Deny Yourself

Where this command is found:

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?”

Luke 9:23-25

Have you ever thought of how life can come out of death? Good can come out of bad? Or more specifically, how God can use difficulties to make something beautiful? We actually see this death-to-life pattern all throughout creation. For example, consider the transformation processes of both seeds and caterpillars.

Seeds must be hidden in the lonely dark soil of the earth. Yet in the right season, they begin to grow a new life as a plant eventually yielding fruit after their kind. In the same way, caterpillars enter into a solitary cocoon and go through a mysterious process called metamorphosis. At the right time, they break forth as a beautiful butterfly.

Just as seeds and caterpillars have to go through a form of death to fulfill their designed purpose, we as believers also must be conformed to Christ’s death in order that His life may be formed within us. One of the key ways this takes place is through our obedience to the command found in Luke 9:23 — deny yourself.

Every disciple of Christ, through His enabling power, must deny themselves, take up their cross daily and follow Him. It is this process that God uses to form the resurrected life of His Son within us! Jesus’ command to deny ourselves is not an austere call to be miserable, but rather a wonderful invitation from our Lord to say no to ourselves and embrace all that He has done for us.

Scripture tells us Christ did not seek to please Himself. “For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me” Romans 15:3. Christ, Who is our example, denied Himself by giving up all the honor, recognition, and the pleasure of Heaven to become a child, live in a frail human body to die a cruel death upon a cross. Why? So that through His death, burial and resurrection He could give to all who believe upon Him eternal life!

If we as believers desire to live out the command Deny Yourself, we must embrace the One Who has lived this perfectly. Our purpose in life is not to live for ourselves. We have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus to live our lives to glorify God and for His purposes. Just as Christ did not live to please Himself so that He could fulfill His Father’s will, we must wholeheartedly focus on Jesus’ example embracing His will by spending time with Him treasuring up His Word within our heart. As we do, our interests, desires and plans will become Christ’s and He will live this command in and through us by the power of His Holy Spirit!

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Deny Yourself — Part 1

Simply put, to deny self is to look away from self and look to the Lord Jesus Christ. We were made for Him, not ourselves.


Deny Yourself — Part 4

Denying self doesn't just mean abstaining from things that are obviously “bad” — it also could be things that look “good.”