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Life is A War! Self-Control & Denial for a Christ-like Life

self denial

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

Why We All Need Self-Control

Self-Denial is not something most humans especially all of us coddled Westerners. I know the sting of denial as many do.

In the resurrection to come there will be no self-denial because our desires will not be sinful or foolish. Unfortunately until then we all will have sinful and foolish desires daily.

Therefore the command, “Let him deny himself and take up his cross daily.”

Yet God knows us intimately and knows that to move toward Christ-likeness we must learn to deny ourselves certain things in this life. We must develop self-control. If we do not have self-control we will destroy ourselves (and others), it is that simple.

Paul made this clear for us numerous times.

Acts 24:25

25 And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.”

Galatians 5:23

23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Titus 1:8

8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.

The word, the idea we must focus on is self-control.

Paul was no superman, he was weak and prone to sin. Like us he knew he could and would give in to sin.

1 Corinthians 9:27

27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Daily Warfare

As Christians in the west we have been made blind to the Spiritual Warfare around us by Secular thought.

The reality we deny is that everyday we are tempted by our own lust to sin and by the dark forces around us.

What do we need to deny and flee from?

Sexual lust, anger, resentment, fear of man, discouragement, self-pity, self-promotion, hardness, envy, moodiness, sulking, indifference to suffering, laziness, boredom, passiveness, lack of praise, lack of joy in Jesus Christ, apathy and disinterest to others and the list goes on. These need daily killing (Romans 8:13).

Romans 8:13

13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

As we enter this season of Lent in 2023 we must refocus ourselves on Christ and put aside the temporary failings of the culture and world around us. All we see is fleeting and will some day be gone. We however will be in eternity with Christ and all those who have gone before us!

Psalm 104:13

14 For he knows our frame;

he remembers that we are dust.

God the Father longs to supply every need for our righteous living. But it is only his righteousness that will suffice and not ours. From this fact we have assurance that God’s purposes will not be thwarted by our sin. He desires to meet me us all in the ashes.

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