I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
In this world, we live with the constant reminder that “self” is the greatest thing to build. Self-respect. Self-esteem. Self-empowerment and the list goes on.
And yet Jesus says to us in His word, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25).
Deny self? What? Doesn’t God know that self has to be strengthened to do anything in this world? Doesn’t He know that if I don’t have self-esteem and self-love and self-empowerment, then I can’t achieve MY goals and MY dreams and MY purpose?
I’ve learned in these years that what keeps us from truly living out what God’s kingdom is all about is the apprehension to completely deny self. Denying my dreams/ Denying my purpose. Denying my agenda. Denying my happiness (yikes).
And the enemy knows that as long as we keep the “self” agenda, God’s kingdom wont’ be pushed. Even as believers who have been walking with Him for quite some time, the struggle of “self” surfaces every day and it’s a constant battle that has to be won so that we can, as Jesus did, say “Not my will, but Yours be done God.”
Following Christ isn’t for the faint-hearted. It’s for the one that has recognized the greater gain that comes when self and all of its selfishness is out of the way and when we realize that there is a beautiful exchange that takes place when we give up our selves completely and whole-heartedly. The only way to do it is to continue to take up our cross. It’s His work on the cross that gives us this strength.
Ladies, I pray daily that we would be so consumed by Him that self begins to disappear and we make it ALL about Him.
As the great theologian A.W. Tozer wrote,
“To repudiate it [self] and give up all for Christ’s sake is to lose nothing at last, but to preserve everything unto life eternal.”