self-denial1The last couple of weeks, we’ve talked about denying ourselves (Luke 9).  Here, a lot of rubber meets a lot of road.  Self-denial is meaty stuff.  It is hard.  It is essential.

This past Sunday, we focused on the purpose of self-denial–to further love God and to love others.

Yet how easily we substitute these loves for the love of self!

If denying ourselves is ever easy, often it is because we are denying ourselves for ourself, strangely enough.  The purpose has become subtly twisted from losing our life for Christ’s sake, to losing our life for our sake.

Two personal examples:

A) If I ever put in the time, effort, “sacrifice,” to put together a Sunday teaching in order to impress others’ with style or content, then I’ve missed the point.  I’ve twisted the purpose into serving my pride rather than God or others.

B) If I ever sacrifice time to pray or read/meditate on the Bible in order to check it off my to-do list, then I’ve twisted the purpose into a duty to finish rather than a relationship to nurture.

The act of self-denial is meaningless without the right purpose. 

What is hard about purposed self-denial?  How can we better lose our lives for the sake of God?