Live to love!
It’s important for each of us to consider the priceless value of living to love as Jesus did.
During the challenges imposed on humanity by the coronavirus pandemic, I’ve been thinking deeply about how Christ Jesus lived his life, and about what we can learn from him that can help us live in the healthiest and most purposeful way.
The Bible speaks of leaders whose lives reflected the Word of God that they preached. Hebrews 13:7–8 concludes: “There should be a consistency that runs through us all. For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself” (Eugene Peterson, The Message).
Consistency! What a refreshing slant on “sameness.” It exchanges a sense of sameness that threatens to prevent our progress for a vibrant spiritual sense that forwards it. Jesus consistently lived his spiritual, eternal self—his identity as Christ, the Son of God. In fact, Jesus lived to love. Every day he lived to love God supremely and to love every person in his or her God-created spiritual self as divine Love’s pure and perfect reflection. With God-directed devotion, Jesus consistently and compassionately took an unrelenting stand against sin and suffering as no part of anyone’s true self as God’s creation. The result? Receptive human hearts felt the love of God that Jesus reflected. Their thoughts and characters were purified and reformed. And their bodies were healed.
Jesus was setting an example for us and pointing out the way. It’s important, then, for each of us to consider what Jesus understood and loved about God and God’s creation, and the priceless value of living to love as Jesus did.
Receptive human hearts felt the love of God that Jesus reflected.
Jesus understood that God is universal Love, the only creator, and that his ability to bring reformation and healing to humanity could come only from God. So, he relied totally on God, consistently turning to divine Love in prayer for guidance. Mary Baker Eddy captured the essence of this in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, writing, “The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God,—a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love” (p. 1 ). That’s a blueprint for how we can follow in Jesus’ footsteps.
It’s all too common for a human being to get wrapped up in and discouraged with a mortal sense of self: “My life is so complicated. What am I doing wrong?” “I can’t listen to the news. It just depresses me.” “My life would be so much easier if people were more appreciative and caring.” And so on. It’s not unusual, in fact, for a person to blame God for whatever is going wrong in their life or in the world. Or, conversely, to think, “I’m doing very well without God, thank you,” when things are going swimmingly . . . until things aren’t going so well.
Living a life of “unselfed love” means letting go of a sense of self as mortal and vulnerable and allowing God to show us what’s actually true. It means living our true self as God’s reflection by seeing and loving each individual as God sees and loves them, just as Jesus did. And that takes a whole lot of humility! It means being willing to think differently—to receptively open our thought to God’s guidance. To willingly yield to God’s purifying and reforming influence. And to let following God’s guidance become our way of life.
God is unchanging, immortal Spirit—infinite Life, Truth, and Love—and He made us in His image, spiritual and perfect. And the divine consistency of our God-created identity is full of endless, magnificent, living variety, as explained in James 1:17 in the Bible: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” These good gifts are the spiritual ideas and qualities that make up everyone’s true identity, or self, as God’s reflection.
“Identity,” as Science and Health affirms, “is the reflection of Spirit, the reflection in multifarious forms of the living Principle, Love” (p. 477 ). Therefore, we can depend wholly on God, as Jesus did, for our ability to meet and conquer every conceivable earthly challenge, because we have from God an infinite supply of spiritual qualities and ideas with which to specifically defeat whatever is unlike God.
We can live this way today—and each day. But this requires us to be true to God and His children with undivided attention. For example: As I was deep into writing this, I found myself picking up my phone to check several apps. What they offer is useful, but there was no reason for looking at them in that moment. So I put the phone down, realizing I could look at those apps later rather than let them be a distraction from composing this message of Truth for you. Nothing need distract us from following through with our divine calling of living to love. It’s our top priority.
The more I cherish loving the truth of God and man as my all-embracing purpose each day, the more natural it becomes for me to immediately meet any discordant situation—including sin or disease—with the spiritual truth that heals.
Living and loving this way brings Christian healing into the world, while also forwarding our own spiritual progress and healing. It’s being your true self as God’s reflection. And that’s a joyful way to live!