by Neil Anderson

September 13

DENYING SELF

Matthew 16:24 
If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself

A primary reason why we struggle to fulfill Christ's Great Commission is because we are guilty of a great omission : We fail to deny ourselves.

Denying yourself is not the same as self-denial. Students, athletes and cult members practice self-denial, restricting themselves from substances and activities which keep them from reaching their goals. But the ultimate purpose of self-denial is self-glorification. The ultimate purpose of denying self is to glorify God.

Jesus was talking about denying yourself in the essential battle of life: the scramble for the throne, the struggle over who is going to be God. Jesus doesn't enter into that battle; He's already won it. He occupies the throne and graciously offers to share it with us. But we want to be king in our lives by ourselves. Until we deny ourselves that which was never meant to be ours--the role of being God in our lives--we will never be at peace with ourselves or God, and we will never be free.

You were not designed to function independently of God, nor was your soul designed to function as master. You will either serve God and His kingdom or Satan and his kingdom. Self-seeking, self-serving, self-justifying, self-glorifying, self-centered and self-confident living is in actuality living and serving the world, the flesh and the devil. On the other hand, denying yourself is not self-mortification. God is not trying to annihilate you; He is trying to restore you.

When you deny yourself, you invite God to take the throne of your life, to occupy what is rightfully His, so that you may function as a person who is spiritually alive in Christ. Denying yourself is essential to spiritual freedom. 

Prayer: Lord, too many times I have tried to live independently of You. I deny myself today and yield the throne of my life to You.

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