Don’t let the “old man” in
Because we are the image of God, Spirit, our true nature is actually like God—spiritual, eternal, and ageless.
As a noted filmmaker, still working in his ninth decade, was being interviewed about current and upcoming projects, he mentioned a conversation he’d had with a friend regarding what was “the secret in life.” His answer was simply, “Never let the old man in.”
This reminds me of counsel from the Bible’s book of Colossians: “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (3:9, 10 ).
The Bible also tells us that man is created in God’s image and likeness (see Genesis 1:26, 27 ). Because we are the image of God, Spirit, our true nature is actually like God—spiritual, eternal, and ageless. Therefore, we can put off, or reject, signs of aging as suggestions, not facts.
Christian Science defines the “old man,” which could include common theories about aging and ill health, as an unreal, material concept. The “new man,” spiritual, whole, and harmonious, is God’s real and immortal idea. Christ Jesus showed by his healing work the practicality of understanding this. He saw through the illusion of deterioration and illness to perceive the perfect man of God’s creation, and this correct view healed sickness.
For scientific, Christian healing, it is important for us to be alert to thoughts that aren’t from God, the divine Mind, including limitations that are commonly attributed to the passing of years. If weariness and decrepitude knock at the door of thought, we can recognize these as lies of the “old man,” and put them off. Through prayer and the study of spiritual ideas, we can instead “put on the new man”—gain a clearer understanding of our true, spiritual identity, which includes only Christly qualities, such as spiritual-mindedness, health, strength, and indestructibility.
We can put off, or reject, signs of aging as suggestions, not facts.
Identifying ourselves correctly as God’s likeness and denying the falsity that we are material and mortal brings better health into our experience. I proved this for myself some time ago. When one of my eyelids began to droop, I decided not to accept this as an inevitable sign of aging. Rather, I prayed to see myself as spiritual and intact, not material and subject to deterioration.
Turning to Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, I studied Mary Baker Eddy’s answer to the question “What is man?” It begins: “Man is not matter; he is not made up of brain, blood, bones, and other material elements. . . . Man is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique. He is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas; . . .” (p. 475 ).
I asked myself who or what had made a droopy eyelid. Certainly not God! God’s creation, including man, is spiritual and perfect. So I knew I did not need to accept any imperfection as true about me or anyone. I took a stand in prayer not to let go of this truth or to let the “old man” in. Within a short time, my eye was normal and has remained so.
Another time, I turned in an awkward way and experienced severe pain in my right hip, which caused me to limp. I began praying immediately to see the unreality of this condition, according to this instruction on page 218 of Science and Health: “Treat a belief in sickness as you would sin, with sudden dismissal. Resist the temptation to believe in matter as intelligent, as having sensation or power.”
Despite what the physical senses were reporting, I continued to dismiss what seemed to be a result of aging, reasoning that beliefs about growing older could not have power over God’s child. Again, I experienced complete healing within a few days.
As we persist in knowing ourselves this way, we gain dominion over the body, and come step by step to a fuller realization of our unchanging, Christly selfhood as the spiritual idea of God.