ISN'T it true that whatever rules our heart takes the lead in determining what happens in our lives?
Perhaps that's why the Apostle Paul so often endorsed the spirit of love characterized so perfectly by Christ Jesus as the rightful ruler of every heart. In his letter to the Galatians Paul says, "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Paul himself is an example of what can happen to someone when the Christ-spirit rules the heart. The book of Acts in the Bible describes Paul, before he adopted the teachings of Christ Jesus, as "breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord. And yet he eventually yielded to the love of the spirit of Christ, which completely transformed him into a devoted follower of Christ Jesus. This "spirit isn't a mysterious thing that is meant for some hearts but not for others. It actua lly derives from the one Spirit, and that is God, infinite Spirit. Spirit is the universal God, the creator of all. That word infinite is important because it means that Spirit penetrates everywhere-- even to what may seem for the time a resistant or hardened heart.
Since the love of divine Spirit for what it creates is as universal and impartial as is God Himself, it too extends to all space and is meant for everyone. Jesus, of course, best demonstrated what it means actually to embody this spirit or presence of love. Everywhere in the record of his life we find clear proof of the presence and activity of divine Spirit. The evident power of the spirit that ruled Jesus stood out to Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. She says of him in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "Through the magnitude of his human life, he demonstrated the divine Life. Out of the amplitude of his pure affection, he defined Love. With the affluence of Truth, he vanquished error.
Jesus is so closely identified with this spirit of love that he is known as Christ Jesus. Jesus, of course, was the unique and special man who brought God's word to mankind. Christ expresses the action, the power, spirit, and love of God's nature.
Since divine Spirit has existed forever, Christ also has existed forever. We can see it in the many brave, spiritually-minded hearts that came before Jesus. Daniel, for example, facing the lions. Or Moses, meekly leading his people from Egypt. Or David, meeting and defeating Goliath. This same Christ-spirit is present to fill our lives today. It's the natural effect of a loving, all-powerful God who is always with His people and who guides us unfailingly when we turn to Him with all our heart.
Paul changed when the Christ-spirit captured his heart. If we are to have stronger families, better communities, and a better world, then our individual hearts will have to change as much as Paul's did. There is really only one reliable force that can bring about this change. It is the Christ-spirit. In fact, God Himself, by His sending forth this "Spirit of his Son into our hearts, brings about the needed changes. We can want to change very much. But mere human effort alone will invariably fall short. I t's only when we feel deeply the love of the spirit of Christ that character growth and change are spontaneous and permanent because then they are the result of the transforming power of God's love.
As we are moved to seek this Christ-spirit, we begin to find that it is ours already. Paul does say "Because ye are sons, and we are all children of God. Our seeking, study, and prayer lead us to live the truths found in the Bible. And this seeking reveals the love of divine Love, of God, that already lives within us. It helps us be the individual that we really are. It brings us home to our place as children of God.