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True Identity

From the June 12, 1937 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


Each one of us has a possession which is distinctly his own, and which could belong to no one else; something from which he can never be separated, and which he can never lose. It is his true identity.

"Identity is the reflection of Spirit," says Mary Baker Eddy in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 477), "the reflection in multifarious forms of the living Principle, Love." Our identity, then, is our true self in the likeness of Spirit, God; it is what Spirit, God, knows about us. Our true identity is indicated by the good we are reflecting. This identity is entirely spiritual, entirely separate from what mortal mind or material sense tells us about ourselves. A false mortal picture of identity is material personality, while the true identity of man is individualized spiritual reflection.

We sometimes read of cases of mistaken identity where one person is taken for another. This mistaken sense is always based on confusion, and results in discord. The understanding which Christian Science gives us of our true identity, as children of God—spiritual, pure, perfect, harmonious—destroys for each one of us the belief of a mistaken identity, material, impure, imperfect, and discordant. When any suggestion of evil claims to pose as a part of our thinking and identity, we can rise in the strength of spiritual understanding and refuse to admit, accept, or believe it. We can conquer and dismiss the evil suggestion as a claim of mistaken identity.

Jesus' parable tells of a young man who experienced the sad consequences of mistaking his identity. He had squandered his share of his father's fortune in riotous living and was dwelling in a strange country as a swineherd. One day he realized that he had been suffering from a sense of mistaken identity. He had been mistaking the foolish, sinful mortal, desiring to eat husks with the swine, for himself. He had turned away from his identity as a son of the loving Father. When he came to himself, he arose and cast off the mistaken sense of identity and turned his face toward home.

Someone may say: "If I deny my mortal personality and accept only a spiritual picture of myself, what will become of the 'me' that everybody knows? My identity will be completely lost." Let us see what our Leader says about that on page 265 of Science and Health: "This scientific sense of being, forsaking matter for Spirit, by no means suggests man's absorption into Deity and the loss of his identity, but confers upon man enlarged individuality, a wider sphere of thought and action, a more expansive love, a higher and more permanent peace."

We have nothing to lose and everything to gain, then, by accepting our spiritual identity alone as real. Imagine a friend who appears to be a mixture of good, endearing qualities and of little peculiarities and faults which tend to annoy and irritate others. Imagine this same dear one freed by the truth from the errors of material personality, and expressing only the lovable qualities of spiritual individuality. By the purifying of his sense of identity he would not seem farther away, but nearer and dearer. We can never lose our identity by seeing it as spiritual. On the contrary, it thereby becomes to us more certain and unmistakable.

Sometimes, should we wish to cash a check at a bank where we are not known, we may have to ask a friend to identify us. Christian Science is the friend that identifies us as the children of God. Each day, through the understanding of Christian Science, we can strengthen this identification by listening for the voice of Truth, which calls (Science and Health, pp. 307, 308): "'Consciousness, where art thou? Art thou dwelling in the belief that mind is in matter, and that evil is mind, or art thou in the living faith that there is and can be but one God, and keeping His commandment?'" This searching question is a clear and simple rule for testing our daily living. Paul voiced it to the Corinthians: "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves." We can continuously prove our true, spiritual identity as we meet each problem with the confident and joyous assurance that God's children are superior to error. God's man is given dominion over all. Knowing this, we can here and now prove our spiritual dominion over any belief in a false, mortal selfhood.

As children of God we can be identified only with right activity. Let us test our spiritual identification in each human activity which presents itself to us. Let us ask ourselves, Is this an activity which bespeaks the one God, good? If so, we wish to become associated with it. If not, we will have nothing to do with it. Many activities popular in the world today cannot stand this test, cannot merit our association with them.

The way to the understanding and enjoyment of our true identity is open before us. Christ Jesus is our Way-shower, and Christian Science illumines the way. The problem of proving our true identity is not difficult. There is only one God, the source of all identity. There is only one selfhood, the image and likeness of God, to be claimed by each one of us. The great I AM is forever reflected by His multitudinous ideas individually proclaiming, We are the children of God. Man's true identity, then, is ever at one with God. We may well say with the Psalmist, "I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness."

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