previous post: Discipleship Part 2
We are talking about self-denial from Matthew 16 when we see what we must do to follow (or be a disciple) of Jesus. He said we must do what He did, deny himself.
So to find out what self denial really means, lets look at how Christ exercised self-denial.
Philippians 2:3-8 says that we should
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, Um...do I do anything with the hope that someone will notice? Do I do anything desiring praise for a job well done? Do I get frustrated if someone else gets the total credit for something I worked and slaved to do/make? Do I crave recognition or get down if I don't get it? YES! I do all of those thing!! THAT IS SELFISH AMBITION AND VAIN CONCEIT!
but in humility consider others better than yourselves". Ok...So when I think in my head things like "I don't deserve to get treated that way" or "who does he think he is" or when I consider my own needs as priority over Brandon's or my neighbors'. Or when I think...Oh, they might need such and such, but I just have to take care of me first. All of those things mean I'm not considering others better than me.
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. This needs no explanation. But who are those others? The "jerk" on the highway that is trying to cut me off? What about his interests? The friend or extended family member that loves to come over but wears everyone out when they arrive because they are an emotional black hole? What about their needs? The dirty, crazy looking homeless guy, or the homosexual co-worker, or the creepy neighbor kid? Anyway.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, Wow. Wow. So, His status, His "rights", His recognition, His position, His power...laid it all aside. Became nothing. Pointed only to the Father, never to Himself. Forsook all that he had. I take some sort of pride in my education. My nationality, my gits, talents, my wonderful kids, my wonderful marriage. I take pride in my critical thinking skills, in my "right standing" with God, as if I had something to do with that. I don't habitually forget myself. I don't habitually lay down everything that I feel makes me "me." I don't EVER make myself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant...He humbled Himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross. Who/what am I obedient to? This is more than I can comprehend right now.
In reading My Utmost For His Highest the other day I was reminded of 2 things: The work of God in my life is less a product of my own efforts than the submission of my entire being to the Source: He who works in me.
And also that submission is a continuous act of the will in denying myself, (my desires, my ambitions, my sense of personal injustices, offences against me, my self-righteous attitudes, my personal freedoms, what I am "owed", my lofty (or poor) self-image, my cravings, to name a few) but even that act requires the grace of God in my life.
Therefore, I want to fellowship with, and get to know better, the Creator and rely on the grace of His Son to submit my life to Him that He may produce change in me.