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Put on the New You - Be Born Again Here and Now!

Kathy Fitzer, St. Louis, MO & Park City, UT
Posted Monday, November 10th, 2003

Put on the New You - Be Born Again Here and Now!
Lesson-met applications for "Mortals and Immortals," November 10-16
by Kathy Fitzer, CS (of St. Louis, MO)

Ever feel as though you just need a fresh start? Would you like to shed some of the mental baggage (or undesirable character traits) you've been carrying around - sometimes seemingly forever? Are there limitations that you've decided you'll just "have to live with?" It is time to be "born again" and find a "new" you? What's the key to this "new birth"? It comes down to the acceptance of the fact that you are, right now, the son of God; that you have within your consciousness the incorruptible seed of Truth that ripens into the fullness of the Christ idea. Accept that you are not mortal, but immortal! Try the immortal view of yourself on for size. It's a good fit. Now discard the limits of mortality forever!

Let's define some terms:
Incorruptible: that which is not subject to decay; not infected with errors or mistakes; immortal.
Immortal: exempt from death; having no principle of alteration or corruption

Golden Text and Responsive Reading: Now are we the sons of God Moffatt translates the GT this way: "There is a new creation whenever a man comes to be in Christ: what is old has gone, the new has come." To "be in Christ" indicates a connectedness to Truth that leaves no space for error. The Amplified Bible speaks of it as being "ingrafted" in Christ. As I understand it, grafting unites a detached living portion of a plant to a stock that gives it new life and strength. The fruit of the grafted plant maintains its individuality, but is strengthened by the roots of the established tree and becomes inseparable from it. To engraft is to "plant firmly; establish." As we unite with the Christ (the divine manifestation - the Son of God), we find the firmly established, unflappable freshness that comes from the immortal nature of the Son of God - the offspring of the I AM - in which all is good NOW - no past to regret or future to fear. "...now are we the sons of God." Act out that freedom!

Section I: Necessity of Being Born Again - Mortality will be swallowed up "All that God imparts moves in accord with Him, reflecting goodness and power." (515: 22) God naturally imparts His own immortal nature. We don't need to work to get rid of mortality (to lose limitations). We don't need to go back into the womb. We do need to accept - put on - man's naturally unlimited, immortal nature. One doesn't struggle to get rid of darkness; one simply turns on a light. The light then swallows up the darkness. Likewise, immortal Life swallows up mortal belief - with its sin, sickness, and death. (Bible #2, S&H #3) Jesus was very clear when he spoke to Nicodemus. You can't start with matter, or the belief of death, if the desire is to reach Spirit - limitless Life. One must give up the belief of mortality (the belief of death) if one is to be born again - become fully conscious of life in Spirit. "The great truth in the Science of being, that the real man was, is, and ever shall be perfect, is incontrovertible; for if man is the image, reflection, of God, he is neither inverted nor subverted, but upright and Godlike." (200: 16) We must work from the basis of this fact, no matter what!

Section II: The Saul to Paul experience Saul was challenged to put on the new man, and aren't we grateful he did! There was no hint of the old Saul in the new Paul. This has always been a very encouraging story. No one is beyond redemption. Marker 6 in Science and Health (p. 296) tells us that experience brings progress and that either through suffering or Science, the material sense of things will be regenerated (the heart and affections changed from natural enmity to the love of God; holy affections implanted in the heart. Webster) Science and Health explains Saul's blindness this way .... "eyes accustomed to darkness are pained by the light." (452) The sudden burst of Christly light was too much for Saul. But as he got used to the light, more being shed on him through the unselfed love of Ananias, the layers of accumulated hate and misplaced zeal which had closed Saul's eyes, fell away. A new view was revealed. Saul's progress came as a result of suffering. Mrs. Eddy speaks of "every agony of mortal error" helping "error to destroy error." We don't need to be afraid to change (when the Christ uncovers error). We should welcome the opportunity for a "new birth." Ananias progressed as a result of responding to the Science of the Christ. We can take advantage of similar opportunities that come our way. Are there people that seem too far gone to benefit from our prayers or to respond to the Christ touch? Such folks could range (in our thought) from fellow church members, bullies at school, unreasonable teachers, to world terrorists. Ananias was willing to respond to God's voice and reach out to heal Saul of his blindness - in spite of all that Saul had done. The fact is that all those that seem to be acting contrary to good, are truly the sons of God. It takes but a Christly touch to enable their seeming mortality to be swallowed up in immortality and for the new man of God's creating to appear. We must be alert to recognize those who we may meet on the street called Straight that are ripe for healing - and respond! Both will be blessed!

