Frequently one hears of individuals who make meteoric rises to the top of a profession, then vanish into oblivion. Must success turn to failure or excellence yield to decline? What is the basis for continual growth and accomplishment?
The Bible tells us, ''Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.'' n1 It also reminds us that ''pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.'' n2
n1 Luke 14:11.
n2 Proverbs 16:18
Humility and unselfed love are essential for genuine success. These God-derived qualities provide the foundation for true progress. Personal pride and selfish ambition, on the other hand, lead one astray. Such traits sooner or later become stumbling blocks.
In truth, man can do nothing on his own; God, divine Mind, is the only real creator and doer. All wisdom, power, and strength are derived from the Father. Forgetting Him, one inevitably falters or fails.
The belief that one is self-made and has a matter-based mind ends in defeat, for matter, by its very nature, is finite. It is never a strong foundation upon which to build. Only as one turns from matter to Spirit, to the one infinite, all-wise Mind, does one find a truly solid platform for advancement.
When we come to understand that God and man are inseparable as Mind and its reflection, we gain a more expansive and permanent sense of being. Because God is immortal, His expression, man, is immortal - without beginning or end, and without limitation of any kind. If we claim no selfhood apart from the Father, growth and accomplishment are inevitable. The recognition that man is not, in reality, a limited mortal, but the immortal expression of God's being, enhances our abilities.
Man's destiny is limitless being. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ''God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis.'' n3 F
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 258.
Stagnation and frustration are no part of God's plan for His creation. He expresses Himself in eternal freshness; His ideas are always progressive and fruitful.
And all of God's children shine. Each is indispensable to God's complete expression of Himself, so not one, in reality, is in competition with another. Not one can overshadow or replace another. And not one is ever snuffed out.
Fear of competition or failure need not trip us up. A spiritual perception of being can bring joy to all that we do. It can uplift and purify our motives so that we're not working to promote self, at the expense of others, but to glorify God, for the benefit of all. Approaching life from a spiritual perspective we discover there are always new ways in which we can progress and contribute.
Christ Jesus' recognition of man's unity with God enabled him continually to break the limitations of matter-based thinking for himself and others. Although the Master's life was brief in terms of years, and at first appeared to end in failure with his arrest and crucifixion, in actual fact it was an unparalleled success. Not even death could stop his demonstration of man's limitless being. As Mrs. Eddy writes: ''His three days' work in the sepulchre set the seal of eternity on time. He proved Life to be deathless and Love to be the master of hate.'' n4
n4 Ibid., p. 44.
Apersonal, materially-based sense of glory fades; but a life proceeding from spiritual values and understanding shines on forever. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord; and he delighteth in his way. . . . The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgement. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide. Psalms 37:23, 29-31