Last week Davina began this three part series, looking at what it means to Be Disciples. She continues this week taking a look at what it means to deny ourselves.
What does a disciple of Jesus Christ looks like?
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?
~ Matt 16:24-26
Jesus requires three things from His followers…
- deny yourself
- pick up your cross
- follow Him.
Simply put, denying ourselves means taking our focus off ourselves and placing it first on God and then on others. Matt 6:33 tells us to seek after God’s will and His righteousness first. Also, Mark 12:30-31 reminds us that we are to love God with all our hearts, souls and bodies and to love our neighbour as yourself. From these verses, we can gather that our life is not about us but rather about God and our neighbour.
Living like this compels us to fully depend on God to rule our lives, knowing that all our needs and desires will be met by Him and through our community. Furthermore, denying ourselves also means to forsake our dreams, desires and ambitions by surrendering them to God in exchange for His will, knowing that His plans are far better than ours.
Doing this is not an easy task, especially in our culture which is drenched in selfishness and narcissism. Nevertheless, God is lovingly calling us to consider the interests of others in addition to our own.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…”
~ Phil 2:1-5.
To live in denial of ourselves brings glory to God. This is what God is requiring from us in order to follow Him. This is what makes our Christian life thrilling!
Next week, Davina shares what it means to pick up our cross and follow Christ.