What Does The Bible Say About Denying Yourself?
[by Lantz Manomano]
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.
Why does God want us to deny ourselves? Why are my natural passions and desires not so important according to the Bible? How am I supposed to deny myself?
To deny yourself means to forego your own personal and carnal passions and desires in order to follow and obey the word of God. You put aside your own self-ambitions; you die to yourself and instead you live to glorify and obey God in your life and conduct.
As a people we love feeling safe and being in control. The world will tell us to trust in ourselves; to be confident in ourselves; to follow our own hearts and to believe in ourselves. The world will teach us that our own personal dreams and passions are more important than anything else.
However this type of worldly philosophy contradicts the word of God. According to the Bible the self is not good enough; The self is never totally safe or in control; The self cannot always be trusted.
We must understand that man cannot order his own steps perfectly and he is not in control of any situation. Whatever man tries on his own – it will ultimately be tested by God and it will result in failure. Why? Because man is not perfect and man can do nothing of eternal value without God.
Jesus Christ came to address this to us and He came to free us from the self so that we don’t have to look to ourselves but we look to Him who saved us and has given us a purpose to live for.
The new challenge after being a follower of Christ is that of dying of self on a daily basis so that the life of Jesus is seen by others.
Galatians 2:20 says: I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
2 Corinthians 4:11 says: For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
In 1 Corinthians 15:31, Paul says that he dies every day. So denying the self or dying to self is an important part of the Christian life.
Do you struggle to die to self? Would you want the Life of Christ to manifest in your life everyday?
Let’s look at how we can deny ourselves daily:
1) Denying yourself begins by becoming a born again believer in Jesus Christ. Becoming a Christian means that your life no longer belongs to you but it belongs to Jesus Christ. It is Christ who increases whilst you decrease (Matthew 16:24-26; Galatians 2:20)
2) Acknowledge Christ’s Lordship daily (Philippians 2:9-11). This is a daily reminder of starting the day reminding ourselves that we no longer live for ourselves but for the one who died and rose for us to have life (2 Corinthians 5:15).
3) Rejoice in your infirmities / weaknesses so that we experience and trust in God’s strength (2 Corinthians 12:9). Usually our infirmities fight to pull us away from God but making us feel that we are not enough but God wants us to know we don’t have to cover them up but we should present them before Him and He will empower us with His sufficient grace.
4) Grow in faith (Romans 10:17). Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God. So we should spend time in the word of God and by listening to the ministering of sound doctrine. This helps us to hear the voice of our good Shepherd (John 10:3-5).
5) Praying without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Constant communication reflects that we realize that only God is the answer and we alone cannot live without God’s input in our life. We submit ourselves as children who need guidance, instruction and teaching and protection from life’s activities and trials by presenting everything before God.
6) Humble ourselves before God (James 4:10). Humility is one of the most important virtues to have. It is the foundation of learning to deny yourself. Without humility we cannot deny the self and neither will God uplift us.
There are many good things that come out of denying ourselves for the uplifting of our Lord. Some of them are:
1. We reflect the nature and character of Jesus to others. We become living letters of our Lord and Saviour (2 Corinthians 3:2-3)
2. Our understanding and experience of Jesus Christ becomes evident within us. We continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18)
3. Our total trust must be in God alone and not in ourselves nor in man. So denying self will teach us not to trust ourselves but on the Lord (Proverbs 3:5)
4. Because we come to a place of hearing His voice it means we will have a safe refuge in the Lord. (Proverbs 18:10)
5. Prayer will lead us to a place of obedience (Proverbs 3:1)
There are factors that may hinder us from denying ourselves in order to genuinely pursue or follow Christ. Let’s list some of them below:
a) Placing confidence in the flesh. Romans 7:18 says: For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.
So we should not put confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3). The characteristics of the flesh are also listed in Galatians 5:19-21 and these ultimately lead to destruction.
b) Listening to the heart. Out of the heart flows the issues of life and we tend to say follow your heart in making decisions. The problem with this is that the heart is deceitful and wicked and only God can search it and knows it (Jeremiah 17:9-10)
c) Living in fear of persecution. Fear leads to uncertainty especially during a time of trials and tribulations (John 16:32-33).
d) Worldly or Carnal Lusts – 1 John 2:16 speaks of the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and pride of life and that these are not of God but are of the world.
e) Friendship with the world, James 4:1-4 it states that friendship with the world is enmity with God because of what the world promotes and represents resulting in all the lusts that we envy.
These are but a few points of many other points that hinder us from dying to self or denying ourselves. Are you familiar to one or all of the points above? Is there a way of overcoming these hindrances so that we die to self?
If you’re a believer, sometimes we get entangled with the things of this world and so we try to take on life’s challenges and forget to deny ourselves and yield to the Lord. Denying yourself takes practice and learning from the Holy Spirit. It is something we do daily and it helps us to stay grounded and humble.
Denying ourselves requires sacrifice or that we carry our own cross.
For one to deny themselves they have to be a believer and a follower of Christ. If one is not born again they he/she is a slave to the flesh or sin nature and he/she cannot experience what it’s like to have the mind and Christ. For a person to walk with Christ, that person should be in agreement with what His word says about Him.
It should be our desire for Christ to be uplifted everyday through the way we live our life.
Be blessed and if you don’t have a relationship with the Lord do not brush it off, but consider pursuing Jesus Christ. Pray to God to reveal Himself to you and test His word whether it be of men or of God.
DO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN or A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST???
1. ACKNOWLEDGE: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
This means that we have all broken God’s laws and God’s 10 Commandments like those mentioned in Exodus 20:1-17. For example, if you have told a lie; if you have stolen something; if you have lusted after somebody or if you have coveted. This means you are guilty of breaking at least one or more of God’s 10 Commandments. Breaking God’s commandments makes us sinners. The fact that we are sinners who have broken God’s law means that we are accountable to God who is the Lawgiver. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death BUT the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
You must acknowledge that you are a sinner who has broken God’s commandments and that you therefore need Jesus in your life.
2. REPENT: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19)
Repenting means: to change your mind; a sincere turning away, in heart, mind and action;
Therefore God wants you to repent of sinful values and of sinful living. God wants you to decide to
follow Him and to make Jesus the Lord of your life.
3. CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
God is a forgiving God. God will forgive any sin that you have done because Jesus died for ALL your sins and to set you free from the bondage of all types of sin in your life.
4. BELIEVE: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
You must believe that ONLY Jesus can save you and restore your relationship with God. You must believe that Jesus is the ONLY way by which you can have everlasting life and escape from eternal separation from God. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and resurrected from the grave.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12)
By faith, You must receive Jesus as Your Lord & Savior and therefore; you become a child of God; you become born again; you become a Christian; you restore your broken relationship with God
Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?
We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.
PLEASE NOTE: You can choose to pray in your own words. This prayer is a sample prayer and it is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.
“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
Today I repent and have decided to follow you. Thank you for forgiving all my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”
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