Counting the Cost#2. “He must deny himself” (Lk.9:23).

Counting the Cost#2. “He must deny himself” (Lk.9:23).

I have a preacher friend who is known for finishing his sermons “with a hymn.” I have listened to enough of his sermons to have noticed that he will even slip a line or two of his favourite hymns into the body of his sermon too. Knowing that he is never wanting for sermon material, I have thus concluded the obvious: Those hymns are designed to inspire, and they do!

By them, we acknowledge together “Faith is the victory.” And by them our hearts are lifted to know that “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.”

What is the sense of what is happening in communion, song, prayer, giving and preaching every Sunday? Surely, all of this is designed to call us to look beyond “My way,” and to see that “The way of the cross leads home.”

The way home is the way of Jesus, and the way of Jesus is the way of denial.

Too many associate “Denying oneself” with “giving up stuff.” I assure you, concerns over diets and wardrobes will get you nowhere on the road to self-denial. It only works when we, as a wise man advised, begin with the end in mind.

With heaven square in our sights our personal goals, dreams and ambitions are weighed for their true value. When considering the true wonders of Christ before us, we forsake the wants of this world. We strip off these worldly encumbrances and seek the minimum needs for the journey to the prize ahead.

Self-denial is asking the Lord to equip us for the race. With no room for this life’s comforts and frills, we seek the Lord’s strength to endure the hardships and persecutions along the way. We invest the resources available to us in Kingdom-building efforts because self-denial is putting the church first!

“None of self and all of Thee.”

John Staiger


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