What Are We Measuring?

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

I was standing on a bathroom scale when my preschooler asked, "How hot are you?" I laughed at his confusing scales with thermometers. But it started me thinking about all the measuring systems we use in our lives. Just what was I measuring on that scale? What was I using as my standard of measurement? More on my findings soon.

Daily we use clocks, scales, thermometers, rulers, calendars, and bank accounts, all in our efforts to live well-ordered days. Then there are other measuring devices: calorie charts, eye charts, and instruments to track almost every physiological function. This is all based on material living-on the assumption that we exist in a strictly physical world.

This same child and I often made a game of trying to outdo the measure of our love for each other. "I love you a pile of diamonds" led to "I love you an infinite pile of diamonds," and so on. But spiritual elements, such as love or the multitude of ideas that comes to us from God, can't be measured.

The Bible includes a wealth of passages, stories, and examples that lead to a different perception, one of creation as infinite, spiritual, eternal, with no boundaries or limits. The prophet Isaiah expressed his wonder at the infinity of creation when he asked, "Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?" (Isaiah 40:12).

When the demand of the moment was to feed thousands of people in the wilderness, Christ Jesus put no limit on the seven loaves and few fish that were available (see Matthew 15:32-38). He did not measure them materially. He demonstrated to his followers the infinite nature of God's provision for His children, giving thanks for what was at hand and feeding the people, with food left over.

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the textbook of Christian Science, is a guide in the study of the spiritual truths the Bible contains. Understanding these truths helps lift the reader's thought above the perception that we are limited and mortal to the understanding of our nature as the children of God, wholly spiritual, not made up of matter. Mary Baker Eddy, the author of Science and Health, discovered that "allness is the measure of the infinite, and nothing less can express God" (p. 336). Christian Science is based on the fact that God is All and is good

The Ten Commandments have been the standard for measuring thought and conduct throughout the Judeo-Christian world for centuries. And Jesus gave his followers the enlightened command "Love one another" (John 13:34), as well as the Sermon on the Mount and the Lord's Prayer. These amplify and glorify the spiritual laws of God, which enable us to heal as Jesus did when we understand and obey them.

Now back to that scale. Weighing myself had been a daily practice for many years. I had justified it as being honest with myself, something like checking the bank account to make sure I wasn't overspending. (The numbers in the bank account were always too low, while the numbers on the scale were too high!)

But I asked myself just what I was measuring. Pounds of flesh. And yet in my study of the Bible and Science and Health I was learning the importance of counting myself as wholly spiritual. In this, my daily need was not to measure flesh or my net financial worth, but to check the quality of my thoughts about God, myself, and my fellow men and women. I read in Science and Health, "The human mind acts more powerfully to offset the discords of matter and the ills of flesh, in proportion as it puts less weight into the material or fleshly scale and more weight into the spiritual scale" (p. 155).

It's now clear to me that I've gained greater freedom from physical problems, depression, and a feeling of limited abilities and resources in the proportion that I've given more weight to my spiritual identity and less attention to measuring the physical body. I'm finding that as one appreciates God's love for us (which is infinite), an increased sense of love, joy, productivity, and freedom is the inevitable result.

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