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The search for our identity

From the September 28, 2015 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

Every one of us needs to know who we truly are. You do, and I do. It’s a universal need, and this need is felt by many.

The question of our identity comes up often in ways we might not recognize. It comes up in issues of self-esteem, for instance—how valued or valuable we feel we are. It underlies questions about what we should do with our life, as well as questions about our health, ancestry, personality, and character. Today’s discussion of transgender issues also involves the concept of identity. Discovering our true identity is of the utmost importance; we all need lasting, real answers.

If we’re searching to know who we are, it’s important to begin with the more fundamental question of what we truly are. Christian Science offers, and tenderly urges, what Christ Jesus himself lovingly urged on everyone—the discovery of our God-given individuality. Speaking of Jesus, the Bible says: “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11–13).

Because God is Spirit, to be “born … of God” must in its deepest sense mean that our origin is not in matter but in Spirit. Neither genetics, the sexual reproductive urge, nor the technology of man has created or can create the children of God. This was the earth-shaking import of Jesus’ birth and mission, including healings by himself and his disciples of disease and crippling genetic conditions. If man is conceived by Spirit, then what we really are is something far more than an imperfect, material mortal. How can Spirit create matter? How can divine Love produce anything that is less than wonderfully blessed? 

In the textbook of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy writes: “The offspring of God start not from matter or ephemeral dust. They are in and of Spirit, divine Mind, and so forever continue” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 267). And elsewhere in the textbook she states: “Deity was satisfied with His work. How could He be otherwise, since the spiritual creation was the outgrowth, the emanation, of His infinite self-containment and immortal wisdom?” (p. 519). 

These truths have wonderful implications for all of us. Because God created us and holds us in His eternal embrace, God is also right at hand to lead us to the understanding of who we truly are as God’s own loved idea, His perfect image. God’s leading for each of us is felt intuitively, in the very fiber of our being. It’s the Christ, God’s healing message of real, spiritual identity, coming to us and speaking to our heart and mind. It’s Truth awakening us to the reality of our being. It’s Love transforming and fulfilling our deepest desires. It’s Soul revealing to us our true character.

If man is conceived by Spirit, then what we really are is something far more than an imperfect, material mortal.

Over the years, I’ve seen these silent urgings of the Christ change me and others, both mentally and outwardly. We begin to lose our satisfaction with materialism’s fraudulent promises of health, fulfillment, and happiness. We turn instead to the welcoming love of divine Love, where we learn that we already have a deeply fulfilled, successful, and harmonious life in Spirit. 

This kind of spiritual transformation improves character, restores soundness to the body, brings more peace and satisfaction, and opens up the opportunities in life that are exactly right for us. We discover that our Father-Mother Love is constantly fulfilling Her loveliness, purpose, and unbounded joy in each one of Her spiritual ideas.  

In a deeply comforting and stirring passage, the book of Isaiah in the Bible speaks of God’s promises for each of us individually, and for humanity collectively: “But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. … Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: … Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him” (43:1, 4, 5–7).

The redeeming action described in this passage is the action of the Holy Ghost, divine Science—the Science of everyone’s true being. Divine Science operates as law in human consciousness. It uncovers and removes the false, materialistic concepts that don’t belong to us, and brings out more and more brightly the perfect, changeless identity God has bestowed on us.

We all belong to God. Through God’s love, we can discover for ourselves the true manhood and womanhood of God’s creating. As we do, our lives will increasingly be shaped by this true idea of identity, and be blessed by it.

David C. Kennedy

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