Following Jesus is costly. Yet, we usually think that once we “come to Jesus” our lives will be better, and often hear preachers say we will be “blessed, rich, healthy and prosperous”. It’s not until we truly start living FOR Christ, we found out just how costly following Jesus is. Once we make the decision to surrender all to Jesus, seek to do His will, live out His ways, to live a godly and righteous lifestyle, then we begin to lose things (and people) for Jesus’ sake. For some our parents disown us, friends leave us, co-workers suddenly hate us, and spiritual warfare seems never ending. However, losing things, relationships for Jesus, is required of all people who choose to follow Christ. Jesus doesn’t trick or force us to give up everything for Him, He tells us upfront what is needed of us to be His disciple. In order to be a follower of Christ, Jesus tells us that we must deny ourselves (Matthew 16:24). This call of denying self is a lifetime call. Denying ourselves means we surrender every aspect of our lives over to Jesus. Denying self suggest that we no longer live for ourselves.
SELF DENIAL REQUIRES…
1- Surrendering Our Will- As Christians we must always seek to do the will of God. We forfeit our right to do what we want in this life. Contrary to popular preaching/teaching, we are not to do whatever our hearts desire and seek to fulfill worldly dreams and aspirations. We are to always pray for God’s will for our lives to be done. We are to be willing to sacrifice our very lives, unto death, to fulfill the will of God (Luke 22:42).
2- Denying Our Desires- Christ followers are not to love this world or the things in the world (1 John 2:15). We are to desire the things of God; His Word, His will, His Kingdom. As new creations in Christ, our hearts desire should no longer be to rich, famous, popular, etc. Rather our deepest, most heartfelt desire is to please God (Colossians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:4, Galatians 1:10).
As new creations in Christ, we should have new desires, new dreams, new passion, new goals; all centered on glorifying God (Colossians 3:23). Jesus provided us with the perfect example, in that ALL that He did was for His Father’s glory (John 17:3-4). To be a Christ follower means that we follow in the footsteps of Jesus, and deny ourselves for His sake, so that He may be glorified through us. When we are self-seeking and filled with selfish-ambition, we are unable to follow and serve God. In fact the Bible describes selfish ambition as worldly and demonic, and states that if we are living for self, we can’t serve and love God (1John 2:15-17; Matthew 6:24; James 3:14-16). Denying self is a mark of a true Christian.
To read Part 1 of this series, click here