JUST last month Brazil revalued its currency in an attempt to deal with aggressive inflation that was run-ning at 40 percent or more per month. That nation, and others where poverty and uncertainty are rife, can be helped by our prayers. And we can rely on prayer when we face instability in our own lives.
Christ Jesus and his followers lived in times that were filled with uncertainty, and they were all too familiar with the concepts of ``loss'' and ``gain.'' What set Jesus' teachings apart was his spiritual approach to these and other problems. His understanding of God as the source of all good gave him a totally secure foundation for meeting human needs. He was able to feed thousands of people, to obtain tax money from a fish's mouth, and to heal both moral and physical illnesses. None of the difficulties he faced swayed him because he was certain of God's care.
In his Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew's Gospel, Jesus said, ``Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,'' urging instead, ``but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.'' He then explained, ``For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also'' (6:19-21). Clearly Jesus wasn't talking about a wealthy afterlife in a remote place called heaven. Instead, he was talking about a totally different way of life--of thinking of ourselves in spiritual, not material terms.
Christian Science, which was discovered by Mary Baker Eddy in 1866, teaches that heaven is harmony, the evidence of God's government right here on earth. Harmony is actually an ever-present fact because this is what God, being Truth and Love, is and does. Harmony, by its very nature, includes whatever we actually need for life. So such knowledge of God is a practical help in times of financial or other instability.
There is also another benefit, namely, that through our growing knowledge of God, we also begin to know ourselves as perfect ideas in divine Mind. Secure in the care of Mind, God, we can be confident even when human conditions seem unpromising. Seeing ourselves from this spiritual standpoint, we find resources that we didn't know we had. For instance, as God's spiritual idea, we express only divine qualities such as love, peace, joy, purity, intelligence, and goodness. It follows that the harmony and stability we seek can be found through our increasing reliance on Mind and on our recognition that we are actually God's ideas.
In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy points out elements that would rob us of our God-given harmony: ``Falsehood, envy, hypocrisy, malice, hate, revenge, and so forth, steal away the treasures of Truth. Stripped of its coverings, what a mocking spectacle is sin!'' (p. 241) We can reject such ungodlike traits by recognizing that our true nature expresses God. It is contrary to our real being to hate, to lie, to be dishonest. Indulging these sinful ways of being would warp our lives. Love, truth, wisdom, and integrity are natural to us because we are inseparable from our divine source, God. Recognizing the truth of this spiritual concept gives us a firm foundation on which to build stability and peace.
Trusting and obeying God also keep us from being wrongly influenced by the thoughts of others. If those around us are filled with fear, for example, we do not need to be touched by such feelings. We can immediately turn in prayer to God and affirm that as His idea we can only know and express Love, and that all of His children partake of His nature.
Such prayer heals us by lifting our thoughts out of fear and uncertainty. It puts our lives on the foundation that Christ Jesus relied on with such success, namely the goodness and love of God. This foundation never becomes unstable; it never abandons us. And it brings us the consistent peace and certainty we need.
As we become more practiced and confident in relying on God, we will find new stability in every part of our lives. We will be starting to see that our treasures really are in heaven--not in a distant place, but right with us, in the presence and love of God. And this will promote right action and peace in the world, as well.