C. S. Lewis said, “The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether.”
If we’re going to follow Jesus, we need to deny ourselves. And that simply means wanting His will more than our own.
Jesus gave the unique call of discipleship in Matthew 16: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (verses 24–25 NKJV).
He tells us that if we want to be His disciples, then we must deny ourselves. This is a foundational issue. But we’re living in a time when there is a great obsession with self, especially in the United States.
The Bible warns that in the last days, “People will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred” (2 Timothy 3:2 NLT).
However, this obsession with self isn’t unique to our generation. This emphasis has its roots in the Garden of Eden, where Satan came to Eve and essentially appealed to her selfish nature, telling her to disobey God (see Genesis 3:1–5).
Really, we all have a choice in life. Either we can live for ourselves or deny ourselves. We can seek to save our lives and ultimately lose them, or we can invest our lives and ultimately find them.
The great barrier to being a disciple of Jesus Christ comes down to one word: self. If you want to be His disciple, then you must deny yourself.
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