Practicing Christianity

IF you knew that Christianity overcomes discord--poverty, insecurity, sickness--wouldn't you want to behave in a way that brought this change into your life? We may not live in Christ Jesus' time, but we can still live by what he taught.This isn't an impossible task when we recognize that Christ Jesus was teaching us about our own genuine identity as God's spiritual, perfect creation. As we begin to understand man's true selfhood more clearly, we find it natural to practice true Christianity to an ever greater degree in our everyday lives. We can see, then, that Christianity cannot be molded and modified to fit various lifestyles. It is we who must conform our thoughts and actions to the example set by Christ Jesus, if we would avail ourselves of the healing, saving, blessing power of Christianity, which he practiced. Christianity has become neither impotent nor irrelevant, but we need to adhere to its standards-- standards that are essential to its practice and results. Most people are willing to give up sickness, disease, lack, discord. But the supposed pleasures of sin may seem harder to give up. Christ Jesus, however, made it clear that sin must be rooted out so that healing can occur. And he frequently rebuked sin as well as healing physical ills. In one instance, John's Gospel records, he told a man whom he healed of a longstanding infirmity, "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. What it ultimately boils down to is not whether we are able to follow Christ's example in today's world, but whether we are willing to make the effort required to gather spiritual treasures. Christ Jesus counseled, we read in the book of Matthew: "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. When what Christianity has to offer is more desirable to us than the unfulfilled promises of unchristly temptations, we will be able to make a start toward practicing Christianity as Jesus and his disciples did. "Man walks in the direction towards which he looks, and where his treasure is, there will his heart be also, writes the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. And she continues, "If our hopes and affections are spiritual, th ey come from above, not from beneath, and they bear as of old the fruits of the Spirit. I remember well what it was like being addicted to tobacco. There was no peace from the constant craving. But whenever I tried to quit, I always cheated. Until I finally decided that being obedient to Christ's standards--so that I could better apply Christianity in my life--was more important to me than smoking. The craving didn't leave right away, but what I was learning of spiritual reality enabled me to persevere in my efforts. The desire for cigarettes did finally end, and I have had no wish to smok e for several years now. My desire to be able to demonstrate Christianity overcame the addiction. In its place is the growing sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that comes from within-- from a growing understanding of my relationship to God, in which He is continually providing all that truly satisfies! I have also become better at practicing Christ's teachings, which means I am more successful in healing illness and discord in my life. Of course I still have plenty of room for improvement in my behavior so that I may continue to practice scientific Christianity better. But by persistently conforming ourselves to the example of Christ we become more and more able to apply Christ's timeless Christianity to overcoming discord; and we find more God-derived freedom appearing in our lives.

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