WORLDLINESS doesn't generally have a high opinion of pure spiritual goodness. Those who are interested mainly in what fleshy experience has to offer, in achieving status, in accumulating wealth, may concede that goodness is admirable, but they tend, perhaps even unwittingly, to find other things more interesting. To appreciate the spirituality that underlies genuine goodness we need to be acquainted with spiritual sense -- that innate faculty through which we can discern the reality of God and learn toappreciate the beauty and variety of His spiritual creation. Lasting happiness is found only in this higher viewpoint, because materiality is fleeting, inherently empty, despite its momentarily glittering promises.
``God's being is infinity, freedom, harmony, and boundless bliss,''1 writes Mary Baker Eddy in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Learning more about God's being and man's expression of it as His likeness should be the most interesting activity in the world. Who would not want boundless bliss, harmony, freedom, even infinity? We long for these qualities. Even the hardened criminal is seeking what he considers good -- albeit a perverted sense of it. But as long as we think that good has a material basis, we'll be disappointed.
Science and Health asks, ``Who that has felt the loss of human peace has not gained stronger desires for spiritual joy?'' And it observes, ``The pains of sense quickly inform us that the pleasures of sense are mortal and that joy is spiritual.''2 Disillusionment comes from putting all our hope in material things -- money, the things money can buy, fleshly appetites. Unhappiness follows misplaced affections. Physical troubles may come in the wake of the indulgence of the appetites. All this points to mankind's need for a higher concept of good as imperishable because derived from Spirit, God. ``Labour not for the meat which perisheth,''3 Christ Jesus taught.
The Apostle Paul admonished us to ``put off...the old man'' and to ``put on the new man.''4 We need to put off the ``carnal mind,''as he called it -- sensuous, materialistic thinking -- in favor of ``the mind of Christ.'' When we begin to see that man, as the image of God, must be spiritual and pure, we understand why we cannot be satisfied until we know God and accept our true relationship to Him. As we see that our selfhood includes only what is pure and perfect, false attractions -- with their emptiness, misfortunes, and dead-end promises, will gradually lose their hold on us.
Since the infinite is God, good, it follows that good is infinitely interesting. Can Deity be bored or create a boring creation? His creation is never dull.
The more we turn away from the transitory pleasures of worldly thinking, the more satisfied we feel. The Psalmist said, ``As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.''5
I was once lured by an evil that seemed very attractive. But this statement by Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, pulled me back onto the right path: ``Happiness consists in being and in doing good; only what God gives, and what we give ourselves and others through His tenure, confers happiness; conscious worth satisfies the hungry heart, and nothing else can.''6 This arresting statement brought me back to a love of goodness and awoke me from the delusion of finding evil fascinating.
A life dedicated to goodness can never be dull. New challenges present themselves daily, and as we turn to God for answers, more light and beauty floods our lives than we would have believed possible.
1Science and Health, p. 481. 2Ibid., p. 265. 3John 6:27. 4See Ephesians 4:22-24.5Psalms 17:15. 6Message to The Mother Church for 1902, p. 17.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: I have set the Lord always before me....Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalms 16:8,11