Winning Ways

Bringing a spiritual perspective to world events and daily life.

Most people's life pursuits involve winning some manner of success or accomplishment. But the question comes up, "How will we achieve success?"

What you focus on, you become. Or put another way, as the Bible says it, "As [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). Not only is the way we think of ourselves fundamental, but also the way we think and act toward others. The Golden Rule given by Christ Jesus advises, "As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise" (Luke 6:31).

Say your goal is to achieve influence in business, the community, or even your family. You define your goals and establish a power base by keeping on top of everything and "playing politics." But at what cost? Where is God in all of this? And what about your fellow human beings? What happens when someone comes along who wields more power than you? What happens to the events you set in motion? Do they function without you?

Sometimes such a desire to achieve influence involves compromise -- not so much with others of good faith, but with our own concepts of honest pursuit, personal responsibility, and the common good. If pursuit is based on personal power, it fosters efforts to gain good at the expense of others, and can even occasion chaos and destruction. It may bring the accumulation of material things, but it may also require compromising one's values.

These manipulative material ways and means say either there is no supreme creator or else that God is not capable of maintaining what He created; they say that He is powerless to help us overcome selfish inclinations. This suggests that God allows for error, and therefore we need to defend ourselves.

By contrast, there is another approach to life, which results in more satisfying pursuits. It is spiritual-that is, based on the truth that there is one, infinite, good God who governs all creation and maintains it in perfect harmony. This is not a material god, but an omnipotent, good God. To receive the benefits of God's universe, we must understand that good is the only power, and that it is impartial. A desire to live in accord with God's will, practiced in daily words and deeds, results in lives of goodness and success. It involves pursuing what promotes mutual respect and equity for all.

Such a life requires that we live as best we can each day the inspired Word of the Bible, which was especially shown in Jesus' teachings. This Word reveals a single power base that is fundamental to everyone's harmony and well-being -- God, or divine Love. Relying on His supreme power means ceasing to rely on personal power.

In 1866 Mary Baker Eddy discovered the way to salvation that Christ Jesus exemplified. She named her discovery Christian Science. A poem of hers called "Feed My Sheep" tells that we can turn to the same God Jesus spoke of: "I will listen for Thy voice, / Lest my footsteps stray; / I will follow and rejoice / All the rugged way" (Poems, p. 14).

What is the way? Perhaps you could say it's the how of life -- how we do things -- rather than the who, what, where, when, or anything that is dependent on personal control.

So, should we quit our jobs? Stop driving a car? Stop eating and drinking? Give all our money away? Lock the door and only study the Bible? That wouldn't be as practical as doing what Jesus did, staying united to God, knowing His nature, and gracefully making the way we do things more Godlike. Acting more kindly, patiently, unselfishly, rather than quitting our jobs, we are living more of God's goodness in our dealings with others and in the tasks at hand.

Jesus was known to pray quietly by himself in order to stay in close contact with his divine power source. But he never withdrew from or avoided the multitudes. He brought them comfort, provision, and healing.

You can get into the game! If you feel you've been indulging fruitless pursuits, it's never too late to change with God's help. Sincere desire to perfect how you do things wins the way to the good God guarantees for all of us. And it helps others do the same. Here the desire to bless ourselves and others depends not on personal influence and human control, but on how well we listen to and follow divine guidance.

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