WHEN I think about what I would consider to be victories in my life, I can't think of very many that would be obvious triumphs. There have been a few glittering moments, some times of special accomplishment, some productive moves made after long stretches of time. But there have been other kinds of victory that are not so highly visible. And it is these quiet steps forward morally and spiritually that underlay the more obvious times of triumph. These have been more frequent. And these victories have strengthened me to go forward. They're the ones that have made me a better person.
If we feel our lives are plodding along with little or no evidence of a breakthrough, we might think about the daily victories that can be achieved within our own thought. In a very fundamental way, this is the most important kind of victory we can claim. And it's the basis for all genuine progress.
Although we sometimes hanker (as all of us do!) for a visible sign of progress or approval, we may in fact be satisfied more deeply by the quiet mental victories over such things as the tendency to distrust God or to lapse into a familiar, but unproductive, pattern of thought. While our trust may temporarily waver, the times of moral victory do strengthen us. They contribute tangibly to our own and mankind's well-being.
Referring to the final, inevitable victory over mortality, the Bible says, ``Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.''1 Every victory, no matter how small, over the inclination to think or behave contrary to divine law, contrary to the precepts found in the Ten Commandments and in Christ Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, helps to forward our individual spiritual progress.
Our lives are not unproductive if we're striving to overcome sin. They're not empty if we're placing greater trust in God, Spirit, and less in material reliances for our well-being. They're not futile if we're coming to see something of our actual spiritual selfhood, which is eternally blessed.
Since divine Spirit, God, is the very source of our being, we can find lasting satisfaction only in more consistent worship of Spirit. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, observes: ``If the disciple is advancing spiritually, he is striving to enter in. He constantly turns away from material sense, and looks towards the imperishable things of Spirit. If honest, he will be in earnest from the start, and gain a little each day in the right direction, till at last he finishes his course with joy.''2
A worldly view would have us believe that purified living is at best outdated, of little relevance, out of touch with reality, even impossible. Yet it's materialism that's out of touch with reality, because it's the very opposite of the source of all that is truly real, the opposite of divine Spirit, which is the sole originator of good. To make progress in putting off some burdening form of sin is a victory of sorts -- not one that will be publicized but a vital step forward for us and for humanity as a whole nonetheless. To make even modest progress in trusting God in every aspect of our lives is a vital step forward, a meaningful victory.
As we look Spiritward we're not deprived of anything good. Quite the contrary. Our lives are enriched. And doing so is the most natural thing in the world for God's spiritual image, which is who we really are, as the Bible teaches. Each day provides an opportunity for victory.
1I Corinthians 15:57. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 21.