ONE day I was bored at work. I just didn't feel inspired by my part in the firm's affairs. Finally I took a few moments to pray. My prayer started by acknowledging the spiritual fact of God's presence. Then I questioned the view of myself as an unhappy human being, struggling to be happy.
The Bible teaches that in reality man is God's image and likeness. It also implies God's own ceaseless satisfaction in Genesis: ``God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." In the light of these Scriptural truths I realized man is the reflection of God's unconditional satisfaction.
Once I had established this spiritual basis for happiness, the sense of dreariness immediately disappeared. Suddenly I felt immersed in joy, although nothing had altered outwardly at that point. Within a few moments of my prayer, however, an opportunity came to light to reach out lovingly to someone in the office who needed help. Actually, the opportunity had been there before, but I hadn't spotted it. Prayer had opened my eyes to the presence and availability of good exactly where dull routine had seeme d to be all there was at hand.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, explains the kind of turnaround I experienced. She writes in a sermon called Christian Healing, ``If you wish to be happy, argue with yourself on the side of happiness; take the side you wish to carry, and be careful not to talk on both sides, or to argue stronger for sorrow than for joy."
The common view is that happiness is dependent on material circumstances and conditions. However, the spiritual truth is that the most compelling reason to be happy is unconditional. It is the fact of God's presence and His love for His children. Since He is always present and always loves each of us as His perfect, spiritual offspring, the best reason to be happy is forever established! And, in fact, the real man of God's creating, which is our true being, is always aware of God's unfailing provision of
Hence to ``argue with yourself on the side of happiness" is to acknowledge the truths of your spiritual selfhood as God's idea. And with this spiritual understanding you then can glorify God by demonstrating these truths. And this makes you happy.
Such mental arguing for good is not willful positive thinking, but devout Christian prayer. By contrast, passive acceptance of a humdrum human existence represents disobedience to God because it constitutes an argument against God's will for His children--which is joy and vitality and fulfillment. This resignation to a view of life as limited, unsatisfying--at best a mixture of happiness and unhappiness--is an argument of what Christian Science calls mortal mind, the false, material sense of being.
Such limited beliefs about God's intentions for us are invalid. By progressively discerning this, we can argue increasingly on the side of spiritual selfhood. As we do so, happiness, as well as health, purity, and unselfed affection, tends to take center stage in our hearts and lives. For these are the substance and evidence of who we really are!
Christ Jesus above all others knew this true selfhood. By his healing works, the Master proved that a deeply satisfied spirituality is the truth of man's identity. He said he gave his example to humankind so that we would have more abundant life and joy. Arguing for such fulfillment is wise and profoundly satisfying.
To argue with yourself on the right side--and to win the debate--is to glorify God, good, by your happiness!