God, Us, and the Take-Charge Era
THERE is an air of self-assertiveness that pervades everything from politics to personal life these days. The message is, if you want to be successful, you have to be aggressive. The words take charge have a definite appeal to them. The issue is how should we take control? Will it be through sheer determination and prowess?Christians are understandably wary of that approach to the business of living. They are learning something quite different: to set God above all else and be responsive to His will. Admittedly, honoring and obeying God seem like strangers to a do-it-yourself society, yet these are what bring us beyond the boundaries of human effort to the abilities that God gives man. Humility and a readiness to listen to God's direction open up unlimited ways to accomplish good. We feel in charge because God is in charge. Our aims and goals, instead of staying strictly personal, need to be brought in line with the way God is working. God works throughout His creation as the power of good. We don't have to worry that unselfishness and being oriented toward Spirit, God, will leave us outmaneuvered. Spirituality is capable in ways that status, influence, and human power aren't. Christ Jesus' tremendous accomplishments grew out of his willingness to obey his Father, God. He taught obedience to God's will, not development of human will. Living spiritually today makes similar demands on us. The Master said it in bold terms: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. The reason that we can trust spiritual values to direct us through private and public decisions is that God, divine Mind, has created man to express His intelligence and goodness. The qualities of Spirit are what make up who we really are. Christian Science underlines the truth that man is spiritual, not mortal. Getting a rein on career, home, and community life doesn't look so overwhelming when we begin to respond to the fact that we truly live under the government of God. Mary Baker Eddy, the religious leader who discovered and founded Christian Science, was eager to help people understand the effects of man's relationship to God. She writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "Having no other gods, turning to no other but the one perfect Mind to guide him, man is the likeness of God, pure and eternal, having that Mind which was also in Christ. Sometimes the aggression and drive that we see around us may provoke the feeling that spirituality is not strong enough for our era. We may be tempted to adopt the ways of the world. These ways are ultimately damaging to the individual and society. Achievement in business, the public sector, or personal life is most right when it is in response to God's leading. Taking charge is largely a question of getting better acquainted with the fact that Spirit's government is in place and intact. The change that spirituality brings to our motives is evident in more unselfish interest in the welfare of others. Generosity replaces greed, and confidence in God's control replaces worry and anxiety. Then we experience the taking charge of which spirituality alon e is capable. This is a condensed version of an article that originally appeared in the "Thinking it through column of the September 23 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.