WE see much in the press these days about power struggles within governments and other organizations. Efforts to understand democracy, to grasp the nature of government, are being made around the world as new nations and old ones--and individuals, too --strive to adapt to changing and challenging times.
The basic question is, perhaps, just what is government and what relationship does it have to my life? Each of us has felt the impact of human government--whether in the form of taxes, military service, social security benefits, or in some other way. But what truly is at the heart of being governed?
The Bible's message is that God, divine Love, is--or should be--at the center of our lives. It tells us that for true self-government we need to know His government. This is the single most important thing we can do if we are to retain our freedom --mentally, politically, religiously, and socially.
In the book of Exodus in the Bible, we can find what are known as the Ten Commandments, the essential rules of God's government. And the connection between obedience to God and maintaining our freedom is made very clear by the verse that precedes the First Commandment. It's a reminder that the power of God brought the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt. The implication is that obedience to God brings freedom. And this is accomplished by obeying the First Commandment, which is, "Thou shalt have no other g ods before me.
Having no other gods than the one God, Spirit, might at first seem like a religious issue, and not a personal or political one. But if other things--a job, another person, or certain personal expectations--become central in our lives, we can end up mistakenly worshiping them instead of seeking God's will. And we may find ourselves outlining a certain outcome or even feeling that if only this particular person or group were in charge, everything would be all right.
In essence, when we put something else in God's place, we are not thinking freely or creatively, because we have become determined to have things turn out a certain way according to our own preconceptions. We lose sight of God's government when we are thinking within a ma-terial framework that basically excludes divine Love. No longer turning to God in prayer for guidance, we focus on surface issues or personalities--on getting rid of all politicians, for example because we are feeling angry about our go vernment.
This kind of thinking is counterproductive because it fails to address the deeper issue, namely, the role of God in governing every aspect of our lives. This role is played out not so much in the halls of congresses or of parliaments as in our hearts as we pray and examine our lives in the light of His love.
Our individual commitment to being governed by God's law has the capacity to reach into those halls of government and other places as well. Our efforts to accept God's control can open our eyes to actions we need to take, and they can have an effect on how we relate to others.
If we are just looking on the surface, we may see ourselves as material beings struggling within a material world in order to survive. Pressures, demands, and fears would influence us to go in one direction or another, or they might lead us to stand in judgment of others. Such influences would deprive us of the self-government, wisdom, and direction that come when we put God, divine Mind, at the center of our lives. If we react to surface tensions, we are accepting the belief that we are limited mortals who are locked in battle with other mortals or material conditions. Christ Jesus, however, taught us that man is truly spiritual and inseparable from God. When we accept this as the fact of our lives, we begin to see that each of us can express qualities such as intelligence, purity, honesty, and love toward those around us. These--and other qualities--are evidence of God's government. Knowing our unbreakable unity with God, Love, we feel less alone. Whatever problem we--or our government--may face, we lear n to trust the love of God to lead us to right answers.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, speaks at some length about God's government in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. In one place she writes, "Man is properly self-governed only when he is guided rightly and governed by his Maker, divine Truth and Love.
Growing in our capacity for self-government by expressing more joy, more wisdom, and more goodness in our lives, we affirm the actual governing power of God. Each of us can know this power and can experience its ability to regenerate and restore our confidence in good. As we pray and strive to be self-governed by being God-governed, we will be doing much to prove that our world is under the direction of an all-good and all-loving God.
Healing through prayer is explored in more detail in a weekly magazine, the Christian Science Sentinel.
Let the people praise thee, O God;
let all the people praise thee.
O let the nations be glad
and sing for joy:
for thou shalt judge the people righteously,
and govern the nations upon earth. . . .
Then shall the earth yield her increase;
and God, even our own God,
shall bless us.
Psalms 67:3, 4, 6