IN the garden near my home there is a beautiful big chestnut tree. When I went away recently, this lovely tree appeared lifeless and drab, with no hint of the beauty I knew it would eventually express. But when I returned I was happy to see it once more covered with fat green buds, ready to burst out and fulfill its promise of great beauty. This is nothing very special -- it happens every spring. But I felt there was a lesson to be learned from the tree. The Bible tells us, ``There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.''1 Just as beauty and fruition were lying dormant within the tree, so there is within each one of us a tremendous potential for the unfoldment of good in our lives because of the ``spirit in man.'' God is working in us, as the Bible teaches.2 And in fact our true selfhood is an expression of the divinenature, the spiritual image of our Father-Mother God, who is Spirit.
Man's spirituality -- and the freedom and blessings inherent in it -- is a fact, but this fact must be acknowledged, even in the face of material evidence to the contrary. If our experience is drab and unfruitful, it can begin to change for the better as we awaken to the fact of our true selfhood as children of a wholly spiritual creator. This awakening is forwarded through prayer, through purification of thought, through deepening study of the Bible's inspired message.
It may appear challenging, and highly impractical, to claim our spiritual identity in today's troubled world, but wasn't a perception of this reality an important part of Jesus' healing ministry? Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has written: ``Jesus taught but one God, one Spirit, who makes man in the image and likness of Himself, -- of Spirit, not of matter. Man reflects infinite Truth, Life, and Love.''3 The all-loving nature of our creator could not manifest itself in sickness, sin, or inharmony of any kind. This would be utterly foreign to a God who is infinite good, and because of this we can begin to challenge anything not of His creating and question its validity in our experience.
For instance, one night I awoke in pain.Immediately I began to pray, turning my thought to God and endeavoring to realize my unity with Him as His beloved child. I knew He would never create or sanction pain and distress. However, the difficulty persisted. But that week I had been studying to know more of the true nature of God, of His ever-present care and omnipotence, and I was struck by this thought: ``You have been learning that God, divine Love, is the supreme and only power there is, so how can you possibly have an all-powerful God and pain at the same time?'' Of course, I could not. The logic was beautiful, plain, and totally acceptable. I knew that divine Love and discord are irreconcilable. The pain immediately ceased, and I slept peacefully. So what had happened? I had not done anything physically. Wasn't it that as a result of prayer ``the inspiration of the Almighty'' had come to my distressed thought to free it from belief in a power opposed to God, good? With the acceptance of His total control and power the pain naturally disappeared.
When we acknowledge and come to discern the fact of our spirituality, cherishing every evidence of good we see in ourselves and others, we open our thought to the freedom that is our God-bestowed right, and our circumstances inevitably improve.
If we see a lovely tree beside still water and then look at the reflection, we seethe same beauty faithfully reflected -- we would not expect to see a stunted shrub! So it is with man. He is the reflection of Spirit, and his true nature is Godlike.
Speaking of man, Mrs. Eddy writes, ``Spirit is his primitive and ultimate source of being; God is his Father, and Life is the law of his being.''4 The ``spirit in man'' enables us to glimpse this reality. And the results are progress and healing.
1Job 32:8. 2See Philippians 2:13. 3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 94. 4Ibid., p. 63.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. Romans 8:16