This is the time of year when many people make what are often called new-year resolutions. They are promises to ourselves and maybe to others to do better in certain areas of life. But the many jokes about new-year resolutions hint that the keeping of these promises may not always last very long. Two men talking at a New Year's Eve party agreed that the one resolution they really needed was to keep their other resolutions!
Whether we keep them or not, new-year resolutions do express the deep human feeling that there is a better way to live and that we can attain it.
These feelings are true. There is a higher and better life that we all can attain. In fact, it's higher than most of humanity thinks or even dreams. But it is no higher than we all can sense through the spiritual intuition that we have from God. This life is, in fact, a reality higher than matter. It is the life of man as God's image and likeness, which the Bible describes (see Genesis 1:26).
Old beliefs are like old habits that can run very deep and be very persistent. Maybe one of the deepest old beliefs is that matter is the true substance of life. Most of us go about our days believing very deeply that we live in a three-dimensional material world in which all action and life exist. Through prayer, however, we can break out of that limited belief about reality, and in doing so experience moral and physical healing, greater freedom, a richer , more genuine sense of individuality. Little by little we can discern a new, spiritual reality that does not coexist with matter but entirely replaces it, as daylight replaces the night. This is not a form of self-hypnosis. It is pure spiritual awakening through the eternal Christ, God's healing, regenerative power.
The Revelator glimpsed the spiritual nature of reality when he heard the divine message, ''Behold, I make all things new.'' n1 And the inspired writer of Hebrews indicated the true nature of substance and being when he said, ''Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.'' n2
n1 Revelation 21:5.
n2 Hebrews 11:3.
There are many good ways to pray, and they all result in some degree of spiritual awakening if we pray with great resolve to live up to our highest understanding of God. Our prayer might take the form of a silent, humble declaration that God is absolutely All and totally good; that man is His perfect likeness.
As we quietly ponder such Christly ideas, they become clearer and clearer to us. We begin to sense their power and rightness, and understand, to a degree, that perfect spiritual reality is all that truly exists. We realize that man and all creation are inseparable from God, divine Mind, and therefore evil is unreal - not, in fact, the concrete reality it seems to be. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ''The realization that all inharmony is unreal brings objects and thoughts into human view in their true light, and presents them as beautiful and immortal. Harmony in man is as real and immortal as in music. Discord is unreal and mortal.'' n3
n3 Science and Health p. 276.
We all can awake to a higher view of reality and live a better, holier life. Mere human resolve won't do it. But spiritual resolve based on prayer makes it happen. This Christly resolve is a lovely way to begin a new year - or any new moment through the year. DAILY BIBLE VERSE If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. II Corinthians 5:17