Day 11 – Deny Yourself
Realising that we are dead to sin should bring a new attitude, and this attitude will affect how we are able to make positive changes in our lives. It’s all too easy to get in a mindset that says, “This is the way I’ve always done things,” or “I could never stop doing that, even though I know it’s wrong. I’ve done it for so long,” or “I have these problems because of my upbringing or DNA – who can change that?”
While these are all normal feelings, we have to base our faith on the truth of God’s Word: we have had an identity change, and we are not who we used to be. Our identity is now In Christ.
Up until now, God has done all the work for our salvation. He paid for our sin and raised us to new life. But now we come to the point where the work begins for us. What this involves is intentionally staying dead to sin and staying alive to God. God started the whole process, and He gives us the power to continue in it, but it boils down to whether or not we choose to continue in it. Phil 2:12 (NLT): “Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.”
What’s behind all this? Jesus explains in very plain terms: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). He’s talking about a shift in focus from ourselves to Him. He says, “If you choose to identify with Me, you can’t just identify with yourself anymore.” This is a challenge, but it is at the heart of understanding who we are in Christ.
It’s similar to a person entering into marriage. If Bob marries Cindy, he can’t only think about his own wants and needs anymore. He can’t just go out with the guys as he always has, nor can he just spend his money as he wants to. He has to consider Cindy. In fact, Bob will eventually get to the point where he won’t make any decisions without considering Cindy (1Cor 7:33 NLT). Does this mean Bob can’t live his own life? Well, the point is that his life has changed – in fact, it’s not just his anymore – it’s hers too. So no, he can’t just live his life for himself – he lives for her as well.
When you enter a relationship like this, there is a sacrifice. When you get married, you sacrifice some of your own desires. But what you get in return is much greater. The same is true with God. When you give your life to Him, you give your desires to Him as well. This may sound like a high cost, and it is, but in turn God will give His desires to you!
And that will take your life to a completely different level.
Do I really consider that I am a different person than I was before I became a Christian?
As I willing to give up my own desires and receive God’s desires for my life?