The unselfish desire to be a better person is a form of prayer. It comes to fulfillment through God's regenerative power. Sometimes, though, this desire seems to run head-on into the limitations of materiality. Frustration indicates a continuing need to trade our material concept for a more spiritual perception of who and what we are.
To pin our hopes for improvement on the general belief that man's abilities and intelligence are rooted in some form of materiality is like starting a footrace by first strapping on a heavy weight. Our acceptance of apparent laws of heredity, physiology, or psychology sometimes stops us before we start. The frustration, though, doesn't arise from actual laws, but from material belief.
By belief is meant not only the surface fears of people but also the deep-seated convictions that underline material existence and seem to govern it. To think positively about ourselves in human way may give us some hope, but it can't free us from the shackles of material belief.This freedom comes only through spiritual understanding.
Christ Jesus illustrated this freedom in its entirety. His standpoint of thinking and living was based not on matter but on Spirit. He said, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing." n1
n1 John 6:63;
The Truth Jesus taught and embodied is timeless. It is the eternal and ever-present Christ, which can regenerate us just as it regenerated and healed those in Jesus' day.
Mastering our shortcomings is natural -- and to be expected -- when we make Spirit the standpoint of our thinking and living. Christian Science shows that infinite Spirit, God, creates man and expresses itself in man. therefore man is in reality spiritual rather than material. Mary Baker Eddy n2 writes: "In divine Science, man is the true image of God. The divine nature was best expressed in Christ Jesus, who threw upon mortals the truer reflection of God and lifted their lives higher than their poor thought-models would allow, -- thoughts which presented man as fallen, sick, sinning, and dying. The Christlike understanding of scientific being and divine healing includes a perfect Principle and idea, --perfect God and perfect man, -- as the basis of thought and demonstration." n3
n2 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science;
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 259;
Certainly, this is infinitely beyond positive thinking. It involves an increasing degree of spiritual perception. With this perception come Christly regeneration, transformation, and improvement of our character and our capabilities.
If we are trying to rid ourselves of bad habits, spiritual understanding can release us. God, Spirit, never made man a slave to matter, nor did He make man capable of enslaving himself. Human belief alone enslaves. The physical senses cannot see or understand God's spiritual, perfect man -- our real selfhood. They know only a mortal sense of man. Hence Paul speaks of putting on "the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." n4 Prayerfully affirming and understanding our spiritual perfection will hasten this renewal. Undesirable habits will have to drop away.
n4 Colossians 3:10.
If God were the cause of our shortcomings, or if so-called material laws were part of His order of things, then it would be wrong and useless to try to improve ourselves -- improve what God has caused or allowed. But the wonderful truth is that the real man is harmonious and perfect. God loves us and knows us right now as we really are -- His perfect expression.
Proceeding patiently from this basis, actively cherishing the true concept of God and man, we will discover more and more of our spiritural perfection. And each obstacle to improvement will dissolve. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. . . . But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. Hebrews 10:35, 36, 39