Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Test for Self-Denial

Doesn't that just sound wrong? To deny yourself? Our culture tells us the complete opposite. They cheer us on to enjoy our best life now and to be all that we can be.

But as followers of Christ, we have different priorities. We are to give up our lives and live for Him.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

In the sermons that I mentioned in yesterday's post, our beloved Pastor gives a test for whether or not you are in the habit of denying yourself.  

1. Are your priorities in line with those of Christ?
2. Are you easily offended when someone does or says something that hurts you? 

Wow ! Talk about convicting!

So, are my priorities in line with those of Christ? Do I care for the lost? Am I going out into the world to preach the gospel and make disciples? Do I care for the hurting and those who are living without hope?

Am I easily offended? Gulp. I hate to admit that I can be, but I have seen growth in this area, thanks to the Holy Spirit's gentle nudging.

I used to be super offended in traffic - you know, when that *crazy* thinks he is more important than me and cuts me (and everyone else) off in traffic. Or someone forgets to use their turn signal. Or the worst, they leave their turn signal on for miles!

Thanks to the Lord's amazing mercy and grace, I am able to see these situations as times for me to practice patience and love. God is Sovereign and in control of all things. He knows that person just cut me off. I am not responsible for their driving, only my own reaction.

Even though I have seen progress, I still have so far to go. All it takes is for my darling husband to point out something that I could have done differently and my shields are up! I feel the urge to just 'let him have it'. Thankfully the Holy Spirit is helping me identify this as well - but usually I don't listen until after I have let out a couple quick jabs. So I am trying to work on being quick to confess my sin and ask for forgiveness - as well as being humble enough to accept the critical words in the first place.

I am big on self-talking. This can be very helpful if I am reminding myself of Christ's priorities for my life. I like to repeat scripture; that's always helpful. Other things that I gently remind myself of are:

"Die to self, die to self."

"I am thankful for this opportunity to serve."

"Does this look like love?"

"If Jesus returned, would I want Him to find me doing this?"

Once we have our thoughts and hearts in line with Jesus, giving up the other stuff just seems easy. If we have our eyes on Him, then we won't want to waste our time or money on the superfluous junk of this world.

But if serving the LORD
seems undesirable to you,
then choose for yourselves this day
whom you will serve,
whether the gods your ancestors
served beyond the Euphrates,
or the gods of the Amorites,
in whose land you are living.
But as for me and my household,
we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua 24:15

2 comments:

  1. Amazing. Thank you so much for sharing! What a blessing. I AM SO EASILY offended. But with this outlook, this lens of Truth...why should I be offended? Who am I? I must deny myself that I may serve and love others the way that God in flesh denied Himself completely and bore my sins to the death. Oh so convicting!! I love reading your posts...thanks again for sharing your heart. Praise God!

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  2. I am so glad that you enjoyed (well, in a convicting sort of way) the post. I sit at the feet of such great teachers that I just feel obligated to share their wisdom (which of course has its roots in the only place true Wisdom can be found - the Bible). Have a great day ! Blessings.

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