Last week, practically all the news reports included discussion of two outstanding major league baseball players - Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa - and their latest home run accomplishments. A record for home runs in a single season that had stood for 37 years has fallen, and two players are exhibiting the kinds of skills that set the record in the first place.
I watched McGwire break the record of 61 homers. It was so much fun to see him do it at home, in front of the hometown fans. Obviously, he had to work really hard and earn that 62nd home run. The potential to hit that many - and more - was always there, and this is the year he's proving it can be done.
It made me think of something everyone already possesses, and the ways we find it. Jesus said it is "the kingdom of God" that is "within" us (see Luke 17:21). This kingdom is our nature. Some would say it is our spiritual perfection. We each have a perfect, spiritual nature. The reason is that God is Spirit, and God is perfect. Since like produces like, God creates us perfectly spiritual.
This nature isn't something we have to earn. Spiritual perfection isn't something that is given to us only if we pray and work hard. No, it's something we already and forever have. Why? Because we always reflect God.
Our work is to prove our spiritual perfection. Now, that isn't easy. But it is simpler than first having to attain it and then having to prove it.
"The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works," said Jesus (John 14:10). He said this for himself; but also for the rest of us. Aren't you glad you don't have to go at life alone? As the reflection of God, our possibilities aren't restricted by environment or heredity. Instead, we're free to prove that the kingdom of God - perfection, attainment, good works - is within us, and that nothing can stop us from expressing God to the fullest.
Mary Baker Eddy, the person who founded this newspaper, wrote, "It is possible, - yea, it is the duty and privilege of every child, man, and woman, - to follow in some degree the example of the Master by the demonstration of Truth and Life, of health and holiness" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Pg. 37).
Our spiritual perfection means we possess health. And through prayer, we can see the proof of this expressed in physical healing and well-being. But this isn't a process of changing sick, material bodies into healthy ones. Christian healing doesn't restore or create health. Its effect is to reveal to us the wholeness and perfection God is already expressing in His spiritual creation.
I had an opportunity to prove this for myself in college, on the baseball field. In one game I collided with a catcher at home plate and broke my collarbone. I chose to rely on prayer for healing. At first, my premise for prayer was mistaken. I believed incorrectly that I was a material man with a broken bone in need of mending.
That didn't help at all, so instead I set about correcting not a material collarbone but the false belief that God's spiritual expression, my actual identity, could somehow be injured.
To believe a lie so strongly is actually a form of hypnotism - self-hypnotism. Yet I could feel God's presence and assurance when I realized that nothing could make me believe a lie about myself. I began and ended my prayer by knowing that my only true identity is spiritual and perfect because it's the image of God. I decided to acknowledge only God and what God was expressing in me.
A couple of hours later, I noticed that the bone was healed - completely! The healing had occurred as my eyes were glued on God, so to speak. I went to baseball practice, and to my surprise I began playing better than I ever had. All of a sudden I had much more power when batting. And it wasn't long before I hit fourth in our lineup.
"The kingdom of God" is within everyone of us. Our potential is unlimited when we yield to the fact that we are God's expression. When we watch people like McGwire and Sosa achieve excellence, we can be encouraged - because there is nothing to keep us from proving in God's own ways what we really are.