I was inspired by the daily prompt yesterday (deny) to write this post. Immediately i saw it, the scripture below came to my mind and i have been pondering on it.
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24
I cannot be a true reflector of Jesus Christ here on earth if i don’t deny myself of certain things. I like the process written in the above bible verse.
Deny myself – Take up my cross – Follow Jesus.
I sometimes struggle with following Jesus because i have not followed the process above.
I can’t focus on carrying my cross when I am distracted by everything that passes. “My cross” can be very heavy for me to carry if i am not dead to my flesh. For this to happen, i need to deny my flesh of what it craves for. I don’t know about you but my flesh wants to clap back at people all the time when they annoy me. My flesh wants to do revenge my way and host a party to celebrate when someone who wronged me really bad is in a mess. My flesh wants to do shaddy posts on social media to address some folks when they get on my nerves. My flesh does not want to fast. My flesh loves it when no one tells me what to do and things are done only my way.
But this cannot go with the spirit of God. The Holy Spirit wants me to have self control, show forgiveness, show love and discipline my flesh so i can hear Him clearly.
Following Jesus isn’t always fun. Sometimes it looks stupid. However it is the right and only way to eternal life and victory.
As a christian, I need to deny myself of earthly pleasures that can pollute my mind. I can’t follow Jesus if i want to do everything and have no discipline in any way. I can’t follow Jesus if i want easy, challenge and stress free life because just the fact I am a Christian makes me a target for the devil. I can’t grow in my walk with Jesus if i don’t have the discipline to seek His face, wait on Him and trust Him totally.
I feel sometimes i’m almost like “OK Jesus you know i love you, but i’m not about this whole denial life. I want to follow you and still do everything i want – no boundary”. Well i have not really said this out but it shows in my actions like when I refuse to get up to pray at night when He prompts me to. When I give an excuse as to why I feel I need a break from that sister who He has clearly told me to reach out to. When I tell Him i am ‘protecting’ myself when He tells me to lay down my guards so I can freely receive the gift He has for me.
It can be tough at times to trust and wait on God but He has never disappointed me the times i have trusted Him. This has strengthened my faith and it’s given me hope as well. Also realising that He never tells me to do what He has not graced me for does help. I absolutely love the fact that He never leaves me to do all of these on my own because there wouldn’t have been any way i would have survived it. I thank God for the Holy Spirit who is my ever present help.
So with this in mind, i am learning to deny myself more in this journey as i lean on the Holy Spirit for help.