To “deny” yourself means to say “No” to yourself and “Yes” to God.
Paul is not talking about skipping earthly possessions, not eating certain foods, ignoring the world, etc. To say it differently, the process of self-denial is “to humbly submit your will to God.”
Mk 8: 34-37 (KJV) v34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. v35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. v36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? v37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’” (Matt 16:24, ESV). Denying yourself is an essential part of the Christian life. Jesus Called upon those who wish to be His followers to reject the natural human inclination toward selfishness. The Lord Himself Exemplified self-denial (Jn 13:1–17).
It means acknowledging that the old self is dead, and the new life is now hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:3–5). From the moment of our new birth into Jesus Christ, self-denial becomes a daily exercise for the rest of this life on earth (1 Pet 4:1–2). We all like to be well thought of and to be respected but that is not God’s goal for us. We must take up, not our cross, but Christ’s Cross and do it daily.
Denying yourself includes overcoming the persistent fleshly demands of the body, also known as the carnal self (or the natural man) and bringing them into submission to God’s Word, so that you don’t give in to sin: “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal 5:24, ESV).
Many people call themselves Christians, followers of Christ, but most of them are self-centred, promoting themselves, competing with each other, rather than denying themselves, take up their crosses to follow Jesus
Our personal desires and ambitions are a huge stumbling block for our purpose in life.
For the salvation of our souls, we need to mortify our flesh and all its affections and lusts ( Galatians 5:24)
The wisest thing to do in life to avoid trying to save our soul, but rather surrender everything to God, and fully depend on God.
Seek the good of others before looking out for yourself (1 Cor 10:24). A self-centred self can block or hinder God’s Love from manifesting in you.
We will have to learn self-denial: 1 Cor 9: 27 (But I keep under my body and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I should be a castaway
Don’t live just for yourself (selfishness) – you will never be happy. (2 Cor 5; 15)
Oh! God Help us. It looks like being dedicated to The Work of God full-time is the best decision in life. Deliver us from being side-tracked and busy with the affairs of this life, neglecting what you have actually called us to do. Lord have mercy.
Stay blessed and rupturable, Amen.