''Upward mobility'' is a much-discussed issue in modern times. The stability and improvement of societies seem closely related to the progress of individuals. And an index of individual progress is found in our aspirations. How high are yours? A vice-presidency with the firm? A college diploma? Marriage?
Such human goals can be valuable. But there is a higher kind of aspiration which, when pursued, will bring enrichment to all of our activities. Christ Jesus made the ultimate statement concerning aspirations: ''Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.'' n1
Clearly, Jesus regarded perfection as an achievable goal.
n1 Matthew 5:48.
Did he mean we must become perfect mortals? We get a clue to his meaning from another of his statements: ''Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. . . . That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.'' n2
Wasn't Jesus saying that the mortal, fleshly sense of man must be put off through a rebirth - through the progressive discernment and demonstration of man's genuine, spiritual selfhood?
n2 John 3:3, 6, 7.
As the offspring of God, Spirit, man is actually spiritual, the eternal witness to God's perfectness. The physical senses obscure this truth and portray man as a sinful mortal who must somehow improve from this limited basis. But, as the Master indicated, true upward mobility lies in proving, by degrees, our spiritual perfection and immortality.
Christian Science, which was discovered and founded by Mary Baker Eddy, teaches that as we begin to understand the nature of God we likewise learn man's true nature, his immortal greatness and perfection. It shows that our native desire for what is real and lasting and satisfying is the motive force behind all true progress. Mrs. Eddy writes: ''A mortal, corporeal, or finite conception of God cannot embrace the glories of limitless, incorporeal Life and Love. Hence the unsatisfied human craving for something better, higher, holier, than is afforded by a material belief in a physical God and man.'' n3
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 258
How can we demonstrate perfection? One way is through daily expressing the love, purity, and wisdom that are inherent in our true nature. This doesn't limit human achievement, as is sometimes feared. Rather, it brings more meaning to our accomplishments, because any progress in the demonstration of our real nature must bless all our activities.
Many people accept moral improvement as well within their grasp but feel that healing disease is beyond them. Yet the ills of the flesh prod us to search out our highest selfhood. Through the Christian healing of disease we can further prove our eternal unity with the Father as His flawless offspring.
To Jesus, illness presented an opportunity to demonstrate God's absolute supremacy, man's oneness with God, and our God-given dominion over imperfection. We might view physical challenges in this same way. Mrs. Eddy states, ''Sickness is the schoolmaster, leading you to Christ; first to faith in Christ; next to belief in God as omnipotent; and finally to the understanding of God and man in Christian Science, whereby you learn that God is good, and in Science man is His likeness, the forever reflection of goodness.''n4
n4 Rudimental Divine Science, p. 11.
Improved material conditions, including good health and ample provision, are the fruits of progressive growth out of the belief in an imperfect mortal selfhood. Even so, genuine progress doesn't take place if our motive is simply to have a more comfortable life in matter, because it's materiality that must be put off. When our most cherished aspiration becomes proving our rightful status as the sons and daughters of divine Spirit, we'll move upward in the truest, highest sense. We'll experience healing and regeneration and satisfaction. That ''unsatisfied human craving for something better, higher, holier'' than material life will be assuaged by God's eternal Christ, unfolding in us our native perfection. DAILY BIBLE VERSE This mortal must put on immortality. 1 Corinthians 15:53