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A winning combination

Do you think of God as Love? Have you thought of Him as Principle? Christian Science presents Him as both - as divine Principle, Love. This may seem a novel concept to some. It has its origin, though, in Christ Jesus' intimate knowledge of God as Father - God who loves all and yet, under His universal divine law, holds each individual accountable for his own thoughts and actions.

The word ''principle'' means, among other things, a fundamental truth, law, or motivating force. God - divine Principle, Love - is man's true Lawgiver and motivator.

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Logically, Love's divine nature, instead of being anthropomorphic, must be incorporeal, universal, impartial. And because Love is also Principle, the unchanging source of divine law, its impartiality is constant. ''I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed'' n1 is the way Malachi states God's unchanging love.

n1 Malachi 3:6.

Does this mean that we don't have to make much effort to do right, to be good , or to strive for perfection? Indeed not! The Pharisees and scribes were supposed to be shining examples of conduct for the people, yet Jesus warned, ''Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.'' n2

n2 Matthew 5:20%E

Didn't Jesus' works confirm that the perfect Father has only perfect children , and that as we know this and identify ourselves as His offspring we can bring out more of that perfection, more of God's goodness, in our characters and lives? From the secure basis of knowing God's unchanging love, we can move forward freely to measure our experience against the high demands of divine Principle, Love, for honesty, integrity, justice, meekness, mercy.

When I was new in Christian Science, the habit of being dishonest with myself was a stumbling block to my progress. This habit showed itself in a persistent form of self-justification. One day while trying to feed two infants and prepare dinner at the same time in an extremely negative frame of mind, I slammed into the kitchen counter and knocked a dish of food to the floor. I then dissolved in frustrated tears.

In talking to a Christian Science practitioner later (a practitioner devotes full time to healing through prayer), I was gently prodded into seeing that sloppy thought habits helped bring careless actions. Divine Principle demanded that I be honest with myself. I had to strive to be efficient, loving, and patient in everything I undertook.

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This minor incident proved to be a major turning point for me. Oh, there were other broken dishes - there still are occasionally. But I now seldom trick myself into believing that the world is set against me. When circumstances seem challenging, I check my attitude: Is it loving? Is it selfless? Is it upright - that is, am I honestly striving to obey both the letter and the spirit of the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount?

Loyal to Principle, we will be compassionate and just to ourselves and others. We will express unselfed love, which alone reflects divine Love. Christ Jesus was the supreme Exemplar. We can follow him. And whether we have yet begun the study of Christian Science or not, we can heed this statement by Mary Baker Eddy n3; it will aid our regeneration and spiritual growth: ''If the Christian Scientist recognize the mingled sternness and gentleness which permeate justice and Love, he will not scorn the timely reproof, but will so absorb it that this warning will be within him a spring, welling up into unceasing spiritual rise and progress.'' n4

n3 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science

n4 Retrospection and Introspection, Pg. 80

It's a winning combination - divine Principle and Love. The honesty and affection that derive from God, as divine Principle, Love, keep us spiritually active and bear witness to the spiritual fact of man's relation to God as His child. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? . . . Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Hebrews 12:6, 7, 11

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