This One Thing I Do
“This one thing I do” is the key to success in life. It of course makes a difference what that “one thing” is; but whatever you decide to do, do it with all your might. Do it as if it were the only thing in the universe, and you cannot fail. Observation proves that this is true: Look about you in the world and you will find that those who succeed follow some one ideal and stick to it, to the exclusion of everything else.
We are following the spiritual side of life, and the question naturally arises, Can we apply this law of singleness of purpose to spiritual principles, and can we have success in applying it in the same proportion that we find people in the world having? Our answer is that, in the spiritual realm, singleness of purpose is more potent than in the natural realm. Again and again the wise in spiritual things have called our attention to the necessity of singleness of purpose in attaining the kingdom.
The most successful people in demonstrating the power of the Spirit have been the Jews. Their history shows that they differed from all other religious people in this one respect; that they worshiped one God, while the Gentiles had many gods. You remember the sermon that Paul preached to the Athenians on Mars Hill in which he told them that he had observed that they were superstitious, but that he came to proclaim the character of the unknown God, to whom they had erected an altar. It is said that there were 3000 images of gods in Athens at this time.
The Jewish people have, through the worship of the one God, developed a certain center of life, energy, vitality and force of character that has distinguished them wherever they have been. They are a peculiar people, and that peculiarity is the result of singleness of purpose in spiritual things. Not that they are necessarily more spiritual than others, but they have a vital force in them which could only have been brought about through great concentration of thought upon some one idea. This concentration of thought has not always expressed itself in the accumulation of material things. If you were asked the dominant characteristic of the Jewish people you would doubtless say, “The getting of money.” That is the material outpicturing of a spiritual idea. The mind can concentrate upon the One God and become Jesus, or it can throw that same concentration upon gold and become Judas. Jacob, by sharp practices, got away with all the cattle of his father-in-law. He represents the man who sees the power of spiritual ideas, but reduces them to a material basis. But Jacob finally had his famine.
[TruthUnity note: Charles Fillmore appears to be propagating an an anti-semitic stereotype in the above paragraph. I have chosen to leave it in because the point he is making is about the Jewish people worshiping one God, not money; the example he gives is about Jacob, a Biblical character, not the Jewish people; and because such prejudicial comments were common in the 1910s. In other words, the paragraph is ambiguous even though it would not be acceptable by contemporary standards.]
A large idea will work out in large ways. A man’s acts never reach higher than his ideals. If we would do great things we must have great ideals. What is the largest and greatest idea that you can conceive? You will say at once, “Divine Mind.” It is the imminent force in the universe; it is the one source of life, substance and intelligence in man. Then if we would have all success, let us turn our attention to that and make it the ideal and the impetus of everything that we do. Will there be any lack of success in our lives if we are true to this One Mighty Idea? No. We will be pushed to every goal in spite of seeming weakness, in spite of seeming inability. The question is. How true are we to the One God?
Some people say that success depends upon a good constitution, and it is true that health does play a large part in the drama of life. People sometimes fail because they have not the mental and physical stamina. They have not continually drawn upon the One Infinite Life as the basis of health. It is necessary then that we look to Divine Mind, the One God, as the source of our health, and establish ourselves in his strength and wholeness.
You who have had experience in following this law will testify that you always get abiding health when you look to God. But we meet people every day who claim to be followers of the One God, who is the health of his people, and yet who resort to all kinds of remedies to attain health. Then they wonder why they are not successful; they wonder why they have ills. A lady said to me the other day,
“I don’t understand why I don’t get well. I am doing everything to get health. I am trying right now the healing waters of a famous medical spring, and I am taking a tonic, and have two doctors, and a trained nurse, and I’ve just tried everything, and you people have been treating me, too. Now I would just like to know why I don’t get well?”
It never seemed to occur to her that she had a divided mind, that she was scattering her ideas, and getting farther and farther from the One Life Source. We smile at her when we understand the necessity of singleness of mind in spiritual healing, but perhaps, like this woman, if we had not had our attention called to the proposition, we would have asked in all innocence why it was we were not made well when we were so indefatigable in our efforts.
It is necessary that we understand that there is one great underlying Principle of Life. It is not material, but spiritual. You can t get life out of materiality any more than you can get blood out of a turnip. Life comes from Spirit. It is generated in the spiritual consciousness in man, and the more you call upon that inner spiritual consciousness, the more your mind works with this spiritual Principle of Life, the more you build up your vitality.
We all want more vitality, more abundant life. We want to be vitalized and energized and quickened and made powerful and strong by the One Spirit. How shall this be brought about? By looking to a thousand and one outer aids? By taking a little of this and a little of that, and believing what the mixed medical science of the day says? Certainly not! Of course, one can work on that plane, and sometimes seem to have a measure of success, but it isn’t lasting; it isn’t permanent; it isn’t true. We can attain health only through singleness of purpose to the one Source of Health, which is the source of everything, the Supreme Mind and its Word, Christ.
If you want success financially, remember that God is your Resource. “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” Then be single to the one thought, “God is my supply and support.” Welcome all that comes, but see it as coming from Divine Mind. Give thanks to God constantly for plenty, and you will find that the idea of abundance will become a plastic working principle in your mind, and through your mind, into all of your affairs. Be single to the idea of abundance, see abundance, talk abundance, think abundance; do not let any other thought come into your mind, and you will demonstrate abundance in spite of all adversities.
In matters of wisdom and understanding and knowledge, the same law holds good. Be true to the spiritual Principle of Knowing and let no other thought come into consciousness. God is the Great Wisdom. Center your thoughts constantly on the omnipresence of Knowledge, and it will educate your brain. If you wish to understand the Spirit of this Bible, take God into your mind as the all-informing Life, and the light of Divine Mind will be thrown into your consciousness and you will know whatever you wish to know.
“Be ye therefore perfect,” said Jesus, “even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” We have thought that was an impossibility. How could man be as perfect as God? The answer is simple. God is the One Mind and we are the offspring of that Mind. We are its expression and it is striving to express itself in us in its fullness. Cannot the spring rise as high as its source? Why put any limits upon it? It must be a joy to the Divine Mind to find someone in the world who will stand up and let it express itself in him in all of its fullness. That is what made Jesus Christ greater than the ordinary man. He was willing to let the fullness of God into his mind and body. If we were, every one of us, willing to let this One God, this One Mind, express itself in us as Infinite Wisdom, as Unfailing Life, as constantly increasing supply and support, as eternal goodness, could we ever fail in any of these things? It would be impossible. Then let us do this one thing, be true to the God Likeness. Behold as in a mirror the image of the One Ideal and become like it.