AN author said recently on a television program that a great fear among older people is that they'll lose their health. I had two immediate reactions: compassion for all those who fear losing something so essential to their being; gratitude for what I am learning about maintaining health. Note I do not say my health, just health. That's because I have learned that health is not simply a personal, physical possession. Health is spiritual and comes from God.
We get a better understanding of health as we understand God. A good place to start is with the Lord's Prayer.1 Christ Jesus taught us to pray, ``Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.'' Jesus shows us our unity with our heavenly Father, the omnipotent, infinite presence with us every moment, wherever we are. God's name, or nature, is hallowed, holy. Our true nature as God's offspring expresses the purity and wholeness of Deity. It is free from discord and malfunction.
How we consider ourselves is vital to our well-being. We may be inclined to think that we have no choice but to identify ourselves as fleshly mortals, subject to ill health, because that's what we appear to be. But, did our perfect Father create susceptible, finite offspring? Our true selfhood is infinitely more than the dust that supposedly formed Adam. It's the very image of divine Spirit.
Do we think of ourselves simply as fleshly entities, liable to suffer from physical difficulties? Or do we think of ourselves as spiritual expressions of the divine nature? Identifying ourselves spiritually, we're able to begin to exercise God-given dominion over physical ills.
Paul realized there was a choice to be made. He said, ``As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.''2 The ideal man, Christ Jesus, exercised authority over material conditions. He looked beyond fleshly limitations and saw the true selfhood of others as the spiritual likeness of the divine nature, maintained by God. And Jesus' altitude of spiritual vision freed people from bondage.
Because we're created by God, we should look to Him as the origin of life, intelligence, and health. We are representatives of the divine Mind that created us. This Mind governs every facet of its creation in perfect harmony, and this spiritual reality can be proved in our experience. All my life I have had good health. Challenges have arisen, but prayer, inspired by an ever-increasing understanding of God as my perfect source, has always brought freedom.
What about those times when we're tempted to believe that some evil is overtaking us? It helps me to ask, What is tempting me? Certainly it's not my Father, my deliverer. ``Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,'' the Lord's Prayer continues. The tempter is the ``carnal mind,'' to use Paul's term. Carnal thinking would have us believe our identity is confined in a material body. And it does seem that this is the case. But physicality is not our actual identity, because man is the spiritual offspring of Spirit. He dwells in God, good. ``In him we live, and move, and have our being,''3 Paul tells us.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``Health is not a condition of matter, but of Mind; nor can the material senses bear reliable testimony on the subject of health. The Science of Mind-healing shows it to be impossible for aught but Mind to testify truly or to exhibit the real status of man. Therefore the divine Principle of Science, reversing the testimony of the physical senses, reveals man as harmoniously existent in Truth, which is the only basis of health; and thus Science denies all disease, heals the sick, overthrows false evidence, and refutes materialistic logic.''4
God, the one Mind, is good and is All. This Mind imparts life, purity, love, and health to us. These qualities are as everlasting as the Father; they never wear out with use or age. We never hear, ``My love is wearing out; it doesn't function the way it used to.'' Or, ``My integrity is getting old.'' Health, as a quality of God, no more deteriorates than any other quality.
``Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love -- the kingdom of heaven -- reign within us, and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear,''5 Mrs. Eddy says. When our hearts are filled with such qualities, our lives are regulated by divine precepts and we experience something of the kingdom of heaven.
As we become more aware that we are actually spiritual, dwellers in God's kingdom, evil and disease will diminish, ultimately to disappear. We are inseparable forever from the divine Mind that has created us. In truth, we cannot lose health, because we cannot lose God or our relationship to Him.
1See Matthew 6:9-13. 2I Corinthians 15:22. 3Acts 17:28. 4Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 120. 5Ibid., p. 248.