“Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?’”
– Luke 9:23-25
Over the past few days, we’ve learned a lot about agape love, so today, I want to talk more about the flip side of that wonderful gift, which is death to self.
No good thing in this life comes without sacrifice, and the most divine and precious gifts of God can only be experienced as we make a choice to deny ourselves. In fact, this theme is echoed over and over again in the New Testament, both in the teachings of Jesus and in the letters of Paul. Perhaps the most famous reference to self-sacrifice is in Luke 9, when Jesus confused His disciples by telling them to take up their cross and follow Him. Considering that His crucifiction hadn’t happened yet, the twelve must have wondered what this meant. After all, this was radical teaching in the midst of the Jewish and Roman worlds: One states you could be a religious superstar by adhering to the law, and the other teaches elevation and enlightenment of self as the highest virtues. Fascinatingly, not a whole lot has changed in our world today, and the concept of self-denial is more foreign and unpopular than it’s ever been!
Friend, the irony of having abundant life in the Kingdom of God is that it requires you to crucify your obsession with yourself. Though it is tempting, if you follow the way of the world and remain consumed with you — what you look like, what you accomplish, where you live, where you work, how much money you have — you are going to lose your life. Even though you may not die prematurely, you will forfeit the opportunity to experience the fullness of God’s glory and sufficiency. In other words, you will never be the best version of yourself — the one who exists fully in Him and becomes the person He created you to be! Though it doesn’t feel good and can even be downright hard, I encourage you to deny your flesh and live uncompromisingly in the Kingdom of Heaven. How? By putting others first. Become the servant of all and watch what Jesus will do with your surrendered life!
Jesus, I pray for your Holy Spirit’s help as I seek to live a surrendered and self-sacrificing life.
Think about what Death to Self means. Does the thought of spiritual reward motivate you to make this change?
If you’re unable to attend your local church or need some additional weekly inspiration, be sure to tune into Hour of Power every Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. PT on TBN or watch online at hourofpower.org/episode.
One thought on “Death to Self”
This one is hard for me. Of course it is true. It’s just that as a formerly abused person, I was already a low person. Thank you, Lord!, I’m built up better than before, so the idea of giving up my self to the mostly harsh people I know is distressing.