Deny Self - Part 2
May 2, 2021
Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24).
To deny self is to genuinely, sincerely, honestly, and seriously believe you have nothing in you, or are nothing in yourself to commend before God. It is utter and complete humility before holy God. It is to truly believe as the tax collector (Luke 18:13), God, be merciful to me, the sinner! It is to realize and accept that . . . all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away (Isaiah 64:6).
The only reason we are saved and have been made righteous and holy, justified and sanctified before the Lord God is because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; that in Christ Jesus we have been renewed in the spirit of our mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth (Ephesians 23-24).
In His inaugural address to the Jews, Jesus said (Matthew 5:3-4), Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. We cannot be saved unless and until we recognize we are nothing and have nothing to offer to God for salvation. We are utterly and spiritually destitute (v. 3), and the recognition of our sinfulness moves us to groan and weep at the depth of our spiritual depravity (v. 4).
Does this self-denial so cause us to loath ourselves so that we live the rest of our lives abhorring, despising, and detesting ourselves? Absolutely not. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise (Psalm 51:17). The whole purpose of the Mosaic Law in the Old Testament was to point out how sinful and separated we are from God, how much God truly loves us that He would save us. Just as we depend on the Lord to save us from sin, we must depend on Him to disciple us into spiritual maturity.
(Psalms 1:1-3) How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. The roots of that tree grow deeper and wider under to soil as the canopy of that tree grows higher and broader above the ground. The deeper the realization of our unworthiness of Christ grows, the greater our spiritual maturity in Christ grows.
“Lord Jesus, thank You for loving me, dying for me, and calling me to Your salvation. Continue to humble me before the cross that again I may understand the great sacrifice You gave for someone as unworthy as me. May Your name be forever praised, Amen.”