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Credit where credit is due

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

July 15, 2008



Sometimes humility gets a bad rap, as though it were akin to servility. On the contrary, humility is allied to divine power. As Tryon Edwards, a 19th-century American theologian, put it, "True humility is not an abject, groveling, self-despising spirit; it is but a right estimate of ourselves as God sees us."

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Jesus would have agreed. Quick to credit God for his accomplishments, Jesus constantly redirected attention from himself to God.

Jesus was arguably the most humble – and most powerful – man of all time. After healing a man who'd been lame for 33 years, he said, "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise (John 5:19). Later, as if to underscore the point, he added, "I can of mine own self do nothing."

But Jesus' insistence upon crediting God for his achievements suggests more than humility. It shows his clear understanding of his identity as the Son of God. He described that divine kinship when he said, "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30).

In her primary work, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy amplified Jesus' statement of his oneness with God, explaining that they were "one in quality, not in quantity." Then she added, "As a drop of water is one with the ocean, a ray of light one with the sun, even so God and man, Father and son, are one in being" (p. 361).

No one has ever lived the Christ as fully as Jesus did. But the Christ neither began with Jesus' birth nor ended with his ascension. As Mrs. Eddy explained, "Throughout all generations both before and after the Christian era, the Christ, as the spiritual idea, – the reflection of God, – has come with some measure of power and grace to all prepared to receive Christ, Truth" (Science and Health, p. 333).

From a spiritual perspective, we have every right to be among those "prepared to receive Christ, Truth." Each of us is God's child. The first chapter of Genesis confirms this, stating, "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (verse 27).

As the image of God, divine Spirit, we're purely spiritual. We may not always feel that way, but the way we feel doesn't change the way God created us. Rather, the change needed is a better understanding of ourselves (and others) as God's creation. The more fully we grasp that truth, the more prepared we are to live in unity with our divine source, just as Jesus did.

Mrs. Eddy described this spiritualization of thought as becoming a "transparency for Truth": "The manifestation of God through mortals is as light passing through the window-pane. The light and the glass never mingle, but as matter, the glass is less opaque than the walls. The mortal mind through which Truth appears most vividly is that one which has lost much materiality – much error – in order to become a better transparency for Truth" (Science and Health, p. 295).

Jesus so fully understood his oneness with God that he carries the title Christ Jesus, which denotes his Godlike nature. None of us is known by the title Christ, but we can live more Christlike lives by becoming better transparencies for Truth. In fact, Jesus urged us to do just that. He said, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16).

As the light of Christ shines through us, we redirect attention from ourselves to God, giving credit where credit is due. What's more, as our good works glorify God, we demonstrate our oneness with Him, just as Jesus did.

It is God which worketh in you
both to will and to do
of his good pleasure.
Philippians 2:13

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