Finding ourselves in God
So much is to be gained through finding the true, accurate, sense of ourselves. In doing so, we lose a fictitious, invalid view of our identity—a view that we may have been educated to accept without question yet is nonetheless false. Christ Jesus, who early on selflessly committed to being about God’s business, said, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:39).
In all eras, freedom from a mistaken sense of self has been a worthy goal of mankind. Physicist Albert Einstein provided the world with some astonishingly astute observations, and for me this one may well be at the top of the list: “The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which he has attained liberation from the self.”
What is an initial step toward “liberation from the self”? It is to begin with what actually is true about our spiritual identity. Christian Science teaches that in our oneness with God we find the entirety of our identity as the expression of God alone. The Bible affirms our oneness with God (see, for example, Ephesians 4:6), and Christian Science expounds on this by teaching that we blossom and thrive as God’s expression. “All real being represents God, and is in Him,” explains Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, in a pamphlet titled No and Yes (p. 26). Later in the same paragraph she adds, “Man’s real ego, or selfhood, is goodness.”
It is God’s pure goodness that shines in our true, individual selfhood.
It is God’s pure goodness that shines in our true, individual selfhood. Evil not being in God, it does not appear in God’s action or outcome, man. True self is a constant transparency for God’s entirely good nature and substance. This takes form uniquely for everyone, bringing out our specific individuality. We exist to show forth not our own nature but the nature of God, including God’s flawless wholeness.
Getting just a glimpse of our true, spiritual selfhood logically prompts us to begin to lose a mistaken sense of self. “What? know ye not that . . . ye are not your own?” poignantly asks the Apostle Paul (I Corinthians 6:19). To believe that we can live—accomplish, act, think—independently of God is a false perspective of self. It can lead to dark things such as self-importance or self-hatred. As the effect of God, we must renounce the notion that we ever could have existed on our own. Doing so makes way for God’s work to be seen through us.
As an example, a friend of mine tripped in her kitchen, hitting her face on the quartz countertop, falling hard onto the tile floor, and injuring her ankle. She couldn’t stand, but right there where she was, she knew she could pray, and she did so until she was able to get up.
Her prayers uncovered for her some tremendously inspiring ideas, one of which was this: Because she was God’s entirely spiritual creation, there wasn’t a separate mortal version of her living side by side with a perfect spiritual version. No, there is only one creator, God, and a single, perfect creation. “I wasn’t trying to heal a so-called physical self, but rather to see, and to maintain the alignment of my thoughts with, my only real self, which is one with infinite God, good,” she told me. She was soon healed.
In discovery of our oneness with God, we gladly lose any sense of a vulnerable, egocentric, material self.
When anyone’s prayer is solidly inspired like that, the authority of God empowers the change of thought that heals. Today, she gratefully continues to acknowledge her unbroken, continuous selfhood as the perfect child of her Father-Mother, God.
So, yes, in God alone do we find true self. And in discovery of our oneness with God we gladly lose any sense of a vulnerable, egocentric, material self. The notion that creation exists materially, in a state of separation from God, is something we can expel from thought—and can learn to relish doing.
In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy offers this insightful guidance: “St. Paul wrote, ‘Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us;’ that is, let us put aside material self and sense, and seek the divine Principle and Science of all healing” (p. 20).
This can mean recognizing more consistently that an accurate sense of self isn’t ever a mortal sense but an utterly spiritual, good, and beautiful sense of being the expression of God. What if we didn’t wait to embrace this tremendous view of identity, but did so here and now? Again, as Jesus assured his followers, “He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”