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Denial of Self: What Does It Really Mean?

 

We always hear that Christianity means denial of self but do we ever stop and think what it really means?  The first thing that always comes to mind is giving to others but that’s what we’re supposed to do as Christians it doesn’t have anything to do with our actual salvation which comes by faith in Jesus Christ.

 

John 3

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

 

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

 

18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

 

 John 14

 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

 

Romans 10

   8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Of course giving to others is a form of denial of self but what does it mean regarding our salvation and God blessing us here in this life?  God gave us free will to pick and choose which path we take. He lets us decide which road to go down either for him or not for him there’s nothing in between. So what does denial of self actually mean when it comes to your salvation and also God blessing you?

Luke 9:23

 23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

 

24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

As you can see these verses tell us it means following Christ daily. We are supposed to follow Christ and his teachings instead of our own that’s basically what it means. We’re selfish as human beings and a lot of the false doctrine been taught today is that you can do whatever you want if it makes you feel good no matter what the Bible actually says because our happiness comes first.  Most TV preachers are preaching this doctrine and people flock to these churches and to their TVs so they can hear this preaching that makes them “feel good”. It’s usually humanist self- help disguised as Christian doctrine.

 

2 Timothy 4

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

 

4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

 

5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Here’s a prime example from Gloria Osteen of this self serving false doctrine. I could add a ton of other TV preachers too.

How many of us have said nobody tells me how to live and I’ll do what I want to do?  We all have every single one of us at some time.  But is that really denial of self?  Is that what Jesus was telling us?  Deep down we all know it’s not.  Giving to others is a form of denial of self but that is actually just what we’re supposed to do as Christians. God blesses us because we’re faithful to him and we follow his will.  He blesses us so that we can bless others as he blessed us. God blesses us as our soul prospers not just because we sent seed money to a TV preacher who is just getting rich most of the time. That is false doctrine and covetness.

3 John

 2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

 

It all comes down to what most of us don’t want to face. The fact is we all have things in our lives we don’t want to give up but what we have to understand is God sets of rules not us whether we like it or not. If we want to be in his presence when we leave this world then like it or not we have to follow his rules not our own. That is what denial of self actually means.  If we can’t deny ourselves and put him first and follow his rules then we can’t be with him. It’s just that simple. The fact we’re human means that’s very hard for us to do and God knows this.  What are we willing to do for our God? Put him first and put yourself second is what Christianity is all about and that means our faith in Christ has to come first.

 

1 Peter 2

11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

 

Romans 8

6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

 

 

Romans 13:14

14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

 

Galatians 5

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

 

Titus 2

12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

 

 

I myself to learn this lesson the hard way. We all do because we’re human and flawed. That’s why we need a savior basically to save us from ourselves. The flesh is weak and is always struggling with the spirit. This is how God tests our faith. Can we put our own feelings and wants second and put him first or can we not?  Do we want to be with our God or do we not?

 

Matthew 7

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

   21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

 

We all have to make that choice sooner or later and there are no exceptions.  None of us have the “Book of Opinion” to rely on or any special clause absolving us from the rules that God set for us. That’s the harsh reality that nobody wants to hear. There’s only one absolute truth and that is the written word and the living word as in Jesus Christ.

We are told to study the written word ourselves and not rely on somebody else’s opinion. Our opinions do not matter only what the scripture actually says not what we want it to say.

2 Timothy 2

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

 

Just remember, we all have opinions and we all have things in our lives that we put first because that’s what we think we want. But that’s not denial of self and what will get us to Heaven in the end and that’s what matters. It’s not “living for today” no matter what people tell us. It’s not just giving to others and putting them first it’s putting Christ and his will first and that’s the key.