Examples to Follow
MOST of us have known someone who makes us want to do better and be better. And our desire to improve doesn't always stem simply from a desire for approval. We're confronted with an example of goodness so compelling that it lifts us right up along with it!
I was thinking about people who had set such examples for me--and I've certainly known some fine ones. But even their lives pale beside the goodness Christ Jesus lived and taught. He lifted the thought of receptive listeners, in every age, to a radically new understanding of God and man, of life, of happiness, and of health. So effective was the truth he taught that it brought healing to many of those listening.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, describes in lively terms the actual effect Jesus had on people's everyday lives. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she writes, "The divine nature was best expressed in Christ Jesus, who threw upon mortals the truer reflection of God and lifted their lives higher than their poor thought-models would allow,--thoughts which presented man as fallen, sick, sinning, and dying.
We may often turn to others to help us lift our own thought. But the real source of this inspired thought that heals is always God. Jesus was able to inspire and heal others because he knew God to be the source of man's true being. He once said, John's Gospel records, "When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
God's nature is not beset with problems, difficulties, shortcomings, and the like. God is divine Spirit. Then, man, who reflects God, must be spiritual and perfect. God knows nothing less than perfection in all that He creates. So man reflects the spiritual freedom and perfection found in God. And God communicates His love and perfection to man. We may believe that the things that are definite and solid are material in form--like an apple or a table. But far more real and permanent are the solid spiritua l realities that are God's thoughts. These are what make the real difference in our lives.
In the Bible there are many examples of individuals who obeyed God and enabled others to lift up their thoughts to obedience to Him, as well. Nehemiah was one such person. It fell to him to spearhead the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem, which had been broken down and burned. Nehemiah trusted God's "great power and "strong hand, as it says in the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah's spiritual vision was drawn from God, not from a public opinion poll, and it inspired and roused the people to take up and compl ete the task despite the obstacles and opposition that faced them.
Have you ever thought of yourself as being someone who could inspire others to greater good? No matter where we are, there is no end to opportunities to follow Christ Jesus in our own lives and let our spiritual light shine for others to see. The Bible is our unfailing guide.
As we make God central to our thoughts and lives, we're better able to see situations in a spiritual light. New possibilities emerge. Previously unthought-of solutions appear.
The springboard for our own activity in lifting up the thought of mankind is our own moral growth. Continually striving to hear and obey God puts muscle--spiritual strength--into our thinking. Then our own love of God and joy in obeying Him will lift others up right along with us.