“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
“Let Him Deny Himself”
(Please read Matthew 16:24)
We live in an age when people generally frown upon negative statements regarding religion, and “deny” sounds at least somewhat negative, so perhaps the four words of our title don’t receive as much attention as they should. But we cannot dismiss lightly any words of Jesus, so let’s take a closer look.
First, the very context reveals something about self-denial, for Jesus’ next words require a would-be disciple to “take up his cross, and follow Me” (NASB). Since following Christ requires dedication to him, denying oneself must mean shedding any habit, craving or attribute that would interfere with being a disciple. The follower of Christ must go contrary to things he would otherwise do to please himself. He must submerge his own desires and ambitions in favor of following Christ. And he must accept that what he would have become is probably changed now that he has decided to follow Jesus.
Having denied himself, he will not become rich unless he can co so without lying, cheating or stealing. He will not be elected to high office unless people really want a dedicated Christian to serve. And he may not have a steady job or a home, especially if dedication to Christ has him on the move to places providing greater opportunities to serve.
Indeed, there is much to be considered when one pledges to deny himself, but the rewards are oh so much greater than any sacrifice can be!
Please examine your life and pledge to the Lord that, with his help, you will be more successful in “denying” yourself.