Title: The Art of Denying Self
(H) Highlight verse: "And he said to all, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'" Luke 9:23
(E) Explain: In the above scripture Jesus is speaking to his disciples. He continues to talk to them about the cost involved in following him. Jesus informs them that he must "suffer many things and be rejected by the elders... and be killed, and on the third day be raised." He foretells his upcoming death and resurrection that MUST happen.
Jesus tells his disciples that they must live lives of self denial. He tells them the cost of discipleship is living a life of self denial. He says that they must deny themselves, which means to submit their lives completely to God, to not seek after personal pleasure and gratification, but to seek to live a life that is glorifying to God. He then informs them to take up their cross daily and follow him. This means that self-denial is a daily thing.
(A) Application: Discipleship is a costly thing. In fact, entering a life of discipleship (which is every Christians call) costs everything, it is committing to a life of self-denial. This is an extremely difficult concept for people today because we live in a day and age where we are encouraged to seek personal pleasure and fulfillment (yes even in Christian circles) and self denial goes against our natural inclination. When we look at the revolutionary teachings of Jesus they go very much against the teachings of the world. The world tells you to look out for yourself, Jesus says to put others before you. The world tells you to seek justice and vengeance, Jesus tells you to forgive your enemy. The world tells you to do whatever makes you happy and content, but Jesus says, to deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow him. I personally believe that all Christians would benefit greatly if we started truly practicing the fine art of self denial and completely submitting ourselves to God because this is what Jesus tells us to do.
(R) Respond: Lord, may I live a life of self denial, not so I may appear holy and self-righteous, but so I can bring glory to your name and truly experience the life you have called me to live.