by MBC STAFF
Self, Selfism, Humanism, Hedonism and Relativism…some would argue that these are the large and foreboding figures looming over our western culture forming a blasphemous and godless ideology to which much of the “civilized western” world bows in earnest worship. Instead of humbly bowing our knees to God in submission to His sovereignty and providential care, wrought out of an admission of our own sin and weakness (Rom 3:23), we arrogantly and ignorantly boast of our abilities, talents, strength and wisdom and further indict ourselves by placing our trust and hope in these things rather than in God our creator. This can only lead to disaster in this life and the one to come.
In Matthew 16:24 the Bible says, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’”
First, we must ask, “Does Jesus have the authority to place upon us this condition of denial?” Of course, as God, Jesus can impose upon His people any condition he wants, but we know that this is not the way in which the Son wants to elicit our obedience. What gives Jesus this authority to command self-denial is that He spent His entire life doing it.
Consider Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness (Matt 4, Mk1). Wasn’t each time the essential temptation for Jesus to elevate Himself above the will of God and to act in His OWN interest? Also, each time (Bread, Temple, Kingdoms) Jesus asserted His submission to the revealed will of God written in scripture. After this, we see Jesus going away to spend prolonged periods in prayer presumably to seek guidance and the Father’s will. The culmination of this self-denial is of course Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane where He says to His Father, “nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Matt 26:34; Lk 22:42) and on to the bloody cross He went. In a sense, Jesus’ self-denial is the reason why we have redemption.
Now we must ask, “do you desire to follow after Jesus as His disciple?” If so, then you must follow your Master’s example and deny [sever connection] with your “self”, which is to say your carnal nature and its lusts.
Here’s an admonition from the Apostle Paul: “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” (Rom 6:11-14) [See also Rom 8:12-13; Gal 2:20, 5:24; Eph 4:22; Col 3:5; Tit 2:12]
Self-gratification was not at the center of Jesus’ desires; fulfilling the will of God was. To have a great year in 2016, let’s put self on the shelf, and embrace more fully the will of God for our lives.
For His Glory,
June 21, 2016
June 21, 2016
April 06, 2016