A Life of One's Own?

WANT to live my own life!'' The speaker could be a questioning teenager, a dissatisfied adult, or even someone who has been the victim of some gross injustice. This desire to make one's own decisions, to be in responsible control of one's own life 209>isn't this something we all want? But do we really have a life that we can live totally separate from others? We don't, do we? We depend on others for so many things that we couldn't 209>and wouldn't actually want to 209>try to live separately. But more than this, our lives are always dependent on God, who is divine Life!

Christ Jesus taught profound lessons in a simple way 209>by parables. His parable of the prodigal son tells the result of a man's attempt to live a separate "life'' that attempted to ignore both his fellowman and God. After spending his inheritance in the pursuit of this selfish goal, the young man was reduced to destitution. It was at this point that "he came to himself,'' as Luke's Gospel records, and resolved to go home, admit his unworthiness, and throw himself on his father's mercy. But such was his father's love that the repentant son was received w ith great rejoicing.

Human life, seen from the standpoint of the selfish material senses, involves chance, disappointment, discord, suffering, failure. On the other hand, life viewed as spiritual existence, as the outcome or expression of God, can have no element of chance or uncertainty, since God is infinite good and expresses nothing but good throughout His creation. This spiritual view is, in fact, the only reality 209>and we can't get outside of this realm of infinite good.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, states in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "The sinful misconception of Life as something less than God, having no truth to support it, falls back upon itself.'' The concept of Life as God is one of the great themes of the Bible. And, of course, it was the basis of Christ Jesus' life of prayer and communion with God. Jesus demonstrated the power of divine Life, of God, in countless healings of sin, of all kinds of sicknes s, and even of death. Indeed, whenever individuals 209>in ancient or modern times 209>have recognized and accepted this tremendous fact that Life is God, wonderful things have happened.

When we begin to see that evil, which seems so fearsome and real in our experience and in the world at large, is based upon this "misconception of Life as something less than God,'' we begin to glimpse also that such a misconception is a denial of God's allness and of man's eternal status as God's beloved son. And our desire to live not "our own'' life but the life that reflects our creator grows in us. Living the Life that is God unfolds dominion, order, and harmony in our lives.

How can we express more fully the Life that is God? We can start by following the Bible's guidelines: the Ten Commandments for example, which are found in Exodus, and Christ Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, which is recorded in Matthew. Then, step by step we'll learn how to challenge the belief that our lives are selfish, matter-based, limited. And we'll find, as we pray conscientiously and persistently to understand God better, that we're able to express in our daily thoughts and acts more of the Christl y qualities of obedience, purity, serenity, and selfless love. As John's Gospel records Jesus' words: "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.'' This is the life we can all learn to live - life as the reflection of divine Life, God. Then, as the father in the parable assured his older son, we will hear our heavenly Father telling us, "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.''

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