Custom Search

Friday, September 5, 2008

Deny Himself

I've been thinking about this topic since the Lenten season when our church theme was basically the text of Matthew 16:24.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

"That's just the way God made me."

"My personality is a bulldog and that's just the way I respond when attacked."

"I just can't worship with that kind of music."
(Variations on this come from all sides of the music style spectrum.)

So often it appears that when we read "deny himself" we normally put something at the end:

- deny himself candy
- deny himself another helping of food
- deny himself a hot shower
(just fill in the blank: deny himself ___________)

However, the phrase just says, "Deny himself." Somehow I believe this means to deny himself himself.

For example, I am basically a shy person. This means that in a social situation I prefer to be off by myself in a corner somewhere - that is my comfort zone.

Unfortunately for me (myself, that is), God has called me into ministry - a public ministry - the ministry of music, with pastoral responsibilities. Hey, the shy guy has to get up in front of hundreds of people and lead in worship. Wow!

It is not enough for me to say, "but I'm a shy person and I can't do that." I have to respond to God's call and deny myself to be who Christ wants me to be. It becomes...

- a denial of who I am,
- a denial of me,
- a denial of my wants,
- a denial of my desires,
- a denial of my personality.

In effect, it a becoming less of who I am and becoming more of who Jesus is - conformity to His image, His personality, His very likeness.

So once again, it's not about me...
it's all about HIM!

Your preferences - be like Jesus!
Your personality - be like Jesus!

Then Jesus said, If you will come after me, deny yourself...