Section III: Make the separation -- gather the good and burn the rest Here we have the parable of the tares and the wheat. Until quite late in development, it was impossible to tell the difference between the weed (the tares) and the wheat. By the time the differences were apparent, the two were so intertwined that to attempt to pull out the tares would likely uproot the wheat as well. Likewise, the flesh and the spirit (the mortal and the immortal) can be difficult to distinguish. Several means were employed to make the separation. Sometimes, the darnel (another name for the tares) was picked out from the wheat before milling. Although the wheat and the darnel grain were exactly the same size, they could be distinguished because the darnel was slate grey in color. The darnel was semi-poisonous and would have very harmful consequences if allowed to remain mixed with the wheat. Just as it took a careful eye to make the separation of grain, it takes a careful eye to separate immortal thoughts from mortal thoughts. We need to take an honest look at the thoughts or suggestions coming to us. If it is something that will contribute to long-term success and growth, we can bring it into the barn of consciousness. If it is something that will ultimately poison our experience, we must pull it out and discard it - no matter how enjoyable it may appear to hang on to. Just as a small amount of poison can kill, even the smallest bit of mortal thinking serves to limit our progress Spiritward. A clear understanding of what wheat looked like was necessary in order to identify that which was unlike it. An understanding of the "scientific translation of immortal Mind" (S&H 115) enables us to separate what does not fit the definition. The wheat grew taller than the darnel. Sometimes it was reaped over the top of the darnel. Then, the darnel was burned with the chaff. Taking the "high road" - living in accord with immortal Principle - our harvest will be that which is above mortal limitations. Rather than dwelling on the testimony of the mortal body, or the actions of mortal man, we must gather the higher elements of Truth into consciousness, and let the mortal beliefs be burned. Once burned, they can't return to haunt us - no relapse. The mortal is then gone forever, and we are clothed in the immortal Truth of God's creating - including peace, health, and harmony.

Section IV: Put off the old man (mortal man); put on the new (immortal man) How alert we must be to not go along with the crowd, with what society says is OK these days. We must constantly clothe our consciousness in right thinking and acting - with the new man that God has created in righteousness. The old man becomes so calloused by the world's standards of "what is done today" that he accepts things without thinking. The danger is that he will be blinded to the presence of God, and believes he no longer needs God. The Greek word that is translated "greediness" in Eph. 4:19 is translated elsewhere as "covetousness." According to the commentary in the Interpreter's Bible, the word refers to "the vice of self-assertion, ruthless in trampling on the rights of others, concerned with nothing but the satisfaction of its own impulses. It is the key to the whole viciousness of pagan life, as love is the key to the whole goodness of the Christian life." Certainly it is imperative that we not slip into patterns of self-centered thinking (as subtle as either thinking of ourselves as better than others or as unworthy - as well as the more blatant suggestions delineated in the first degree of mortal mind: depravity - S&H 115). By definition, mortal mind must die - must destroy itself. As it destroys itself, what will remain is "the spiritual real man's indissoluble connection with his God, which Jesus brought to light." (292: 29) So, let's wake up, "learn the lessons of Christian Science" (407: 17), stop being a slave to wrong desires (listed more fully on parts of S&H 406-407 not included in the lesson) and put on the new man of Christ NOW!

Section V: Maintaining high moral standards leads to Life We are told that Tabitha (in Aramaic), or Dorcas (in Greek), was "full of good works and almsdeeds which she did." (Acts 9: 36) She apparently was very much expressing the qualities of thought identified by Mrs. Eddy as the transitional, moral qualities. (S&H 115) When Peter was called to her side, he put out the mourners and those who were focused on the good she had done. Peter recognized the immortal nature of her good works. By raising her from the dead, he verified the scripture from Proverbs, "The labour of the righteous tendeth to life:" (Prov. 10: 16) Following Jesus' example, Peter understood that "death is not a stepping-stone to Life, immortality, and bliss." (S&H 203). He understood that "death is but a mortal illusion, for the to the real man and the real universe there is no death-process." (S&H 289) Marker #24 (S&H 164) makes it clear that man does not die. A heavy dose of mortal thoughts (thoughts of limitation) may lead to the apparent death of the mortal body. However, when divine Science reveals the truth of man's immortal (undying) nature, man is clothed in immortality and "death is swallowed up in victory." We need to keep our thoughts aligned with the moral, strive for the immortal, put out the false witnesses (which judge according to such things age or physical appearance), and understand Life to be the law. Then there will be no stoppage of good - either before or after what we call death. We must fight for life!

Section VI: Promise Fulfilled - all things are made new. The promise of eternal life is fulfilled as we put on the new man and are born again of the incorruptible seed. As the corruptible puts on incorruption, mortality puts on immortality, "death is swallowed up in victory." (I Cor. 15: 54) Growing up in Florida, we had a huge mango tree in our yard which bore fruit which did not taste good. My dad grafted a different variety of mango onto that tree, and good fruit was produced. Like the corruptible putting on incorruption, it is an active process. We must be alert to continually put off the "old man with his deeds" and put on the new man. The new man is so filled with the spiritual qualities of "wisdom, purity, spiritual understanding, spiritual power, love, health, holiness." (S&H 116) that "mortal mind disappears, and man as God's image appears." Think about what happens when you put a new coat of paint on the walls of a house. When the walls are properly prepared, the faded, chipping or peeling paint disappears forever, replaced by a fresh coat that totally transforms the room. Bathing a room in light, there is no place for darkness. Because man is truly made in the likeness of God, he cannot help being immortal. (S&H 81) Our job is to live in accord with that truth. Mrs. Eddy gives us two questions to ask ourselves as we strive to see how we measure up: "Am I living the life that approaches the supreme good? Am I demonstrating the healing power of Truth and Love?" (S&H 496) If so, we have the promise that life will be shiny and bright. It demands much, but no more than we are able to do. When we go out, we think about what we should put on, in order to be appropriately dressed for the occasion. Are we as careful in choosing the thoughts we are putting on in order to prepare for the promise of immortality - exempt from death (stoppage of progress) and incapable of corruption (mistakes and decay)? We need to be!

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