Adoration and admiration

People who love God find themselves worshiping Him regularly. This means they give their time and thought, their attention and love, to Him. Prayer is a very natural -- and, in fact, imperative -- way to show our devotion to God.

In discussing the Lord's Prayer in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m Mary Baker Eddy n1 gives the spiritual significance of each line of the prayer. After the statement "Hallowed be Thy name" she offers, "Adorable One."m n2 She uses the concept of adoration sparingly, reserving it primarily for an attitude toward God and His Christ.

n1 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.

n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 16.

Adoration for God leads to a de-emphasis of mortal personality and directs us to a right appreciation of the good in others. In recent decades there have been many people deserving of credit for their contributions to mankind. But that credit is best given when we sort out the differences between the person's strengths and failings and look more toward the qualities that can make an individual useful to society. Ultimately those are always spirtitual qualities. In fact, they constitute one's true individuality.

What's wrong with dwelling on mortal personality? Why should we look beyond material characteristics in an effort to perceive more lasting attributes that may be trying to surface in a person's life? The reason really has to do with the instability that comes when we direct our adoration toward a mortal rather than toward the good that impels each of us.

To emphasize a mortal, whether he's playing the role of a statesman, a celebrity, or even a local hero, can ultimately place the individual in a very difficult and unfair position. Perhaps a classic example of such a situation was Paul's healing of the crippled man at Lystra. The people were so overwhelmingly impressed that they practically made gods out of Paul and his companion Barnabas. The two men tried to reason with the people: "Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein.

n3 Acts 14:15.

But the people didn't listen. Before long the crowds were off in the opposite direction. They turned against Paul, and it practically cost him his life. A vital lesson is illustrated in this incident. Only by acknowledging God's preeminent position as creator and motivator of all good works can we feel our -- and another's -- place in God's creation as His spiritual manifestation.

We can certainly have an appreciation for whatever is valuable in any person's life. But proper admiration of someone doesn't mean adoration of that person. If we want to be truly just to another and to ourselves we'll move beyond human emotion and its emphasis on mortal personality; we'll be discerning enough to recognize that God is man's source, his very Life.

That which is good comes from God. In fact, any good that man expresses has its origin in God. We can bring more good into our own lives and help preserve the good that others express by lending our adoration to the source of good, God Himself. Out of this comes the right kind of recognition, and appreciation, of God's man.

When we develop our view of others in this light, we'll have a much more balanced and accurate perception of them. We won't be thrown off balance when human weaknesses surface, nor will we unduly burden people by defining their personality as the source of any good they may express. We'll find ourselves and those who merit our admiration on much steadier ground, and we'll be contributing protection to ourselves and others from the alternating extremes of mortal thought -- misguided adoration or blind hostility.

A wonderful steadying influence emerges as we turn our full adoration to God and recognize Him as the origin of the good His child expresses. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed. O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come. Psalms 65:1,2

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