Spiritual consistency

WATCH the top professional golfers in action and you can't help being impressed by their consistency. Whether they're playing at St. Andrews in Scotland, or Augusta, Georgia, whether in fine sunny weather or howling gales, they almost invariably come up with good results. A professional attitude in golf, as with most sports, goes hand in hand with con- sistency. You can't help being impressed, too, by the spiritual consistency shown by many of the Biblical figures. Daniel, for instance, in the lions' den or in the comfort of the king's palace, remained faithful. He didn't react with fear or resentment despite provocation. Three times a day he prayed, maintaining his feeling of closeness to God. Joseph, too, although put into a pit by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused by his master's wife and imprisoned, retained his trust in God. As prime minister of Egypt he continued to express compassion and divine intelligence.

Spiritual consistency superbly characterized the saving mission of the Way-shower, Christ Jesus. Cheered by ecstatic supporters in his glorious entry to Jerusalem, accused spitefully during his trial before Pilate, he kept his peace. Faced with desperately sick people, he didn't quail. He healed them. Jesus' example is a model for us all.

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, has written, ``Individuals are consistent who, watching and praying, can `run, and not be weary; . . . walk, and not faint,' who gain good rapidly and hold their position, or attain slowly and yield not to discouragement.'' 1 She also tells us specifically, ``Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.'' 2

Recently, I dusted off my golf clubs and made a quiet return to playing golf. My aim hasn't been to emulate the fine efforts of the professionals. Getting my swing right, my direction accurate, and my overall game consistent has been sufficient. An occasional long drive and extra good putt have been a bonus. Consistency has been my aim, and I've enjoyed playing because of this.

In like manner I've found a similar approach beneficial in my Christian practice. I've had many gratifying demonstrations of Christian healing. ``With God all things are possible,'' 3 Jesus said. I realized that despite the distance I have to go in following the Master in his spiritual understanding of God, my best approach is to do what I am able to do as consistently as I can. This means holding ``thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true'' to the best of my understanding, and improving steadily through practice.

The way I've done this is through re- alizing that God, or divine Spirit, is changeless, and that man, made in God's likeness (which is the actual selfhood of each one of us), is wholly Godlike, reflecting the all-loving, all-truthful nature of God. Holding to this truth in prayer, feeling it to be the reality of our being, we'll let the changeless, free-flowing spirit of divine Truth and Love radiate through our lives with a healing spirit of liberation and inner peace.

Our true identity is not changeable but changeless. It doesn't have ``on'' days and ``off'' days, days to be ``on form'' or ``off form.'' It is not good-tempered at one time and ill-tempered at another, selfish one day, unselfish another, patient and impatient. To lapse into ill temper, selfishness, and impatience is abnormal. The truth that man is God's offspring, reflecting His nature, enables us to be consistent in our expression of the divine qualities.

Paul, in a letter to the Corinthians, wrote, ``For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.'' 4

Our steadfast devotion of thought to what is good and true is practice that leads to spiritual consistency, to spiritual healing, and to a genuinely happier life.

1 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 254. 2 Ibid., p. 261. 3 Matthew 19:26. 4 II Corinthians 1:19. DAILY BIBLE VERSE A faithful man shall abound with blessings. Proverbs 28:20

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