Jesus proclaimed as the second “great commandment” (Matthew 22:39): “love thy neighbour as thyself.” For some, loving someone else may be less difficult than loving ourselves. But as God’s image and likeness, (Genesis 1:26) we have the inherent ability to love who we really are. Such love is not egotism, but it is an acknowledgement, appreciation, and grateful acceptance of God’s all-good Creation and the blessings He already has bestowed upon each one of us.

Loving ourselves is challenging only to the extent we believe what the mortal or carnal mind says we are. That so-called mind is enmity against God, (Romans 8:7) and it will never identify us as the perfect child of God’s creating. We can overcome a mortal sense of ourselves through prayer and spiritual understanding. Each of us can discover his/her spiritual identity, reject a self-destructive mortal sense of being, and accept only what God knows. Each of us can demonstrate the love wherewith He loves us. (Ephesians 2:4)

Is our ability to know and express God limited in any way? Don’t each of us have the right and ability to express that mind which was also in Christ Jesus? (Philippians 2:5) We do. Jesus properly recognized his and our spiritual heritage when he commanded, “be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) He knew that one does not “gather grapes of thorns, or figs from thistles,” (Matthew 7:16) and therefore he understood that man’s real nature must be God-like and spiritual. As humans, however, we must discover that nature.

By humbly listening for spiritual insight (i.e., prayer), we learn more about who we really are as God’s expression or manifestation. The facts of our spiritual being and the understanding thereof come from God, and our job is to quietly and humbly accept and cherish those facts. They are revealed by the Holy Spirit which identifies us as the children of God. (Romans 8:16) Divine facts reveal that we are beloved of the Father, never out of His presence, and ever cared for.

Listening for spiritual insight may not be easy. We may have to filter out the clamor of mortal beliefs. We must be willing to hear the “still small voice” of Truth, God. (1 Kings 19:12) Thoughts of past wrongs, heart-breaking circumstances, hereditary illness, and human want are thorns and thistles that must be uprooted. Such negatives come not from our loving Father, and they are disappear as we put on the “mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16)

In her primary work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Having no other gods, turning to no other but the one perfect Mind to guide him, man is the likeness of God, pure and eternal, having that Mind which was also in Christ.” As we humbly reach out to God in prayer and willingly accept His message, Christ removes from thought the tares of mortal belief, and we find in their place ideas that promote health, joy, and love for both our neighbor and ourselves.

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Mark Lawson is First Reader of Christian Science Society, Bristol, Tennessee and he may be contacted at mlawson@elliottlawson.com.

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