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The world we truly live in

From the November 2017 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Some things work. Others don’t. Sadly, accepting deficiencies, flaws, and failures seems to be a part of life, right?

Perhaps not. Christ Jesus taught and demonstrated quite the opposite. He stilled and calmly walked over the boisterous waves that frightened hardened fishermen and disrupted commerce. He consistently and quickly removed diseases and iniquities that were destroying bodies, careers, and families. And Christian Science, the Science behind Jesus’ words and works, reveals that the inharmony we may be tempted to resign ourselves to doesn’t actually need to be part of our experience, either.

Jesus was the master of revealing spiritual reality to those stuck in a limited, material mind-set. And if we are to progress in finding the order and right activity that Jesus demonstrated as present and possible, it’s important to understand that the spiritual world is actually the only real one. 

What is this “spiritual world”?

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, found that it wasn’t a material world but a material sense of the world that caused inharmony, inadequacies, and missteps. She wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “The world of error is ignorant of the world of Truth,—blind to the reality of man’s existence,—for the world of sensation is not cognizant of life in Soul, not in body” (p. 13).

As we learn of God’s harmonious divine world, we might assume that there are two worlds, a trouble-filled human one where we seem to live, and a perfect spiritual one hidden from us. Also, we might rebel at the thought of anyone or anything being perfect. The word perfect may remind us of human perfectionism or self-righteousness. However, reality, including our own spiritual identity, is based not on a material sense of what something “perfect” might be, but on the goodness and harmony reflected from God. Because God, our divine Life, is infinite, there is room for only one creation: God’s. This spiritual universe expresses God’s constancy and care. And the Bible’s book of Acts tells us where we undoubtedly reside: “In him we live, and move, and have our being” (17:28).

The frustrations of materiality can find no place in the divine world in which we truly exist and are spiritual, and where everything functions harmoniously. Therefore, as our thought yields to God, we begin to let go of limited, material beliefs that pain and restrict our experience. We find that the fear and uncertainty that may have seemed to govern us are defining us or belonging to us less and less. As God’s spiritual expressions living in God’s spiritual world, we don’t deserve them and can never truly own them.

All of God’s wonderful qualities are here for us to express, right now.

The better we understand this, the greater our opportunities to act precisely and accomplish more. We can begin to pattern, in some degree, Jesus’ boundless demonstrations of God’s authority and power. We read in the book of John: “There are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (21:25). The seeming broken, material world is always subordinate to the spiritual understanding that shows us that God and His creation is all there truly is. Order, wisdom, precision, right action, and all of God’s wonderful qualities are here for us to express, right now.

As our spiritual understanding increases, we become more confident that we live in the spiritual realm—the realm of the real—where everything works. And the more we think and act in line with this spiritual truth, the more we can correct the things in our daily lives that seem to suggest otherwise. Of course, this doesn’t involve making a reality out of a seemingly faulty and material and cruel world. It involves glimpsing and demonstrating the reality of the spiritual, perfect world that has never known anything out of balance, broken, corrupt, unreliable, or ill.

Many years ago, I worked as a telephone operator for six months. On one of my first days, an experienced operator asked if I’d started getting headaches yet. I thought that was an odd question. But not too long after, I began to get headaches every day on the job. This is when I found out that accepting something untrue about God’s children is like walking in shoes two sizes too small. Trying to stuff something big—such as our infinite capacity for joy and harmony—into something small—such as a limited, material sense of reality—eventually becomes painful.

I realized that my attitude toward the people calling in for assistance had changed. At first, serving each caller had been a joy. But I had begun to view each caller as a jerk—impatient, unloving, and unintelligent. My thoughts of others needed an overhaul.

Searching for some direction, I picked up the Bible. I opened it randomly to a statement in the book of Isaiah. It said, “I will make a man more precious than fine gold” (13:12).

The word precious made me think of how precious we are as God’s spiritual self-expression. But a closer look at the entire verse indicated to me that this sentence could actually refer to a mistaken, material sense of identity—to making a man scarcer than fine gold because of his propensity for wickedness. This helped me see that the notion that any of us could be unlike the reflection of God, good, should be scarcer in my thought. God could not make or know beings that are sometimes good but often rude, irritated, or ill. Therefore, I reasoned, if the materialistic and mortal thought of us should be “scarcer than fine gold,” shouldn’t I start seeing everyone—including myself—as immortal spiritual ideas of God?

As an operator, I would touch a button to bring each call to my position. And each time I was about to touch the button, I would acknowledge that the person I was about to meet was precious to God and spiritual, and because of this had the innate ability to be consistently wise, a joy to serve, and healthy. This spiritual shift in my thought brought the needed correction. I began to feel genuine love for each person I helped. I had glimpsed that God and God’s care and precision are all there is to the spiritual world we truly live in.

In no time at all, the joy that I had first felt while on the job returned, and the headaches quickly stopped. Additionally, in the next two months I was awarded for being the fastest and most accurate operator. 

We must be careful not to agree with a notion that nothing can be done to make anything better for humanity. Yet if we do find ourselves believing that nothing can be done, or resignedly declaring, “What’s the point?” there is help. The Christ—God’s healing message, the Spirit that Jesus totally expressed—is with us now and is ever active, helping us understand what is spiritually true. Christ reaches all the corners of thought and never leaves anything that does not measure up to God’s divine standard.

You and I, at times, may seem to feel afraid of our own shadows. Perhaps something important to us is not working out, and we are tempted to accept that we are saddled with deficiencies, flaws, and failures. Yet, we can remember that Jesus taught and demonstrated quite the opposite. We can begin to identify ourselves correctly as spiritual, confident representatives of God. 

Because God’s representatives express God’s qualities, we can refuse to accept as legitimate anything less than harmony in life. With authority, we can mentally insist that we live in the divine world, where God’s beauty and grace are forever seen and expected; a world where the order and intelligence of God are always being expressed; a world where God’s love is the law of life. We live in the one true universe—the spiritual world, where everything works, and is harmonious and whole. Let’s rejoice that this can be evidenced in our everyday lives.

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