Posts Tagged ‘self-denial’



But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God.” (John‬ ‭1‬:‭12‬ NKJV)

In the first inning of the April 25, 1976, Chicago Cubs game at Dodger Stadium, two individuals tried to burn an American flag in the outfield. Rick Monday, outfielder for the LA Dodgers, saw the incident and snatched the flag away, deeply grieved as a former soldier that this would take place. It was a battle of the Right of Free Speech vs the Right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. 

As Christians, our heavenly rights do not match our human rights. As members of a Church, we might expect the right to have a voice. As Americans, we demand much more. But as Christians, there are essentially two rights that we can cling to biblically: the right to become a child of God and the right to be filled with the Holy Spirit. When we pick up the cross to follow Jesus, we forfeit many other rights. 

Our rights are based upon our need to protect self and self-interests. But by carrying a cross, we are purposefully denying self for a greater cause: That Christ would guide our life and provide for what we need. As John the Baptist said in his own self-denying moment, “He (Jesus) must increase, and I must decrease.” (John 3:30) Choose the greater, better, harder path of discipline. Choose the life of Heavenly Rights! You are loved!

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And we were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” (Ephesians‬ ‭2‬:‭3‬ NKJV)

According to an article from India, much debate has existed as to why tigers kill and devour people. The author stated that “no responsibility can be attributed to the animal for its actions. The tiger can no more be blamed for killing and devouring than the atom for its blind movements, the fire for burning and consuming or the storm for its destructions…We can see clearly enough that it is not really the tiger, but Nature in the tiger that kills, it is Nature in the tiger that devours”.

It’s easy to look at the fallings and failures of others and give religious commentary as to what’s wrong with them. Truth is, we still contend with our own fallen natures. Though my heart belongs to God, that sin nature must still be overcome. How do I know it exists? If it didn’t, then I’d never face temptations and Satan couldn’t keep me from being a perfect person! It exists in all of us!

Our Christ Life journey is to keep that nature bowed in submission to Jesus Christ. It is a united effort of my desire to belong to Him and his work of trimming away inside of me. Come to Church tomorrow with a made-up mind that Christ will have His opportunity to keep changing your nature! Give yourself the chance to change your stripes! You are loved today!

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But Jesus said again, ‘Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God.'” (Mark‬ ‭10‬:‭24‬ NLT)

I remember the first time I went indoor rock climbing. Little kids were scampering up the sides like cockroaches! So, with an adult smirk, I put on the helmet, fastened on the rope clip, and thought to myself, “How hard could this possibly be?” Halfway up, with cramps paralyzing my body and petrified of the height (Don’t judge me, 10′ is a loooong way up!), I managed to survive the ordeal while reminding myself that I was no longer a kid and would live longer if I remembered that.

Living the Christ Life appears very simple to do, but in truth, it’s very hard to accomplish. Even Jesus said so! But it’s not because of the rules or the sacrifice, like most people would think. The Christ Life journey is difficult because we can’t do what we want and live selfishly. Not being an addict or living free of hatred and guilt is actually quite nice! But saying NO to the “fun stuff” that brings on all that misery is hard when your flesh is wanting to say YES.

When I reached the top of the rock wall, it was actually a pretty cool view and felt good. While there are some parts to living for God that aren’t exciting or fun, the end result is always worth it. Don’t blame God for things, especially when we are the ones that make it all seem hard or boring. After all, if it was easy, everybody would be doing it! You are loved today! Hang in there!