LIFE to many people seems characterized by loss. Yet loss can often be the very thing that rouses people to change their thinking about themselves. When a mistakenly based sense of self-respect is shattered, an individual may begin the search for a deeper purpose in life, which can lead him to understand man's true, sinless nature as God's child. Saul of Tarsus, for instance, zealously persecuted the followers of Christ. But when he awoke to Christ his whole outlook changed. His loss of pride and position opened the way to new selfhood and purpose, as the Apostle Paul, in obedience to God. He later wrote: ``What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.... I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.''1
Learning to live the way the Master revealed takes considerable patience and self-sacrifice. Yet it is worth the effort; as we pray humbly, we find that worldly ways of thinking are gradually replaced by spiritual perception of good that links us more closely to Christ, Truth. We are being newborn of Spirit, and bit by bit we are able to express more freely the Godlike qualities of intelligence, unselfishness, health, holiness, love.
Practicing Christianity requires a good deal more of us than learning a new skill, but it requires the same element of dedication. When I started to use a word processor, I found there was much to be learned. Although the system was ``user friendly,'' on many occasions it left me in a state of frustration at my lack of competence.
One day I sat down to answer a letter from a friend who feared she was losing her good health. I explained to her that Christian Science shows that health is a spiritual quality, a gift from God, and in reality can never get lost. As I was going over the letter, I altered my statement to read: ``True health is an emanation from God, Life, and can never be lost.'' I thought I had made the proper correction, but when I printed the letter out, at the bottom of the page were just two words: ``get lost''! I laughed; my machine had had the last word again.
In the Christian effort of mastery over self, there is nothing to talk back to us. But we do need to say ``get lost'' to fear, discouragement, and inertia.
Christ, Truth, doesn't let us be lost, but persistently seeks out and saves. As we awake to Christ and go forward in our newfound knowledge of our spiritual identity, we realize we can never lose good, for it has its source in God, Life, and we have all good not by personal ownership but by reflection. One of the facts of divine reality is that man -- our own true being -- is the reflection, the spiritual image and likeness, of God.
Christian Science teaches that the Comforter promised by the Master is a practical reality in the world, compensating human loss with the gain of spiritual good. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy2 writes: ``Man understands spiritual existence in proportion as his treasures of Truth and Love are enlarged. Mortals must gravitate Godward, their affections and aims grow spiritual, -- they must near the broader interpretations of being, and gain some proper sense of the infinite, -- in order that sin and mortality may be put off.''3 Finding our true selfhood in Christ, through enriched affections and lives, turns the feeling of loss into gain and leads us into broadening avenues of service to God and humanity.
1Philippians 3:7, 8. 2The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 3Science and Health, p. 265.
This is a condensed version of an editorial that appeared in the May 1 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.