THE MEANING OF DENYING ONESELF # 15112

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The Lord Jesus Christ said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” Luke 9:23. "Denying oneself" is about not living for our material pleasures, by removing our personal interests from the list, and letting God to decide the course of our lives. It is granting God first place.  Allowing Him to decide what is really important for us, such as, where to go, whom to talk to, and what to say. The Lord Jesus Christ also said, "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me." John 6:38.  Granting God first place is to deny ourselves. Some people think that denying oneself is to offer God a life of suffering and sacrifice, but God is not asking sacrifices from us, nor will He ask us to do something for which we are not fully equipped.  It is very important to know that we are guided, and we must do only what He is asking from us through the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. We must not interfere. Sometimes we just need to be still.

This is a life that needs courage, but God the Father, already gave us everything we would possibly need. It is possible that God’s plan, for some of us, may bring opposition amongst our loved ones. We may lose some family members or friends, because they have different priorities. We may sometimes feel the reproach of the world, as He experienced it when He was here. His innocence and goodness represented a reproach to the lifestyle of some of his contemporaries, and that exasperated them.  They couldn’t tolerate His presence. We will not experience anything differently than He or His disciples endured. But when we put God in first place, He takes responsibility for our protection. The Lord Jesus Christ brought also a plan for His life, just like each of us brought our own. He came to set an extreme example, and no one is asking us to repeat it.  But God's plan for humanity would be incomplete if we didn’t do our part.

God's Will for us is different from what our Lord Jesus Christ came to do. He was inviting his followers to imitate His example of denying themselves. We must voluntarily abandon any plan that we may have that doesn’t include God, recognizing the authority of God the Father in all areas of our lives, just as He did. Forgetting the pleasures the world offers because they are only setbacks and delays in our journey. The Apostle Paul said, “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5: 19-21. All this is only pain disguised as pleasure and involves only the physical body. To give up something that will hurt us and brings us pain hardly classifies as a sacrifice. You are here to do wonderful things under the power of God.

The Lord Jesus Christ is our model par excellence, our role model, and He was free, He was in a state of completion, He was not offering God His tears and suffering or feeling a victim in any way.  He reached that state by uniting His will to the Father’s. He got rid of any obstacles to pursue what was really important at that moment. The Lord Jesus Christ, here on earth, knew what He was going to do because he kept constant communication with God. In order to know what the will of God is for us, we need to communicate with our Teachers, the Holy Spirit, and the Lord Jesus Christ - Who was a man and understands us perfectly. He was aware of the time limitation he had to comply with His mission, and devoted His whole Being to do the Will of God the Father. He could have said, "I will continue working in the carpentry workshop, and I will talk of God to the people that brings me orders." Thank God that He knew and did exactly what He came to do, and devoted all His time and effort so that we could receive the full benefit of His participation.

Following His steps is not repeating everything He did, but to imitate Him in giving God first place, and everyone doing what he came to do, just the way He did His. Furthermore, He taught us that God and riches are not opposed, what he said about that was that we cannot serve two masters who have opposing interests. Money becomes a hindrance when we no longer have time for God.  Therefore, it is separating us from God. The question to ask is, what for do I want the money? The answer will be the determining factor. The Lord Jesus Christ dedicated Himself to work for the Kingdom of God, and was certain that the Father would provide for all His needs.  He said, "The Father and I are one." All His miracles were performed in the Name of the Father.  He was not considering Himself self-sufficient; He worked in union with the Father and he told us to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Who was to come and be with us forever. The Holy Spirit was to be our Guide and Teacher, reminding us of the things He had told us before, and perhaps we had forgotten, or didn’t understand.

His love for us is so great that He gave us an ideal Companion. He also said, " I am with you always, to the very end of the age” so He also lives in us forever. “It is God's Will your mind be one with His. It is God's Will that He has but one Son. It is God's Will that His one Son is you. Think of these things…’Salvation is my only function here. Salvation and forgiveness are the same’ Then turn to Him Who shares your function here, and let Him teach you what you need to learn to lay all fear aside, and know your Self as Love which has no opposite in you. Forgive all thoughts which would oppose the truth of your completion, unity and peace. You cannot lose the gifts your Father gave. You do not want to be another self. You have no function that is not of God. Forgive yourself the one you think you made. Forgiveness and salvation are the same. Forgive what you have made and you are saved.” ACIM L99. 9-10

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."  2 Corinthians 13:14

Ruth