It can seem as if we’re constantly being bombarded with suggestions about age-related effects and limitations and their supposed inevitability. But are these really what define us?
We don’t have to accept this as our birthright or as an inevitable fact or law of being. There is another view of what we actually are—a view that carries with it the promise of ageless life, based on the Bible’s reassurance that we are made in the image and likeness of God.
In order to begin to understand what this really means for us, we need to first think about what God is—and then we can see what we are.
The Bible uses such words for God as Spirit, Life, Truth, Love. In the late 19th century, Mary Baker Eddy—based on her study of the Bible, including Christ Jesus’ teachings—utilized these along with the terms Principle, Mind, and Soul as synonyms that explain what God is in the fullest sense. She also referred to God as Father-Mother—the true Parent of all of us. The understanding of God as eternal, characterized by spiritual synonyms and qualities, helps raise our level of thought as we contemplate what God is and what this means for us.
Christian Science also uses specific terms for man (referring to everyone, male and female) that indicate our relation to God—referring to man as, for instance, the image, likeness, idea, expression, reflection, manifestation, and representation of God—of divine Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, and Love. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mrs. Eddy includes this as one explanation regarding what man is as God’s loved child: “Man is the expression of God’s being” (p. 470).
Let’s take one of the previously mentioned terms for man—reflection—and use it as an example of how expansive and freeing this outlook regarding God and everyone’s actual identity can be. Someone standing in front of a mirror sees himself or herself exactly and perfectly represented, with every detail reflected back. Similarly, man perfectly reflects the nature of God—not materially, but spiritually, being the idea, or thought, of God. And what are some of the qualities God’s nature, and by reflection our nature, includes?
Man manifests and represents only the eternal, harmonious nature of God.
I’ve found it helpful to consider some of the unique attributes of the various synonyms for God, such as the infinite intelligence of Mind, the eternal substance of Spirit, the pure and harmonious reality of Truth, and so on.
So what has this got to do with aging? Well, for starters, none of these attributes contain even the least element of decay, decrepitude, or death (the extinguishing of life). As God’s reflection, man manifests and represents only the eternal, harmonious nature of God. Even a glimpse of this can be incredibly freeing, empowering, and joyous—and can be applied to all aspects of our experience.
I’ve always loved sports and have had numerous opportunities to participate in athletics, particularly baseball and running. For many years I participated in these activities with joy and freedom; then, several years ago, I began to experience some painful symptoms during and after pitching in baseball and daily running. There were days when I would wake up stiff and aching. I prayed regularly about this situation, but I was severely hampered and became discouraged. The notion that this was an inevitable aspect of aging crept into my thought.
Then, while I was praying one morning, the phrase “life and its faculties” and the word resources came to thought. I decided to look both up in the context of Christian Science, and found the following passages from Science and Health: “Man is not a pendulum, swinging between evil and good, joy and sorrow, sickness and health, life and death. Life and its faculties are not measured by calendars” (p. 246), and, “Soul has infinite resources with which to bless mankind, and happiness would be more readily attained and would be more secure in our keeping, if sought in Soul” (p. 60).
What a wake-up call! Immediately, I felt lifted to a higher sense of what I truly am. I realized I could not swing from youth and ease to old age and pain. I found it particularly helpful to think of the harmonious and perpetual activity of God as divine Life, and of the one true consciousness that is divine Soul. As God is our Father-Mother, and we are God’s children, our true identity is the perfect, spiritual expression of divine Life and Soul—under God’s law of Life, not under the seeming material, human law of age. God does not diminish or decay, so neither can we.
I began to declare these ideas as spiritual fact based in divine Truth, and made a list of qualities I was striving to express when running and playing baseball, such as completeness and freedom of action, harmonious coordination, joy, and strength. These kinds of qualities, and many more, make up my true identity and represent the “infinite resources” of Soul, God. It is our privilege and nature to reflect and express God, and therefore, it is natural for us to manifest Godlike qualities fully and perfectly in our daily lives.
God does not diminish or decay, so neither can we.
That morning it felt as if my eyes had been opened. I saw that since I am God’s spiritual reflection, my active expressing of infinite Life was going on right then and there. The result was almost instantaneous healing in attitude, thought, and approach, as well as in physical outcome. Aches and pain disappeared, my joints became more flexible, and since then I’ve been competing freely in baseball leagues and tournaments, and running daily. With each activity, I’ve been looking forward with the expectation of a full and joy-filled experience that includes freedom, ability, and harmony, not uncomfortable outcomes. I’ve also found that I’m more alert to prayerfully countering beliefs of aging when they come up in advertisements or conversations. My heart continues to be full of gratitude for the powerful truths that inspired this healing.
Christ Jesus approached his life’s work with such a full understanding of Principle—of God’s law of good for His spiritual creation—that he was able to heal everyone who came to him for help, including the blind, deaf, lame, and so on. Following his teachings and putting into practice the divine Science of Christ that Mary Baker Eddy discovered and shared with the world, we are able to more clearly recognize what God is and more fully experience what we truly are as the expression of Life and Soul: ageless, free, joyous, and unlimited.
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