A Christian Science perspective: We are free to progress and develop spiritually.
Has focusing on a problem ever hindered your progress? Perhaps you felt stuck or bound with fear, not knowing which way to turn. When we focus on the obstacles in front of us, we often become fearful instead of liberated – unable to find solutions to our problems.
The study of Christian Science shows that ridding ourselves of fear enables us to progress in the right direction. Turning our thought away from fear and toward the infinite good that constitutes reality, we make steps toward happiness, health, harmonious relationships, and more. In my experience, this kind of assurance comes from enlarging my understanding of the nature of the one infinite God and of God’s boundless universe – a universe that is spiritual and expresses Him. Such understanding gives us the freedom to progress and develop spiritually.
In her book, “Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” Mary Baker Eddy shows us the tangibility of progress when she writes that “Infinite progression is concrete being, which finite mortals see and comprehend only as abstract glory” (p. 82). Coming to know God as divine Love, all-knowing Mind, and eternal Truth allows us to drop a finite sense of life and to learn that we are made to express God’s goodness. Understanding our relationship to God as His image and likeness enables us to see that because God is infinite and eternal, we, too, are unconstrained by anything that might seem to stand in the way of progress and harmony.
It’s important to realize that we don’t ignore problems; instead, we overcome them through a higher understanding of the nature of God, divine Love – the source of all truth. This uplifted understanding comes through prayer that sets aside the merely material sense of ourselves as faulty, limited mortals who are separate from God and reaches out to gain a truer view of ourselves as the offspring of God, the object of His love. This truer view comes to us through the Christ. Mrs. Eddy describes Christ this way: “Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 332). Christ comes to our waiting thought as we prayerfully turn thought to God – infinite Spirit – understanding and acknowledging divine Spirit as the source of all goodness, opportunity, health, and harmony, rather than letting the limitations of materiality define us or our prospects.
Christ Jesus certainly taught the benefits of keeping thought looking to Spirit. He once observed: “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness” (Matthew 6: 22, 23). When faced with someone blinded by grief, poverty, immorality, disease, or physical problems, Jesus didn’t ignore the human condition. He was so clear about man’s real relationship to God that he was able to help others lift their thought above such impositions to see the ever-operative Christ, and gain in some degree the liberating consciousness of their inseparability from the divine Principle, God. Through Jesus’ own Christ-imbued, divine consciousness, all kinds of healing followed: storms were quieted, multitudes were fed, sinners were purified, and both young and old were restored to health and life.
Taking stock of the obstacles we might encounter or the weaknesses we might pin on ourselves or another, can feel terrifying. But these are the times when we can follow the admonition in the Bible: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (II Corinthians 10: 5, New International Version). Acknowledging God’s presence – wisdom, grace, and, most important, love – allows us to take possession of our thoughts and bring them into obedience to Christ. Be willing to follow in the path God has laid before us. It holds the only promise that we’ll be sure-footed. When faced with challenges – whether they are related to health, finances, or relationships – we can and must view ourselves and others from the one real, spiritual standpoint, by recognizing the qualities of God that constitute true being. This understanding holds the key to a true sense of freedom, right here and now.