Thanks everyone. Okay here is the first part that I want us to focus on:
34And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
As you can see, there are 3 things Jesus is telling his disciples to do, 1-deny himself, 2-take up his cross, and 3-follow me. If you notice, you won't find an "or", only "and." Which means all 3 things HAVE to be done!!! The wonderful thing about God is He never asks us to do something He won't do or hasn't done. Jesus first denied Himself by coming down from heaven. I am sure he would have been fine staying on the throne but he didn't. Throughout His life, He continued to deny himself from all the things that would keep Him from completing his task.
I looked up the word deny on dictionary.com and here are some definitions:
to withhold something from, or refuse to grant a request of:
to refuse to recognize or acknowledge; disown; disavow; repudiate:
deny oneself, to refrain from satisfying one's desires or needs; practice self-denial.
This is mentioned first because this is the hardest thing for us to do. But we HAVE to do it in order to please God. So many of us struggle because we refuse to deny ourselves the things this world has told us are okay like, lying, fornicating, gossiping, cursing, or watching porn. Some things we need to deny aren't sins themselves but we put them in place of God which is a sin. It can be people, the tv, the internet, and the list goes on. One of the main reasons why we are in financial turmoil is because we refuse to deny ourselves of things we don't need. We have too many clothes, too many shoes, too many bags, too much of a lot of stuff. But yet we don't reach out and say a kind word to others. We don't give of our time to help feed the hungry, or clothe the naked. We are so stuck on ourselves that we never stop to bless someone else. Jesus blessed folks up until His death and the same people He knew would eventually turn their backs on Him.
1. admit, accept. 3. allow.
So if we choose to deny ourselves the things that are not of God we are then doing the opposite. We are now admitting we are sinners and need God's forgiveness and guidance. We accept Christ's love for us and we now allow ourselves to embrace the things that are of the Lord.
I want all of you to sit down tonight and pray to the Lord. Ask Him to reveal those things you haven't denied yourself of but you know you should. If you need to, make a list and began to pray and ask God for strength so you can remove those things out of your life. God is looking for His people to rise up and set the standard. For too long we have been just getting by but that is not what we are called to do. You can't fake serving Him, you either do or you don't. Man may be fooled but God never is. He is ready to pour out His blessings on His children but only those who are truly serving Him. How do you do that, by denying yourself and accepting Him. John said it perfectly, I must decrease so that He may increase. The only way to do that is to deny yourself and accept Him. Be blessed. Q