When times get tough, learning more about the kingdom of God may not seem like a priority. But doing exactly that opens the door to solutions that meet our needs, as a man experienced firsthand after he hit rock bottom.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
Loading the player...

There was a time in my experience when I hit rock bottom. I felt I had lost everything. I was angry with God, because I thought I had done everything right – been obedient to the Ten Commandments, tried to treat others like I wanted to be treated. But so many things weren’t working out. I felt as if God weren’t delivering on the things I needed, and that I wasn’t being rewarded for the good life I had been trying to live.

At some point during my regular study of the Bible and the textbook of Christian Science, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, I came across this statement: “What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds” (Science and Health, p. 4).

That was a real game changer. On the surface, the answer to what we most need might seem pretty obvious – food, water, clothing, and shelter. But Christian Science teaches that there’s a whole other dimension to consider here, the dimension Christ Jesus revealed to us.

In some of his most important teachings, recorded in the Bible as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught his students not to focus too much on what food they would eat or what clothes they would wear. Instead, he said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

Jesus’ answer to what we most need is quite different from what the physical senses suggest. As we seek the kingdom of God and divine righteousness, we discover that our most fundamental need is to express the joy and goodness God has already given each of us. That’s not to say we should go without the meeting of all our basic human needs, including food, water, and clothing, but that our mental starting point makes a big difference in our experience, including in having these needs taken care of.

The kingdom of God, Jesus said, isn’t something we see with our eyes, but is within each of us. Science and Health says of Jesus, “He plunged beneath the material surface of things, and found the spiritual cause” (p. 313). Jesus’ entire ministry was spent showing his followers the effects of pursuing the understanding of the kingdom of God, who cares for all of His spiritual offspring. This understanding empowers us to demonstrate God’s limitless care.

What I most needed, I realized, wasn’t about getting something I didn’t have. Rather, it was about expressing, or giving, what I was capable of and already did have: patience, meekness, love, goodness. These and other qualities like them emanate from God, who created each of us as the spiritual reflection of His purity and love. Another statement in Science and Health amplifies this theme: “Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love – the kingdom of heaven – reign within us, and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear” (p. 248).

As I thought more deeply about all this, I felt I was being shown that God’s presence had been there all along, leading me to realize that what I most needed wasn’t “out there” somewhere, but present, here and now. The peace and assurance I needed were already within me as God’s child, constituted of spiritual qualities that are forever here in infinite supply, always available to be expressed.

As I began to more consciously express qualities such as patience, meekness, unselfishness, goodness, love – truly, the kingdom of heaven within all of us – my circumstances changed. My human needs were abundantly met, and have consistently been met ever since.

What we most need isn’t about getting; it’s about giving of the qualities that God is forever revealing within each of us, evidencing the kingdom of heaven.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.