Friday, April 13, 2012

Deny Myself? Who Me?

I was reading the Word this morning and came across this verse: 

"Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it."

(Luke 9:23-24)

I thought, as I read it, how hard it is to live up to this Scripture in the world we live in today. The media bombards us with messages telling us not to deny ourselves anything. "You deserve it" seems to be the mantra most are following now. Credit card companies tell us how easy it is to "have it all". "Rent to own" and "no payments til _____" are ways companies are enticing us to enjoy now and pay later. 

Years ago, people would save up for an item they wanted or they would use a layaway plan. We learned to deny ourselves the immediate gratification and wait until something was paid for to actually own it. But now many stores are doing away with layaway and credit is being toted as the only way to enjoy life. If we wanted to eat out, we went to a restaurant and actually sat down. Now we grow impatient when the drive thru is slow. We want instant gratification.

So bearing all this in mind, no wonder it's hard to live a Christian life and actually deny ourselves, as this verse tells us to. But what are we suppose to be denying? I believe its our sinful nature that needs denying. We are sinful people by nature, it's born in us. But when we fight against that want to be sinful we are denying ourselves. When we choose to do what is right, not, necessarily what we feel like doing, we are denying ourselves. We fight against the 'sins of the flesh which so easily beset us' (Hebrews 12:1) and we choose to take up our cross and follow after Him.

We live in a world where the accumulation of possessions seems to be the ultimate goal. We surround ourselves with bigger and better 'things' in an effort to have a 'good life' and to be happy. But like this verse tells us, we only end up losing our life by trying to make a life. Our 'things' cannot bring happiness.  But if we lose our life, if we lay down our own desires and choose to live for Christ, we will not only have a full, rich, vibrant life now but we will have the ultimate life when we live eternally with Him. 

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