Tuesday, January 19, 2010

If Any Man Deny Himself

If Any Man Deny Himself

We make it all about ourselves. When do we ever realize that it’s not about us, it’s about Him? We are like those in the Old Testament who tried to build monuments to themselves. God is angered and disappointed when we build our Towers of Babel. We often behave like the disciples when they were wrangling over who would sit at the right hand of Jesus. We are always trying to find a better seat nearer the head of the table.

It’s not enough to be guests, we want to be recognized as special guests. We want our shelves to be full of trophies to display to others. We want to flash our degrees and credentials on the walls of our offices. We spend too much time being too much aware of what others might be thinking about the clothes we wear, the cars we drive or he houses we live in.

We live our whole lives for the praises and accolades of men and when it all ends we are lowered into a grave and forgotten. One hundred years after our death hardly anyone will remember or even have any record that we even lived. Our meager accomplishments will fade or completely disappear in the next generation. Many of us know very little about our grandfathers and some know nothing at all about our great-grandfathers.

So, why do we try so hard to make a name for ourselves? Why are we so consumed with our ‘accomplishments’? Is it because of our pride? God hates pride more than any other thing because it is the wall we erect to keep God at bay. Psalm 10:4 “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.”

Jesus tells us we must die to ourselves if we are to experience his fullness. Before a glass full of milk can become a glass full of water the milk must be poured out. Christ wants to pour out all our sinfulness so he can fill us with his holiness. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." It is a great paradox, in order to experience the fullness of life we must first die. From death springs life. Like a seed buried in the ground that eventually springs forth in life.

This quote is heart searching. It’s so painful sometimes to look in the mirror and see yourself for who you really are. God is not so polite as to spare us. He shows us every ugly blemish and offers us abundant grace and wisdom to make necessary adjustments in our lives. He loves us always, even when we are ugly and disgusting.

Dying to Self
When you are forgotten or neglected
or purposely set at naught, and you don't sting
and hurt with the insult or the oversight, but your heart is happy
being counted worthy to suffer for Christ,

When your good is evil spoken of,
when your wishes are crossed,
your advice disregarded,
your opinions ridiculed,
and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart,
or even defend yourself,
but take it all in patient, loving silence,


When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder,
any irregularity,
any impunctuality
or any annoyance,
when stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility,
and endure it as Jesus endured it


When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation,
or to record your own good works,
or itch after commendation
when you can truly love to be unknown,


When you are content with any food,
any offering,
any raiment,
any climate,
any society,
any solitude,
any interruption by the will of God


When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met,
and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy nor question God,
while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances,


When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself,
and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly,
finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart,


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