Discipleship Demands Self-Denial

by Mike Riley
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.”
Thus, discipleship demands self-denial. That means putting God above emotions when we must choose between God and family. It means putting God before self when we really want to do something that God forbids. Self-denial means willingly obeying a command of God though we do not see why it should be necessary. In this sense, self-denial is human sacrifice. It is self-offered to God on the altar of unconditional obedience. Regarding this idea, Paul emphatically stated: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.” (Rom 12:1, NIV)
All Christians must first offer themselves to God in simple obedience. We must love God enough, trust him so completely, submit our will to His will so thoroughly, and anchor ourselves in hope so securely that we will do anything He says — simply because He says it.
The apostle Paul made this commitment of self-denial: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)
As followers of Christ, we must be willing to crucify self. The question is, “Are we willing?”