For years the sign on the side door of a certain department store in our local shopping mall clearly stated ''Employees' Entrance.'' But now it reads: ''Associates' Entrance''!
It's not surprising that this store chose a more elegant word to describe the people who sell its merchandise. The ambiance there is so high-toned that when I dashed in one day, I felt an apology was in order for appearing at the cosmetics counter in very casual attire.
But the new sign gave me pause. Was the fancier title intended to compensate for low pay? Or did the company feel that an upgrading in job description would change the image of the employees?
Whatever the reason, it's clear that a true feeling of worth isn't the outcome of a superficial change of image. If we feel underpaid or unappreciated, it doesn't really matter what our title may be. And if we've tried hard to impress others with a particular view of ourselves that's totally unlike our self-image, we won't be genuinely satisfied.
But we can change for the better both our public and private image without rewriting our job description or waiting for a promotion. We can gain such a new and wonderful view of ourselves that we won't depend on personal plaudits.
When John declared in a New Testament epistle, ''Beloved, now are we the sons of God,'' n1 he was telling us the truth of ourselves. We might say he was exploding the universal myth of mortality, showing us that we are, in our real being, made in God's image, His spiritual, satisfied, loved sons and daughters.
n1 John 3:2
Christian Science, in harmony with the Bible, teaches that this spiritual identity is our actual selfhood and shows each of us how we can claim it. In the light of Scriptural teachings this Science reveals the immortal, spiritual nature of all that God has made. It helps us see that if we think of ourselves strictly as mortals, as material personalities, we're accepting a false selfhood , a misconception of the man that God made, of who we truly are. ''Mortals are not fallen children of God,'' writes Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. ''They never had a perfect state of being, which may subsequently be regained. They were, from the beginning of mortal history, 'conceived in sin and brought forth in iniquity.' '' And further on she adds, ''Learn this, O mortal, and earnestly seek the spiritual status of man, which is outside of all material selfhood.'' n2
n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 476
Christ Jesus, as the Son of God, had the divine purpose and commission to show mankind what it means to be God's sons and daughters - what the demands are for living in harmony with, and demonstrating, our actual selfhood. When we pore over his teachings - particularly when we ponder his Sermon on the Mount - we find many commands that require us to sacrifice cherished beliefs and desires that would deny our spiritual status.
The Master points us away from human parentage, even from himself personally, as the source of our salvation and happiness. ''The Son can do nothing of himself,'' Jesus declared, ''but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.''n3
n3 John 5:19
We can't just accept the title, the child of God. We must take on all this implies. When we turn humbly to God, however, and look to Him, His healing, saving power - the Christ - redeems and regenerates us. As we continue to uphold our true identity in thought and life, we behold more of our spiritual nature being reflected. We find ourselves dropping old ways of thinking and behaving. We are freer from envy, jealousy, disappointment, frustration. We feel more complete, more satisfied.
As we discover the sweetness and joy of changing from the material to the spiritual concept of ourselves, from the mortal to the immortal, we gradually begin to feel so close to our Father that it seems we've never had another image of ourselves. Nor do we want another image. We see that in truth we've never been less than the man of God's creating. DAILY BIBLE VERSE We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. II Corinthians 3:18