THERE is no greater joy than coming to the realization that God has already provided everything we need to be happy and content. Christ Jesus said to his followers, as Luke's Gospel records, ``It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom'' (12:32). Have we even begun to glimpse the significance of being the beneficiaries of such a stupendous gift? The kingdom of heaven includes all the good we could ever hope for. It exists solely under God's government. Everything within it contributes to the happiness, health, and harmony of man, our genuine selfhood.
To uncover the treasures of heaven, we must know where to look. God creates spiritual things. So it is to Spirit, God, that we must turn to find heavenly riches. The blessings God is putting before us are not found in material objects or situations but in spiritual understanding. If our desire when we pray is to gain more of this understanding, we'll receive what we ask for.
We often think that we need something material--like more money or a different place to live--in order to be happy or satisfied. But our basic need is always spiritual. We can gain a bigger paycheck, marry the ``perfect'' spouse, achieve a hoped-for promotion, and, if our spiritual longings aren't satisfied, still find ourselves yearning for more. Appetite, lust, passion, and so forth stifle spiritual progress and keep us on a course of unending want. When we appreciate more of what God is already giving us, however, we find our needs met spiritually. The vicious cycles of want, indulgence, guilt, and self-condemnation come to a halt; and as we persist in our spiritual progress, they finally will come to a complete end, since they have no support in God's government of man.
In Spirit, we are each complete and perfect children of God. Contentment is not found in a bottle, a bankroll, or a bakery, but in quiet communion with our Father-Mother. Prayer and study help us discover more of God's presence and goodness, and enable us to know more readily our at-one-ment with them.
But to avail ourselves of God's good, we must turn away from worldly temptations. Such temptations would convince us that happiness is found in matter, rather than in Spirit. In truth, sensual excesses bring suffering more than anything else. Their pleasures are fleeting, and with each indulgence leave us less satisfied than ever. And when we realize they don't yield genuine happiness at all, it's much easier to turn from them.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, provides guidance for those trying to break free of harmful tendencies. She writes in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``If a man is an inebriate, a slave to tobacco, or the special servant of any one of the myriad forms of sin, meet and destroy these errors with the truth of being,--by exhibiting to the wrong-doer the suffering which his submission to such habits brings, and by convincing him that there is no real pleasure in false appetites'' (p. 404).
Dropping the belief that we are dependent on something material to be happy gives us the opportunity to discover joy within. The greatest pleasure of all is discovering the fulfillment of God's pleasure--His pleasure in giving us the kingdom and our pleasure in expressing His goodness. Heaven is here. Look to ever-present Spirit. Don't follow the dead-end lures of the world. Let an inner conviction that all good is spiritually supplied, bind you to the everlasting love and care of God. You'll find spiritual fulfillment at hand, and you will be happy and prosperous, too.