To feel God's love is to feel taken care of. And it's to want to share this love with others. Expressing the unselfishness and tender care that spring from divine Love can help to obliterate selfish materialistic interests, the breeding ground of sensualism and sin.
Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "The so-called pleasures and pains of matter perish, and they must go out under the blaze of Truth, spiritual sense, and the actuality of being. Mortal belief must lose all satisfaction in error and sin in order to part with them" (p. 296). And mortal belief has no power to engulf us in an intense preoccupation with matter when the joy of spiritual loving and living takes over in our consciousness.
Love never fails. This was Paul's promise to the followers of Christ Jesus in Corinth, who lived surrounded by the deep discontent and agitation of sensual behavior. A Commentary on the Holy Bible, edited by J. R. Dummelow, describes Corinth under the Roman Empire as a great commercial clearinghouse and states: "The Corinthians were notorious even in the world of that time for their drunkenness and sensuality. ... It is a significant commentary on their way of life that a man of Corinth was usually introduced on the stage in a state of intoxication, and that 'to live like a Corinthian' had become a proverb to express a life of luxury and licence."
In the past I had grasped intellectually the fact that I was God's loved child. Now I actually could feel that God loved me.
"Charity [love]," Paul told the Christians in Corinth, "suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth" (I Cor. 13:4–8). Actively expressing the love that has its source in God will protect us—or free us—from "unseemly" behavior and efforts to find happiness in sin.
God's love is the antidote for addictions and compulsive behavior; it destroys the hold of longstanding, enslaving habits. The wonder of it is that His love never wears out. The more we express lovingkindness toward others, the more kindness we find we have and the more we feel loved. This feeling of being loved by God wipes out disappointments with our failures. Senseless infatuations, fears of the future, the morass of self-pity—all yield to the power of God, divine Love.
Many years ago the power of God's love saved me from the grip of sinful and loveless living. My childhood had been a privileged one, but with little affection. Food became my companion. Eventually I found myself a slave to an eating disorder, bulimia. A few years later I became an alcoholic. No one knew about my problems.
This went on for ten unhappy years. Then one day I decided to travel on a tour with some Christian Scientists. What appealed to me about these people was their genuine joy and affection. I had attended a Christian Science Sunday School at one time, but I had no real understanding of this Science. I had no inkling of God's boundless love for me, either. While on this trip, however, for the first time I began to feel God's love for me—and for all. In the past I had grasped intellectually the fact that I was God's loved child. Now I actually could feel that God loved me. From that point on, I began to desire a better way of life. The selfishness of the compulsive behavior felt foreign as I recognized my true, spiritual nature.
During the next few months the idea that God was giving me His unlimited love, both to comfort me and to express toward others, became all-important. And the more this love was expressed, the more love I found to give. Living became rich and satisfying. The hold of self-indulgent habits weakened. The joy obtained through sharing God's goodness far outshone for me the closed-in world of the addict. By learning how to give caring thought to others, I was learning to know my real selfhood as the spiritual image of infinite Love.
Man is not truly a material organism, locked into a pattern of physical desires and limitations and seeking release through matter. Man is right now God's spiritual expression, fulfilled and cared for by Love. And man is never dependent upon other people for love, because man is the eternal object of divine Love.
Thinking and acting on this spiritual basis freed me completely from alcoholism and bulimia. I no longer thought of myself as a mortal having selfish material needs, but as a spiritual idea, satisfied with obediently expressing God's infinite goodness and love.
Selfish, inward-looking thought—thought centered on the body's sensations and appearance—never satisfies. Our unfulfilled longings remain unfulfilled. What does fulfill us is our expression of unselfish love. And God has given to each one of His children the precious ability to love all of His creation with the warmth and intelligence that reflect Him. As we do learn to love with grace, we feel at peace and in control of ourselves. We feel complete, happy, not because of our talents or physical attributes but because we're more conscious of our unity with God, the sole source of true satisfaction.
The great prophet Isaiah promised, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isa. 1:18). My sins and fears were washed away by God's liberating love.
The cleansing process can seem slow, and the evidence of healing small—even unnoticed at first. But every effort to express goodness and purity is supported by divine law, and the success and satisfaction that flow from such righteous living will inevitably be fully experienced. Embrace yourself and others with God's pure, spiritual love. You too can feel the healing power of God's love. Science and Health promises, "Whatever holds human thought in line with unselfed love, receives directly the divine power" (p. 192).
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