WHEN I was in school I was placed in an advanced mathematics class. In one sense I felt important, part of a prestigious group. Yet deep down I had doubts about my willingness to work hard enough to pass the course. As it turned out, I did pass, but just barely, and I moved on from algebra to geometry with the group of advanced students. But because my study habits were poor, I failed geometry.
In a way, that was one of the best things that could have happened, because I was forced to take the course over again and to study this time. I was forced to learn geometry step by step, building a solid foundation of understanding. The result was one of the top grades in the class for the year.
Whatever our activity, we can't really move forward without a solid foundation. Having a sound moral and spiritual basis to our lives is particularly important. At times it may seem as though efforts to live in harmony with the Ten Commandments and Christ Jesus' precepts have little relation to our progress. Materialistic thinking would persuade people that any supposed moral standard is simply out-of-date and irrelevant. Yet when we see the damage done to people's lives as a result of promiscuity or any form of immorality, it becomes clear that the Bible's teachings are far from outmoded. A growing obedience to them confers protection that can come from God alone, and it furthers genuine progress.
Appearances have a way of deceiving us into thinking that we can move forward without God. But is the foundation of that progress secure? No! What does give us a sure foundation is conformity to divine law.
Jesus taught the importance of purity, meekness, righteousness, of putting God first in our lives. And he said, as Luke records, that the individual who followed his teachings ``is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.''
Building our lives on a sure, spiritual foundation requires steady, daily effort. It's not a one-time activity. But our work confers deep satisfaction, especially when we begin to feel the spiritual freedom and strength that result from it. And this work is natural because in doing it we're living more and more in harmony with our true selfhood. We're demonstrating that our genuine being is God's spiritual likeness, the pure reflection of His perfect nature.
In truth, in the spiritual reality of creation, man has never been less than God's image and likeness. The Bible tells us that God created man in His image and that everything God made was good. This truth underlies and supports our moral progress. It assures us that we can go forward, that progress is inevitable, even if we seem temporarily to have gone backward. The power of divine law supports every effort to build our lives on the solid foundation of spirituality, every effort to be who we really are.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, observes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``We cannot build safely on false foundations. Truth makes a new creature, in whom old things pass away and `all things are become new.' Passions, selfishness, false appetites, hatred, fear, all sensuality, yield to spirituality, and the superabundance of being is on the side of God, good.'' As our lives are spiritually based, we move forward safely and surely.