Christliness

SPRINGTIME delivered a muddy quagmire to the barnyard on the farm where I grew up. Every day after school I had to wade through it to reach the barn to do my chores.

One day Dad noticed my difficulty. He dropped what he was doing, drove his old pickup to the orchard, loaded it with large stones, and laid a path across the muddy barnyard. That path lasted years. It might still be there!

Remembering those stones makes me think of Christliness. Our lives may at times seem muddy and difficult. But the spirit and love so richly evident in Christ Jesus' life can lay an enduring path for our journey.

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Jesus' disciples faced a rough road ahead when, shortly before his crucifixion, Jesus tried to prepare them for the events to come. Without their Master they were unsure of what to do. Thomas even asked, John's Gospel records: "How can we know the way? Jesus answered, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Jesus knew "the way so well that we identify him with Christ. And this Christ remains active for us today. Just as no loving father would leave his child to s truggle without a path in the mud, so God never abandons His creation. The love of divine Love, of God, creates man and envelops him in love. Love is there all the time. That's the nature of God.

The nature of man is to respond to God's love. Isn't this what Jesus did so well? His way of meeting difficult human situations is the perfect example of Christliness in action. He didn't strike out at difficulties. Instead he responded with meekness, com- passion, lovingkindness, hope, humility, forgiveness. Jesus expressed these qualities of Christliness as no one else ever has. And they made him the victor, not the victim.

Christian Science can show us why endeavoring to live these Christly virtues ourselves can make the big difference when problems mount in our daily lives. Isn't it true that if we respond, for example, with anger or avoidance, things get worse, not better? But when we respond with meekness and love, we align ourselves with the authority that is part of God's love for man.

The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "Meekness and charity have divine authority.

I know someone who proved this at work. He is a supervisor of a very fast-moving operation. At one time, early in his career, he found that many small interruptions plagued his day. He often reacted with annoyance and anger. But the interruptions continued. In fact, they got worse!

Then my friend began to think about Christliness with regard to his job. Meekness was a moral quality that he had been gaining a growing love for, and he felt that at home he was actually able to be more meek than previously. But he didn't feel very meek at work when he felt deluged with interruptions.

As he prayed and followed through on this spiritual reasoning, he saw that the meekness he felt at home was natural--and that it belonged in every part of his life. This led him to see something about the interruptions at work: working out answers to the problems presented was, in fact, part of his work! He had always felt the questions were distractions that were not part of the job. Now he saw that they were part of the larger contribution he could be making at work.

Thinking of them in this way allowed his increasing love for meekness to flow into his job. He never thought of distractions and interruptions in the same way. And of course, the actual number of interruptions grew fewer as he persisted in viewing them in this new light.

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