Progress. Achievement. Success. These are the things by which we often measure our worth. People in business often feel the need to progress at a certain rate. Musicians and athletes may feel they have to achieve excellence by a certain age. Artists sometimes feel that unless they sell their work, they're not adequately distinguished.
All of this, however, tracks human activity. Perhaps all the disappointment, self-criticism, and feelings of failure stem from weighing things in the wrong scale-the scale of material accomplishment. It's not that achievement and acclaim aren't good. But there's something more. Often it's when we've failed that we've learned lessons, teaching us that something deeper is what counts-something beyond what's visible. Even getting everything we want sometimes fails to be fulfilling. And when we feel we've given our all and still haven't gotten the recognition we seek, what then?
We can do what Christ Jesus did so many years ago-continue on our journey. We can learn more of God, regardless of what those around us may think. Here success is measured first according to God's standard.
This is the scale of Spirit. It measures success by the growth made in understanding and obeying God-in the cultivation of spiritual sense. Gaining a deeper understanding of God and of ourselves in relation to Him strengthens us. It helps us to benefit others. It establishes us on a firm foundation and impels human progress as a result. That's because thought manifests itself in our lives. Thought based on God, who is all good, produces good results.
Jesus must have known during his crucifixion that it looked as if he had failed. Those watching said his prayers weren't helping him. They said God had forsaken him. "He saved others," they said, "himself he cannot save" (Mark 15:31).
But Jesus knew differently. He understood his relation with God-that, as God's Son, he was never separated from God. No one born of God could ever be a failure. This was true no matter how things looked. Obviously, Jesus never gave up. He was resurrected. This was ultimate success, proving that all Jesus had taught and done in his ministry was true and practical.
You and I, too, can understand God spiritually, as Jesus advocated. We can gain a sense of our relation to God and thus understand the truth more clearly. When faced with sickness, despair, or any other problem, we can pray, continue in prayer-and turn the picture around from failure to success. Prayer is communing with God. Spiritual success-knowing and obeying God-is what our goal should be if we're to advance in the scale of Spirit. By following Jesus' example, and putting faith in God ahead of all else, the healing of sickness, the end of despair, the appropriate solution to the problem at hand, must follow.
Your relationship with God is eternal. As you learn more about it, you find progress, achievement, and success, because spiritual understanding is demonstrated in human life.
Mary Baker Eddy, a devoted follower of Jesus, discovered Christian Science, which teaches how this understanding is to be attained. The book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mrs. Eddy says: "Every day makes its demands upon us for higher proofs rather than professions of Christian power. These proofs consist solely in the destruction of sin, sickness, and death by the power of Spirit, as Jesus destroyed them. This is an element of progress, and progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfil" (p. 233).
If you feel you haven't achieved what you were aiming for, check your scale. If you're measuring your accomplishment in limited terms, with God out of the equation, you're always prone to failure. But by weighing things in the scale of Spirit, where true progress is illimitable, you'll find a success that's God-given and rightfully yours.
Healing through prayer is also explored in a weekly magazine, the Christian Science Sentinel.