Whenever you consistently make space in your life to allow spiritual perfection to be not a far-off goal, but your present standpoint, good things always happen. Lack, sickness, and sin can’t help but evaporate as spiritual reality comes gently and clearly into view.
What is spiritual perfection? And, in practical terms, what is a good basis for making spiritual perfection your present standpoint? This perfection actually is found in nothing less than the nature of God. The real essence of you and me originates in the nature of the all-encompassing reality that is divine Spirit, God. Jesus saw this clearly and experienced it, as Mary Baker Eddy explains: “In his resurrection and ascension, Jesus showed that a mortal man is not the real essence of manhood, and that this unreal material mortality disappears in presence of the reality” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 292–293).
As a creation of God, you’ll never take a journey into and out of materiality. To grasp this does much toward helping you make spiritual perfection your present standpoint. It’s the nature of God, not the nature of physicality, that determines your present status. God didn’t make you a small, separate, although perfect, creation. Separation plays no part in the relation of man to God. There is only one God; there is only one perfection—God’s perfection!
The world would have us believe that we’re men and women of dust, without a purpose or future in life. But our nature is God’s doing. Our origin is in God only, and that’s why we exist—to show forth God’s present perfection, essence, and nature.
We should be filling our thought with the right model, which is the “new man.”
The worldly model of material existence is an old, stifling, even depressing model. That’s why the Apostle Paul shook people up with a call for them to “put off the old man with his deeds,” and instead “put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Colossians 3:9, 10).
There is only one God; there is only one perfection—God’s perfection!
I find that sometimes when people pray they completely forget to put off that old model of man. The result? Their confidence vanishes. Mary Baker Eddy echoed Paul’s words when speaking with the members of her household one Easter Sunday morning: “You must get rid of the ‘old man,’ the old woman; you cannot make them better and keep them. You are not getting rid of the old man if you try to make him better. If you should succeed in making him better, he would stay with you. If you patch up the old and say it is good enough, you do not put it off, but keep it. If you try to make the old satisfactory, you are preparing to keep it, not to put it off” (We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, Expanded Edition, Vol. II, p. 167).
Through my study of the Bible and Mrs. Eddy’s writings, I have learned that within the scope of thought, which is our arena for prayer, we should rejoice whenever we recognize that we aren’t in the least interested in patching up some old material concept of man (or woman)—someone, who in the final analysis, doesn’t really even exist. Instead, we should be filling our thought with the right model, which is the “new man,” who is nothing less than the express image of God.
God’s wholeness is intact. Every minute of the day, you and every other “new man” are the effects of this blessed, entirely spiritual wholeness. Why try to make spiritual truths work within a framework of limited matter, when all is God? “Rejoice, for thou art whole,” says the last line of a well-loved hymn (John Randall Dunn, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 374, © CSBD). As you rejoice in the wholeness and perfection God expresses in you, you’ll show less respect for disease, sin, and death.
Think, for example, of Jesus’ meeting with a crippled woman who had been bent over for 18 years and was unable to stand up straight. It took just one command from Jesus to free her completely: “Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity” (see Luke 13:11–17). Instant relief like that comes when what threatens us is recognized as nothing more than a lie that must be squelched with truth.
What’s the point of declaring in prayer that all is God and God’s expression, if undermining the declaration is a concrete belief in a helpless, human being? “There is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him,” says the Bible (I Corinthians 8:6). As we pray, the canvas of consciousness must reflect the perfect model—the perfection of God present in God’s creation.
How grateful we can be that all real mental space is owned by God. God doesn’t replace inferior images of mortality with better images of the same mortality; healing comes when mental pictures are of God only.
So, invite God’s “new man” into your thought and be comforted. The Psalmist sang, “In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul” (Psalms 94:19). Your present spirituality, including your invincible expression of God’s perfection, can never really be your goal since it is already and entirely your present standpoint.
Mark Swinney is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher, who teaches his classes in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He’s also a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship.
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