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Spectator or participant?

AN ardent basketball fan could have extensive knowledge of the shooting techniques and offensive strategies involved in playing basketball. Yet he might not be able to dribble a ball. And of course there is nothing wrong with this. There is usually something admirable about an informed spectator. But not when it comes to the area of Christianity. We expect someone who has a knowledge of Christianity to be more than a spectator. Knowing must translate into doing.

The Founder of Christianity made this point frequently. At the conclusion of what has become known as the Sermon on the Mount, Christ Jesus said: ``Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.''1

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The measure of one's Christianity has always been what one does, not what one hears or knows or says. Genuine Christianity requires striving to follow in the path marked by Jesus. In fact, one's knowledge of Christianity is mistaken if it doesn't impel him to live with increasing Christliness.

This point, of not merely observing but actually following Jesus' example, is central to the teachings of Christian Science. This Science is not a form of Gnosticism, where one merely knows spiritual truths and is not required to translate these into daily living. On the contrary, Christian Science strongly urges its adherents to make their faith practical through moral and physical healings.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, felt that one's daily life was the only reliable evidence of one's faith. ``The error of the ages is preaching without practice,''2she writes. And, ``In order to apprehend more, we must put into practice what we already know.''3

But Christian Science doesn't only urge one to follow the Master in daily life; it shows how to do this -- how actually to participate in Christian reformation and healing. It does this by awakening us to the true nature of God as Spirit and of man as His perfect spiritual offspring. It shows us that God is not inaccessible or indifferent toward His creation but fully present and active with practical love for man. God's love is all-encompassing, and a growing perception of this spiritual reality underlies our ability to follow Jesus' example in the fullest sense.

The infinitude of divine Love precludes the presence of lack and pain. God's love stands as an exemption from evil. The need is to turn to this truth and come to feel it deeply through prayer. Then we'll experience its healing power.

Divine Love gives us dominion over limitation and suffering. We don't have to stand as helpless spectators in the face of evil. We can participate in its destruction by walking more consciously with God's saving love.

Our progress from spectator to participant in Christly healing may at times be rugged and slow. But when our heart is yearning to follow the Master, a changeis inevitable. Steadily we move away from our chairs and onto the field -- that is, we move beyond observing and analyzing to actually living Christian truths.

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1Matthew 7:24-27. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 241. 3Ibid.,p. 323.

You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22

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