A MAJOR television station in our city just put on a ``Town Meeting'' focusing on addiction. The panel and audience were recruited to present people who had risen out of addiction and to show the various resources available to assist rehabilitation. Participants ranged from psychologists and doctors to representatives from the Salvation Army and several other local churches. I had agreed to represent the Church of Christ, Scientist.
As I listened to the give-and-take between the moderator and participants, three terms people used stuck with me: empty, rock-bottom, and spiritual. They represented to me the cause, effect, and solution for every human problem, including the enslavement of gambling, drinking, smoking, overeating, or sexual offenses. All forms of addiction signal that the human consciousness is empty--desperately hungry for what genuinely satisfies and endures. For anyone wanting to be filled with lasting satisfaction an d true pleasure, the Bible offers immediate compassion, comfort, love, and direction by turning our thoughts to God for sure release from the bondage of addiction.
Christ Jesus assures us that those longing for liberation can experience it by heeding his words. As John's Gospel records, Jesus said: ``It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.'' Jesus' life and healing works vividly show that genuine rehabilitation is spiritual--is a divine transformation that occurs within all of us when we discover the richness of the spiritual ideas God imparts to His children. All have this divine legacy because God's love is impartial and universal. This divine Love, expressed, is God's Christ, which is actively regenerating humanity, uncovering the deceptiveness of materiality, and bringing to mankind the wholeness and enduring gratification that are natural to us as God's ideas.
In fact, at this very moment, you and I are actually individual reflections of God. Our true identity is spiritual, pure, satisfied, complete. This identity is ours because God, Spirit, created all in His likeness, spiritual. This is man's only real nature now and forever. Day by day, we can discover more of our true, spiritual selfhood as we actively express Godlike qualities. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, writes in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``Willin gness to become as a little child and to leave the old for the new, renders thought receptive of the advanced idea. Gladness to leave the false landmarks and joy to see them disappear,--this disposition helps to precipitate the ultimate harmony. The purification of sense and self is a proof of progress. `Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.' ''
Whether we're struggling with addiction ourselves or yearning to help those who are, it's wonderfully encouraging to find how thoroughly spiritual regeneration and healing occur in even the most ``rock-bottom'' cases cited in the Old or New Testament. Such healing comes when the healer turns away from materiality, rejects its mesmeric beliefs, and relies absolutely on God, infinite Spirit, to bring needed redemption. From the Bible's actual examples of restoration through spiritual power, we can begin to
claim our divine birthright, which is true this moment, just waiting to be acknowledged. God's man, the real you and me and everyone, isn't addicted to materiality or prone to senseless, selfish cravings. The kingdom of God within us is overflowing with spiritual riches from God that abundantly satisfy our deepest hunger for good. And we can freely share these spiritual delights with others.