EVER felt the need for an extra boost as you began a day that looked particularly difficult? I have, often. And I can always find it in the gospel. In fact I'm learning that every day can benefit from a foundation in the gospel. When I think of the gospel, I think of Christ Jesus' teaching, especially the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. This sermon includes the Beatitudes, the Lord's Prayer, and many other spiritually rooted guides to behavior. And I've found that because I make it my everyday companion, the gospel is a living, powerful force. And the truths about God and man found in the Bible can indeed change whatever is not right in our lives.
To me, the truths found in the Lord's Prayer epitomize the real basis of the gospel message. This prayer speaks of one universal God, who is good and who is divine Love itself. This God is all-powerful and is the creator of all, tenderly governing and caring for His creation.
The Lord's Prayer gives solid definition to God's nature, showing Him as infinite Spirit and divine Love -- not as a god of vengeance or retaliation. Indeed, God isn't humanlike in any way, as Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, points out in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``This human sense of Deity yields to the divine sense, even as the material sense of personality yields to the incorporeal sense of God and man as the infinite Principle and infinite idea, -- as one Father with His universal family, held in the gospel of Love.''
The strong moral and spiritual underpinnings of the gospel's message give depth and power to its lessons. Consider the counsel against judging others, for example. ``Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?'' Jesus asks in the Sermon on the Mount. I once believed that this was something I needed to pay attention to only rarely, when someone did something that I felt was seriously wrong.
But as I've continued to study Jesus' teachings, I've begun to see that my simplistic approach wasn't going nearly far enough. As I prayed to understand more about what Jesus was actually saying, I saw that a preoccupation with faultfinding has already judged people -- and found them to be basically blameworthy. What was true, I knew, was that each individual is already the child of a perfect God. God has judged His creation good, ``held in the gospel of Love.'' So I saw that not judging others really meant allowing the goodness of God's universal family to dominate my thinking each day.
``Meekness'' is another example. Meekness, as Christ Jesus uses it in the beatitude ``Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth,'' is quite different from the idea that some sort of glorified weakness should encourage or excuse downtrodden thinking. Since God holds His family ``in the gospel of Love,'' man's actions and thought are in perfect harmony with divine Love. Force, willfulness, stridency, are no part of man's genuine spiritual nature. As we bring this truth to bear on our lives more each day, we'll be meek in our relations with others. But this meekness will increase our spiritual strength and dominion.
Other gospel ``pillars'' for me include forgiveness, humility, and gratitude. I'm trying to make these daily essentials, rather than just good things to be reserved for use only in special circumstances. I'm seeing more and more that the qualities inherent in the gospel message bear authoritative witness to the power and presence of God, and of man as His child. They can actually be what our days are all about.