Marathons and Christianity
Certainly no one has ever won the Boston Marathon, the internationally famous race being run today, without giving all his strength and concentration to the job. And no one has ever become a real Christian without similarly total dedication.
Success in Christliness isn't dependent on speed but on faithfulness and consistency. And the benefits of such dedication form an endless list of blessings, such as inner peace, courage to face challenges, and wisdom in making decisions.
We don't need to expect the path to Christliness to be a laboriously slow one , however. In the Bible, when the patriarch Jacob called together his twelve sons to bless them, he described each in a unique way. Of his son Gad he said, "A troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last." n1 Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, spiritually defines "Gad" this way: "Science; spiritual being understood; haste towards harmony." n2
n1 Genesis 49:19;
n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 586
To the extent that we are following Christ Jesus in proving man's indestructible, God-reflecting being through the healing of sickness and sin, we are hastening the day when a true knowledge of God will enrich the lives of all mankind.
To win a marathon, a runner needs to attain dominion over physical limitations that would inhibit his or her ability and strength. Likewise, a Christian disciple needs to attain freedom from mental limitations (apathy, sensuality, deceitfulness). A sincere desire to understand the words and works of the master Christian and a willingness to follow his example lead us in the path of spiritual progress.
The natural result of consistent dedication to spiritual values is the overcoming of material mindedness. As this is accomplished -- through earnest daily Bible study and communion with God as well as Christian practice -- we are fed with fresh inspiration. And the joy and satisfaction that come from being animated by good give us the motivation to persist in our discipleship.
Not long ago the pattern of my life changed considerably. Our only child married. My mother, who had been ill and required much of my attention, passed away. Then my husband and I relocated after finding new employment, and we rented our dearly loved house to the newlyweds. This meant giving up our home in a quiet, country neighborhood and leaving friends and familiar surroundings. For me it also meant returning to full-time office work after a twenty-year absence.
Had it not been for my dedication to Christian discipleship, daily Bible study, and prayer, I might have been overwhelmed by these experiences. Instead, by trusting that the control of God is all-inclusive, I was able to see the power of divine Love operating and blessing all concerned. My true relation to God and that of my loved ones was uninterrupted. As the immortal reflection of God, man does not move fitfully through mortal changes but expresses the constant love of his Father. I felt confident that as I lived this love there could be no losers.
Perhaps there are obstacles in the way of your "haste towards harmony." But no matter how obstinate or appealing or frightening they appear to be, you need not be discouraged. The only power and obstacle has is to test our faith. And our fidelity strengthens in us a firm resolve to progress daily, through good words and works.
Mrs. Eddy encourages us to press on to achieve a more constant awareness of God's goodness. "If the disciple is advancing spiritually," she says, "he is striving to enter in. He constantly turns away from material sense, and looks towards the imperishable things of Spirit. If honest, he will be in earnest from the start, and gain a little each day in the right direction, till at last he finishes his course with joy." n3
n3 ibid.,m p. 21
Go forward, and whether slow or fast, you will be able to prove this truth: that every man, woman, and child is truly God's offspring, expressing health, happiness, fulfillment, and dominion from Him. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. Hebrews 12:1, 2