignorant and must set our priorities low. Because man is God's idea, is God's beloved creation, expressing intelligence is natural to us. And understanding God as Truth will enable us to overcome anything that would trap us into believing our situation is hopeless. This spiritual perspective is strengthened as we see more cle arly that man reflects Mind, reflects infinite, universal God.
Purity, love, joy, and other spiritual qualities are also essential elements of our being. And a deeper understanding of them-- and the recognition that we can never lose them--will do much to free us from past mistakes that might have given us an untrue picture of who we are. Through prayer and through an active desire to put our lives on a more spiritual basis, we are more receptive to God and His goodness. This begins to free us from the bondage that is common to the carnal mind, or materiality. It al so opens our thought to the larger issues facing our world.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes much of the power of Truth on our lives. In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she says, ``The question, `What is Truth,' convulses the world. Then she goes on to point out, ``Many are ready to meet this inquiry with the assurance which comes of understanding; but more are blinded by their old illusions, and try to `give it pause.'
As we pray for ourselves and for our world, each of us will face this question in our own lives and will need to ask ourselves what is true about our nature and our priorities. And through our willingness to look at the spiritual basis of our lives, we will be able to answer the question with confidence in God.