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Perhaps one of the most trademark principles of Christianity is self denial. The Christian model (Jesus) exhibited such a level of self denial that He gave His life for the benefit of all mankind. Jesus would even go as far to say that unless one denies himself, he cannot follow after Jesus:
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me” (Mt. 16:24 HCSB).
Thus, the denial of self is a vital part of Christianity. But this is hard! sure it is! And that’s why we are talking about it. Certainly, saying “no” to yourself is difficult, but we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil. 4:13). It is important that we as disciples understand that the spirit of Christianity seeks to first do what is pleasing in the eyes of God, then what is best for others, then lastly is concerned with self (Mt. 22:37-40). Paul explained Christian self denial by proclaiming, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20 ESV). Indeed, we must deny ourselves, even crucify ourselves in order to be a disciple. But remember, such a challenging task is not done alone. The One who we follow is with us all the way.