Dying to Self

24 Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. ~ Matthew 16:24

The phrase “dying to self” may not actually be explicitly mentioned in the Scriptures, but it is without a doubt alluded to as a theme throughout the New Testament. It is splashed across the pages printed in both Red Ink and in Black Ink. It is this very thing Jesus was speaking of when He said to deny yourself and pick up your cross and follow Him.

It is not a very popular theme because it does very little to generate shouts and amens and does even less to fill the church coffers. It is a hard teaching to implement when we live in a me, me, me generation. From ads to even the churches promote that sort of thinking. There was a time when the Church almost fell into error with the name it and claim it gospel. Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not against the prosperity teaching. I believe God wants us to prosper and be in good health, but it’s only as our souls prosper.

God is more concerned about our souls prospering than for us to be rolling in the dough. Jesus, Himself did not shrink from self-denial, for He Himself took up His cross and was obedient even unto death. If you are going to see great miracles, you must die to self. Meaning you no longer do what pleases you but what pleases God.

It is not that miracles have ended when the last Apostle died, but rather, self-denial ended when the last Apostle died. Christians no longer pray through the night. They no longer pray, period, because they have become way too busy. There is work. There is family life. And then there is, of course, football, basketball, and hockey. We can’t do without our sports. We are a sports family, and Jesus would never want me to miss the big game.

Jesus is, in fact, saying, “Deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow me. Because I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one comes to Father except by Me.” Now, with that said, how can we not but implement this dying-to-self concept into our lives? We must stop doing what is self-pleasing because it is self-pleasing and be God pleasers because it pleases God, whom we must all stand before, and who will either pardon or condemn.

Father, please help us to be self-deniers and to pick up our cross and follow You. Give us the strength to do want pleasers You and shrink from what is self-pleasing. In Jesus’ name, we pray, amen.

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