The attainment of spiritual understanding, with the accompanying power to demonstrate harmony which comes to those who gladly surrender worldly attractions for higher interests, is a subject frequently commented upon in the Old Testament. The entire teaching of Moses may be said to be based upon this important question; for he was continually picturing to the wavering Israelites the blessings which would be theirs if they renounced self-will and fleshly impulses, and lived in accordance with the spiritual demands revealed to him for their guidance. Little by little he led them into the realization that health, harmony, plentiful supply, in fact, all that stood for progress and contentment was dependent upon their obedience to a high ideal of living and the consistent practice of its requirements. This thought, running like a melodious theme through the many historical episodes, prayers, and prophecies of the Old Testament, is later accentuated with increased emphasis by Jesus and his students in the parables and instruction of the New Testament, and is found to reach its climax of inspired interpretation in the teachings of Christian Science.
To the thought untrained in scientific Christianity, however, this inflexible dependence of spiritual gain upon worldly loss appears paradoxical and ambiguous; for since mankind has been led to believe that happiness exists in material possessions and personal attachments, the prospect of relinquishing any of these for what seem the intangible verities of Spirit appears by no means a joyous one. Until our mental grasp begins to relax its hold "on things on the earth" and to place its "affection on things above," we are unprepared to appreciate the enriching experience which comes with leaving all to follow Christ. We learn in Christian Science that all we ever can give up is a material point of view; and this may not always be an instantaneous or complete renunciation, but often appears as a progressive capacity to "die daily," as Paul expressed it. Through victory over erroneous beliefs, earnest endeavor to manifest love, wisdom, and purity of motive in our relations with others, and zealous improvement of our time in acquiring a deeper, more practical knowledge of God, we, instinctively as it were, lose our sense of worldliness, earthliness, and gain, through having faithfully earned it, the true inspiration which expresses itself in clarity of spiritual perception, mental poise, and implicit confidence in good.
Jesus the Christ patiently directed the thoughts of those with whom he came in contact away from their false gods—their educated beliefs of life, substance, and intelligence in matter, and their inclination to personalize good and evil—to the contemplation of the luminous fact that God is man's life and sustains him eternally, forever expressing in man the divine character and potency. Those who are receptive to this spiritual idea are losing a corporeal sense of existence and gaining something of the real heavenly riches,—the knowledge of God and the truth about His creation, which is indeed all.