What does it mean to be a child of God?

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

Have you ever sensed that you came from God? Everyone is a child of God. You can rely on it to be so every morning, every day, every night.

But what does it really mean to be a child of God? I have, for instance, heard people refer to everyone's being God's child in a way that is almost discouraging. In a way that suggests we have to be content - no matter how imperfect our present lot in life, no matter how unhappy and unsatisfying - because we are, after all, the child of God.

Such a conclusion might sometimes offer solace. But sometimes it also assumes that God is unwilling or unable to improve our lives. That's not what I understand it to mean to be children of the Supreme Being! The fact that we're God's should encourage an expectation of continual change for the better.

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This verse in the Bible describes total, spiritual well-being: "The king's daughter is all glorious within" (Ps. 45:13). You could just as easily say, "The king's son." We are each "all-glorious within," if we are truly the sons and daughters of "the king." We are the creation of the divine Spirit. The creator being perfect, we are the perfect outcome. God got every detail of who we are precisely right.

But can anyone prove this to be more than just theory? That was what Jesus did. Looking at the many healings of sickness and sin recorded in the Gospels, the founder of Christian Science detected in Jesus an understanding that each individual was, is, purely spiritual - was God's creation. Mary Baker Eddy saw that Jesus recognized a spiritual perfection in people - even in those individuals where various imperfections appeared to be the most glaring. And she saw that his perception brought about physical and moral recovery.

We can still find the restorative power of spiritual recognition in modern times. The perfection is still here! "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," published by Mrs. Eddy in 1875, states at one point that "the spiritual man's consciousness and individuality are reflections of God." That "they are the emanations of Him who is Life, Truth, and Love" (pg. 336).

Understanding that my identity is Godlike, and that I was made to be the "emanation" of "Life, Truth, and Love" - of God - has helped me. This understanding has benefited me physically, resulting, for example, in increasing freedom from aches and pains that I previously saw as inevitable. It has also brought me better overall health, as well as the cure of disease, when that was needed.

More important, I feel, this understanding has opened my eyes to the advantage of healing inappropriate attitudes that I used to routinely hold. Now I easily see they are unsound.

For instance, I used to detest politicians who held views contrary to my own. It was as I began to see that I, and everybody else, had from God a perfect, spiritual nature, to be discerned in the present moment, that I have learned that hatred of another person is never beneficial. That it always involves a false, incorrect view of someone. I've learned that we are all in truth children of divine Love.

On this new basis of identification, I have discovered that I can relinquish the tendency to be hateful, and instead can love each individual with whom I come into contact - all politicians included! I don't have to love what isn't good. But I do want to see each individual as a child of God. Moreover, I find that I can pray that an idea or policy will not endure if it is wrong, because it can have no support from God.

Consistently taking this approach has freed me from the bitterness that I found is tied to a cynical political outlook. This spiritual approach has also led me to consider the timeliness and benefits of policies I was previously convinced were wrong. I've come to respect the integrity and vision of many politicians whom I formerly detested.

These life-improvements characterize the proof of what it can mean to each of us that we all are indeed the children of God.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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