“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.'” — Matthew 16:24
Denying is refusing. When we deny ourselves, we are refraining or refusing to satisfy ourselves. Christ commands all of us who want to be true disciples, true followers, to deny ourselves.
That’s a hard pill to swallow. Why? Because we live in a “me first” society. It’s so common for us to look out for No. 1. My wants, my needs, my hurts, my feelings … it ends up being about ME! We are proud, which we know is a sin. The middle letter in pride and sin is I. It becomes all about I. It’s all about me. The disease of ME is real.
Christ is our cure and He says it can’t be about you. It must be about Him and it must be about others. You must deny yourself. Say “no” to what you want. Say “no” to self and say “yes” to God. Say “yes” to others. Surrender your will, your plan, and give it over to God. Give it all over to Him. Let go and let God.
Look for ways to serve Him. Look for ways to serve others. Pray to have the mind and eyes of Christ, to be aware of others who need to see and feel the love of Christ. We are called to be the body. We are His hands and feet. How can I minister? How can I love? How can I show that I care?
We can only do this when we deny ourselves. It’s something that I must do daily. I wish it was just a one-time event and prayer, “God I deny myself.” It’s not. It’s a daily conversation and plea to my God, my Heavenly Father. It’s every morning when I pray: “Dear Lord, please fill up my cup. Help me to have the mind of Christ. Let me add value to people. Please forgive me when I make this life about me. It’s not about me. It’s about loving You and loving others. It’s about serving You and serving others. I deny myself.”
We must have the mind of Christ. We must have His eyes to see hurting people. Christ was never about Himself. It was about honoring, glorifying and pleasing His Heavenly Father. It was about people, His disciples, the children, the sinners. It was about you. It was about me. He denied Himself when He died on the cross for my sins, for your sins. He was thinking of you, not Himself.
We must deny ourselves daily. To truly love, we must die to self. Die every day! When we find ourselves, we then must lose ourselves, and then we are able to find ourselves in God. Deny yourself today!
Prayer: “Dear God, please forgive me of the times when I make life about me. My prayer is to deny myself and focus on You and others. Give me Your eyes to see.”
— Jim Good
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