"If any man would come after me he must deny himself and take up is cross daily and follow me." -Luke 9:23
This week's quote is not exactly a quote, but I felt it appropriate for today as this Bible verse has been on my mind and heart for the last few days. I have been particularly struck by the phrase "he must deny himself." What does this denial entail? What does it mean for me? What does a person who has denied himself look like? These and other questions have been rattling around in my head for a few days. Therefore, this is my humble attempt to answer them.
To deny oneself, in conjunction with taking up one's cross daily, is the condition for calling oneself a follower of Jesus Christ, a Christian. Obviously, if I must do this, live in some sort of denial to consider myself a Christian I need to know what it means. I found that the Greek word for deny is 'apollymi.' Apollymi can mean several things, among them 'to destroy oneself' and 'to give oneself over to an eternity in Hell.'
To deny myself goes beyond choosing to be served last, or doing my family's laundry without being asked. To deny myself means to have such a deep love for my fellow human beings that I would go so far as to ask the Lord to sever my relationship with Him so that those who do not yet know Him can be reached. That is the hardest thing I might ever do... if I could ever do it.
Lord, may you grow in my heart a faith in you that is bigger than anything I might fear, even an eternity apart from you. May I deny myself in such a way that those who know me will see only the power of Jesus Christ in my life and come to know you as well.