Denying Yourself

  • Luke 9:23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. (Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34)
  • Hebrews 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
  • Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.

There are so many ways in which to deny ourselves: fasting, giving to others what we could use, praying for someone when we don’t feel like it but doing it in obedience to God, abstaining from saying something we want to say, praising the Lord when we’d rather be doing something else, and so much more. The best example of someone denying Himself is of course Jesus. But there are many others who denied themselves, such as His apostles. They left everything to follow Him.

In Matthew 8:21-22, a disciple, who isn’t mentioned by name, said to Jesus: “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” Obeying Jesus is denying ourselves. Jesus is our Master and He can ask anything of us. Are we ready to forsake our agenda for His, our desires for His, our plans for His? Are we ready to offer forgiveness because He said so, live by the Spirit instead of giving in to our feelings, spend time at His feet rather than be with friends? He knows what’s best for us and He would not ask us to do anything that would not be in our best interest. Remember His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Are you willing to deny yourself to do His will?

How to deny yourself and please God:
  1. Live a life completely surrendered to Him. Make Him your priority and make His Word the principles by which you live. Choose to spend time daily in His Word. Seek to fellowship with Him through prayer, praise and worship.
  2. Start your day with God and serve Him throughout your day. Ask God what you can do for Him today. He has good works pre-established for you to do.
  3. Be like Jesus and think of others. We were called to be servants so who can you serve and love today? Who needs your compassion?
  4. Give God a sacrifice of praise from your lips. Spend time on your knees and worship Him. Let your only goal be to bless His heart.
  5. Be led by the Spirit in your decisions. Instead of deciding everything on your own, involve God and let His Holy Spirit, who lives inside you, guide you in everything. (This avoids having to involve God in our messes after we’ve made decisions without consulting Him.)

Call to action:
Instead of watching television tonight or reading a book, spend time at the Master’s feet just praising Him and worshiping Him. This will be a sacrifice of praise to God.