24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 16:24-25 NASB
Denying self is so difficult. It is contrary to the human condition. We want to be for ourselves in every way and that seems right.
The only way to deny ourselves is to put our wants and desires on the cross. Take up your cross and follow me…to death, to giving up what you might see as pleasureable, to your own rights… It does seem contrary.
But we have the example of Jesus to follow. We know that He saw passed the cross to the glory that was waiting. We have that future too!
Live in the present and in the future. I need to deny myself in the here and now, but also look forward to the day that I will be in glory with Jesus.
If I keep my eyes on the here and now only, it will seem legalistic and religious. If I only look forward to the future glory, I will be overly spiritual and not fulfill what the Lord has for me now. I must live in the present and live in expectation for the future.
Lord, it is hard to deny myself. Sometimes it seems that my flesh speaks louder than Your Word. Help me in my weakness, that I might live a life that is pleasing to You. That I would take up my cross and follow You everyday.