In my early teens I was a fan of Princess Grace of Monaco. If I could have had one wish, it would have been to look like her. She was so beautiful and full of grace. I got my mother to make me a dress identical to one of hers, and I wore my hair in the same style as hers. I read everything I could find about her.
"Harmless enough," you might say; "typical teenage behavior." But in later years I read something in the book of First John in the Bible that steered me away from idol worship: "Little children, keep yourselves from idols" (5:21). I believe John was telling us to be careful not to let anything take the place of God in our hearts. His was one more reminder of what Moses had said thousands of years before: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them" (Exodus 20:3-5). Truly, through obsessiveness you can make an idol out of anything or anyone in life. A baby can become your idol, if your whole life revolves around him or her. If you feel empty and dull without your date, then you've surely got an idol. Your work can become your idol, as can a sport or a hobby. What you invest your time and money in, what you think about and talk about, show where your heart is. None of these things is wrong. But in order for our enjoyment of them to be optimal, God must be our first love.
Jesus Christ did not teach two deities, one infinite and the other finite. He pointed to one God as the source of all good, as the healer and Redeemer of men and women. He indicated by his example that God is Spirit, the very source, the only source, of our whole being. Mary Baker Eddy, a devoted follower of Jesus and the Founder of the Christian Science Church, wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "As God is substance and man is the divine image and likeness, man should wish for, and in reality has, only the substance of good, the substance of Spirit, not matter. The belief that man has any other substance, or mind, is not spiritual and breaks the First Commandment, Thou shalt have one God, one Mind" (p. 301).
Companionship, health, provision of every kind, opportunity, intelligence, employment, can all be seen essentially as ideas in the Mind that is God. They are spiritual. Christian Science shows that by means of our spiritual understanding, they are all ours by divine right. All that we ever need to have is in and of God.
So how do we give God first place in our hearts? We turn to Him at all times and listen to the voice of Truth that is communicating itself to us within our understanding of Him. A verse from Isaiah says of God, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee" (26:3). Every thought should turn instinctively to God, as evidence that we hold Him to be our sole guide. We must fill our thoughts with the understanding that God is good and is All.
When Jesus told his followers to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and their neighbour as themselves (see Mark 12:30, 31), he meant that they should pour forth -- express -- this love, and make this a continuous experience. We can become one with God in our thinking; lean on Him; trust in Him; thank Him for His wonderful gifts; declare, "God is with me here and now." We can, through understanding Christian Science more and more, know that others are all the intelligent children of God; expect them to be honest because they reflect the truth of God; treat each as God's precious and valuable child; refuse to be afraid because God is in full control of His universe.
It's possible to have a conscious awareness of God all day. This is the activity of spiritualizing thought and is the way to find peace within and goodness without.
Princess Grace remained beautiful and graceful to the end of her life. I can now appreciate that these qualities of hers were spiritual. They were always part of her -- and my -- divine inheritance.
*Other articles on Christian Science can be found in a weekly magazine, the Christian Science Sentinel.