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A new way of life

A change of heart brought a change of direction.

From the August 2001 issue of The Christian Science Journal

For several of Jesus' disciples, the switch from being fishermen to "fishers of men" was a snap decision. That was true for Peter and Andrew, for instance. Jesus walked past as they were casting their net into the Sea of Galilee and said, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Apparently, they jumped at the invitation. The Bible puts it this way: "They straightway left their nets, and followed him." See Matt. 4:18-22 (emphasis added). The same thing happened with James and John: When Jesus called, "they immediately left the ship and their father [who was fishing with them], and followed him."

In order for these men to give up their whole way of life, something far beyond idle curiosity or job dissatisfaction had to have influenced them. Whether they were conscious of it or not, a deep spiritual longing and receptivity to truth must have motivated them. And Jesus must have perceived their desire to know God better. Otherwise, why would he have invited them to join him?

One day as I was thinking about this, I realized that earlier in my life I had also, though on a much smaller scale, responded to Christ's call. Although I had gone to Sunday School until my teens, I drifted away from church and the Bible after my parents separated. Then, not long after I married, I found myself in trouble. Part of the problem was that I had become involved with smoking and social drinking. Some of my friends did these things, and I had thought joining in would make me happy. Instead, I was miserable.

Leaving behind that lifestyle was a great benefit to me.

One day, I decided to ask God for help. As I prayed with all my heart, a light suddenly shined in my thinking. I realized that I needed to "straightway" leave the "nets" of my current lifestyle, in pursuit of Christ. I needed something much deeper in order to be fulfilled.

I began remembering some of what I'd learned in Sunday School, and shared some of these ideas with my sister. Gradually, we both had a change of heart, and before long our lives were turned around. A more spiritual way of life opened up as I began reading the Bible and Science and Health. Each time I wanted a cigarette, I would read and then think about a few passages from Science and Health, and the desire would pass.

Leaving behind that lifestyle was a great benefit to me, not a loss. Other improvements in my life soon followed, including physical healings. I had been told by the matron of the hospital where I had done my training as a medical nurse, that an X-ray had shown that I had chronic bronchitis, and that I would have to suffer with this all my life, as there was no known cure for it at that time. As I answered Christ's call, however, and learned the truth that each of us is actually a spiritual being, made in God's likeness, I was healed. I don't know exactly when the healing occurred, but one day I realized that the constant coughing and congestion were gone.

For me, leaving behind some unproductive nets of the past has brought many blessings into my life, and has made me better able to help others as well.

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