It was Nancy Reagan who said, “Just say no!” Well, some did and some didn’t. But if you’re smart, you know that she was right. There are times when you just have to deny yourself.
In Matthew 16:24 Jesus said that one of the conditions for having a meaningful relationship with Him was to deny yourself. The verse says, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If anyone [wishes to] come after me, let him deny himself…”
This word “deny” means to disown or repudiate.
So – disown yourself. Repudiate your own designs, plans, and desires. It’s a strong word, and a difficult concept to accept. Yet so often the worst enemy in our relationships is ourselves. People don’t like being with a selfish, self-serving person. It’s a big turn-off. In fact, the more you deny yourself in favor of reaching out to others, the more people will be drawn to you. It was Pogo in the cartoon, who said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Howard Hendricks, professor at Dallas Theological Seminar, said he used to pray, “Lord change my wife,” until he learned where the real problem was. And then he prayed, “Lord change my wife’s….husband!” Listen. The most natural inclination of the human heart is to be self-serving. But the most important lesson each of us can learn in life is to deny ourselves. So – Jesus isn’t trying to ruin your fun. He really has your best interest in mind when He said, “If anyone [wishes to] come after me, let him deny himself…” He wants you to get the most out of life.
Hey – denying yourself doesn’t mean for you to have a low self-image. It simply means you stop being selfish. You think of others first.