I started thinking the other day of reasons the way Jesus denied himself for me is so much greater than any way I might ever deny myself for him.
I’ve got three that came to mind right away, maybe you have some more to add to the list.
1.) Denying myself for God makes sense because He’s God. I am a creature, He is the Creator. There is an infinite distance between God and me. Anytime I deny myself for Him that makes sense. God though, He is worthy in and of Himself to be served. He is the Creator. When God denies Himself for me that is therefore substantially different and greater than me denying myself for Him.
2.) I need to deny myself. God blesses me for my self-denial. My good is wrapped up in self-denial. Jesus, on the other hand, didn’t need anything. He doesn’t receive something from me that He was lacking before He denied Himself.
3.) There’s really no way I know of to quantify the self-sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf, but I do know that if I were to compare His act of self-denial with anything I might do, what He did was much more difficult and much more painful and much greater than anything I might do. What He gave up was greater – heaven to earth. What He went through was more intense – the cross, the punishment for the sins of the world.
One thought on “On Self-Denial”
4.) Denying myself pleases God.
If you can wrap your mental faculties around that, you’re doin’ better than me, but I know it’s true.
When the widow cast her mites into the treasury, Jesus publicly commended her act of faithful, obedient self-sacrifice. She gave all that she had; her whole livelihood. She denied herself as an idividual for the sake of God’s corporate work in the Temple.
Her name isn’t even recorded, but if I say “the widow and her two mites”, you know exactly who I mean. God has caused her to be remembered. Because he, himself, remembers her. And he remembers her because he was pleased with her selfless service.
Her act is especially pointed when you consider all the other nonsense that passed for worship in the Temple in those days.
Check out Nehemiah 13:7-14. See the prayer in v. 14? I wonder if the widow knew this Scripture and prayed it as she quietly, humbly, unnoticed by men, waited for her Savior’s parallel work of cleansing the Temple several centuries later.
Unnoticed by men, but forever etched in the “memory” of the eternal, true and living God.
God, give us two mites. And then give us the wisdom and grace to give them away.