Looking out my office window the other day, I was startled to see a workman walking along a ten-inch plank with no lifeline or support whatsoever. The ends of the plank were resting on the very top of steel scaffolding that he and two others were erecting. Piece by piece, they were building another level of cagelike steel around them. This was nine stories above the street.
Impressed by their circuslike performance - hardly the kind of thing most of us do in a day's work - I chatted a bit with the workmen when they returned to ground level.
''What's the secret of walking up there?'' I asked.
Seeing my obvious admiration, one man explained simply: ''Don't look down. You have to look right where you're walking, on the plank itself.'' None of the men implied that this was an easy task.
I wondered for a while at the mental discipline their job required - indeed, the constant mental discipline.
Perhaps the rigors of Christian discipleship are no less demanding. In his Sermon on the Mount, Christ Jesus admonished, ''Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.'' n1
n1 Matthew 7:13, 14.
The Scriptures provide precise rules for living that keep us on the straight and narrow way. In the Commandments (Exodus, chapter 20) and the Beatitudes (Matthew, chapter 5) we find what we need for living in accord with God, divine Principle, and in harmony with our fellowman.
But some people feel the laws of God are too constricting. They'd rather choose among rules for living, obeying only those convenient for them. This is one sure way to lose the way.
Experience teaches that genuine joy, health, and peace come through complete adherence to the laws given by Moses and Jesus. Even if we don't fully understand these laws, obedience is our protection - it keeps us from falling.
But how do we obey? Where should we look to become faithful disciples of Christ Jesus? Consistent fidelity comes from fastening our sights on God Himself.
Christian Science, in accord with the Bible, teaches that Deity is divine Spirit - all-powerful and eternally present. God is also good; in fact, the source of all good. Obedience to His law comes through expressing more of His pure nature. It comes through expressing more of our actual selfhood as His image.
You and I are not really mortals, born of other mortals; rather, we are incorporeal ideas of God. This fact isn't obvious to our physical senses, but it gradually becomes apparent to our spiritual sense. Through humble prayer, through listening for divine revelations, we come to know the reality of divine Spirit and our own spiritual identity. We then find it more and more natural to stay in the straight and narrow way. This higher view enables us to forsake the concept of ourselves as physical, sensual, and temptable, and to claim and demonstrate our innate Christliness.
Christian Science, discovered and founded by Mary Baker Eddy, helps direct our thought Godward. Mrs. Eddy writes in the Christian Science textbook: ''Mortals must look beyond fading, finite forms, if they would gain the true sense of things. Where shall the gaze rest but in the unsearchable realm of Mind? We must look where we would walk, and we must act as possessing all power from Him in whom we have our being.'' n2
n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 264.
It's not impossible for you and me to be faithful Christian disciples. The task becomes easier as we turn to God, our creator, and discover His perfect nature and ourselves as His offspring.
The construction worker nine stories above the street knows where to look to keep his step firm. In every circumstance we too can be confident as we look to Almighty God for our well-being. Following the Master and living in accord with the laws of God, we'll feel - and be - secure. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The path of the just is as the shining light, that Shineth more and more unto the perfect day . . . Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil. Proverbs 4:18, 25-27