True Individuality

YEARS ago I was shopping for clothing in a women's store. As I browsed, a girl very clearly said, ``Mom, look at this.'' About half a dozen ``moms,'' including me, turned to look at the blouse she was holding! We all chuckled at each other. The correct two paired off, and the rest of us continued with our own shopping. All of us ``moms'' were different, but we responded individually to that term mom by expressing the qualities of motherhood. We naturally responded with the patience, nurturing, and loving interest of our true selfhood.

This incident brought to my attention something from the Bible, from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew's Gospel. Christ Jesus asked, ``Why take ye thought for raiment?'' (6:28). Standing there in the store, I realized more clearly that the particular style of clothing I had been searching for was not any part of my true identity. We each have our own individuality. It isn't, however, determined in material ways such as the kind of clothes we wear or how our hair is styled.

That day it became more fun to search for my spiritual identity than it was to find that ``perfect outfit.'' And since then I haven't had to spend as much time and effort thinking about what to wear or buy. What's even better, my inclination to judge or classify others by what they wear has also diminished. Discover-ing and responding to Godlike qual-ities expressed by individuals has become a rewarding activity. Isn't this spiritualization of thought the Christ at work in consciousness?

Christ furnishes and clothes us in beauty, holiness, and color. To be moved by the Christ-spirit--to be humble yet strong, forgiving yet faithful--is indeed to image forth our true, spiritual selfhood. This mental state can never be lost, go out of style, or wear out. And because it has its source in God, Spirit, identity never fades away. God is infinite. His creation, man, is like Him. Individual man is distinct and unquestionably defined. We each have purpose and uniqueness that are revealed as we look to man's inherent Christliness.

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, explains the spiritual and true individuality of man and of spiritual existence in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. In this book she points out: ``The individuality of man is no less tangible because it is spiritual and because his life is not at the mercy of matter. The understanding of his spiritual individuality makes man more real, more formidable in truth, and enables him to conquer sin, disease, and death'' (p. 317).

This understanding assures us that because God is Spirit, man is spiritual. Because there is one God there is one Spirit. The spirit, mood, or color of Spirit is appropriate, joyful, and beautiful. Spirit originates, or issues forth, spiritual man to manifest these qualities. The style or fashion of Spirit is goodwill to all. It is natural to accept that these traits really distinguish us.

Turning thought to God supports and empowers man to express the individuality that is solely derived from and preserved by God, divine Spirit. In the light of this spiritual knowledge, our true color and intent appear. Christ Jesus best showed us this true man. And as we come to see that a false sense of God and man has no power or reality, nothing can stop us from following Jesus' pattern, from being healthy and happy.

Clothed with the love and grace of Christ, man is free from opposition or awkwardness. Clothes, hair, or material makeup do not make man distinct. Our individuality is spiritual. It consists of Godlike qualities made manifest. Our true, God-created individuality is spiritual, and perpetually expresses beauty and style because it has its source in God.

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