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Discovering our immortality

From the February 1, 2016 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

Waking up is a wonderful thing to do. Especially when it’s waking up to what is true about ourselves as God’s loved children—His own image, or expression. This is a spiritual awakening, in which the material sense of life begins to give way to intuitive perceptions of our spiritual identity, and we start to discover the immortal goodness that constitutes who we really are.

The concept of ourselves that we see through the material senses doesn’t begin to reveal what we really are. Whether it seems happy or not, healthy or not, the sense of ourselves as mortals provides only a limited, uncertain, and ultimately misleading picture.

At times, though, individuals do get glimpses of who they really are. Glimpses of the unselfish love that they are truly capable of as the offspring of God, divine Love. Glimpses of their integrity as the offspring of Truth, and the beauty of their character as the image of Soul. These qualities must certainly have their source in God, Spirit, since matter, including brain, cannot produce such qualities.

So long as these qualities are thought to reside in matter and be dependent on a material body, we mistake their real source and nature, and in the process we lose sight of our real individuality, which is spiritual. We are actually spiritual because we are created by Spirit, in the image and likeness of Spirit, as the Bible brings out in Genesis, chapter 1, and reiterates in different ways elsewhere. To be the image of Spirit is to be forever one with God, forever expressing Him.

It’s this eternal oneness with God that establishes our immortality, and has already established it. But discovering this immortality, even in a small degree, requires a fundamental transformation of thought, turning away from the universal view that matter constitutes us, to a wholehearted acceptance of the life we have in God.

“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else,” says the Bible (Isaiah 45:22). We look to God for salvation and freedom, because God is, even here and now, the source of our immortality. God is our changeless, loving Father-Mother, who has known us from eternity and maintains our perfection as His own image. 

In prayer, we look to infinite Spirit, to increasingly understand the eternal substance that Spirit expresses in us. We look to Soul, to comprehend how Soul characterizes us, bestowing beauty, peace, joy, harmony, and intelligence. And we look to divine Love, to understand the immortal goodness that Love manifests in us as Love’s likeness.

If God and His goodness are immortal, then we discover our immortality as our God-given spiritual qualities become more real to us, and we demonstrate those qualities by living them.

The awakening to our Christly, immortal selfhood in God injects new vigor, confidence, and purpose into all we do.

For example, God is Life, and God is Love. Therefore Love is immortal Life. To the degree, then, that we express Love—that we are compassionate, affectionate, patient, forgiving, and unselfishly desire to serve God and humanity—we are expressing the immortality that is ours as God’s child.

The same applies to all the qualities that have their source in God and give evidence of His nature: joy, gratitude, purity, integrity, morality, honesty, humility, meekness, patience, and so on. Because their source and essence are God, they are immortal. And in living such qualities we are actually demonstrating, experiencing, something of our immortality. 

Mary Baker Eddy writes in the Christian Science textbook: “In Science, man’s immortality depends upon that of God, good, and follows as a necessary consequence of the immortality of good” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 81). In my own life I’ve found that the more consistently I understand and assimilate into my thinking and character the goodness of God that is forever expressed in man, the more I feel not only uplifted spiritually but freer physically, and am more conscious of being one with my Father-Mother God.

The immortality of good isn’t only about qualities. It’s also about the substance and capacities of our being. A Christian Scientist I know was told by a dentist that he had the teeth of a man half his age. Over many years this man had prayed daily for himself, to understand more and more fully his real identity, which expresses the immortal, undeclining substance of Spirit. He had been learning that his substance is forever new, because Spirit is forever new.

In seeking to know more of our immortality, we look to the teachings and example of Christ Jesus. Jesus knew his eternal oneness with God, the Father, and showed us the reality of life in God. He proved in raising the dead, and in his own resurrection, that matter could not destroy true life; that everything necessary to the fullness of life is in and of Spirit. And we follow Jesus’ example by degrees, every time we prove through healing that some quality, characteristic, or capacity of our being is forever intact and perfect.

The Apostle Paul said, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17). The awakening to our Christly, immortal selfhood in God injects new vigor, confidence, and purpose into all we do. We increasingly discover the joy, harmony, and freedom God has bestowed on us. 

Discovering our immortality is a gentle, day-by-day work and joy. However modest our steps in this direction, with each step we not only experience more harmony, we also know better than before how safe we are in God, the divine Mind that forever conceives us.

David C. Kennedy

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