"Self-Denial In A Self-Indulgent World"

August 27, 2023 | By Chuck

       From the time we are born, we have a strong desire to have our needs met. A baby cries when he or she is hungry or needs their diaper changed. That baby’s cry is telling you he or she wants something. As we grow and mature, it seems our internal desire to have what we want grows too. Let’s face it, we want what we want and at times we are willing to go to great lengths to get what we want. I know that sounds a bit selfish because it is.

            It doesn’t help that our world screams a message of self-indulgence. The world’s philosophy is it’s your life and you should do whatever it takes to make you happy no matter if it hurts others. It’s your life and you deserve to have all you can get and have it your way. The problem with this self-centered and self-indulgent slogan is that it’s completely contrary to the teachings of Jesus. Jesus expects His followers to live by a different standard and slogan.

            Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) If one plans to follow Jesus, step one is self-denial. Self-denial is not a natural act or response, which is what makes it so difficult at times. Although it’s totally counter-cultural, Jesus’ point is we must understand life is not all about us and deny ourselves to follow Him. As Christians, we must empty our lives of “self” and fill our lives with Jesus. Jesus must be on the throne of our hearts all day every day and for that to happen, we must deny ourselves constantly. Self-denial is not easy, especially in a self-indulgent world, but it is necessary if we hope to follow Jesus faithfully and become more like Him.