Bible Text: “If any want to be my followers, let them deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me” Matthew 16. 24-28
We are now in a “selfies” world. The social media news feeds are brimming with selfies, carefully touched-up photos of culinary or artistic masterpieces, display of shopping spree, snapshots of perfect vacations, self exhibited obscene pictures, and—perhaps most ironically—still life’s of devotional times, with an open Bible and steaming mug of coffee arranged just so. It seems that most of the pictures and video clips posted speak about personal comforts in life, self- gratification and a lot of narcissistic tendencies.
Jesus is giving us another option and it is extremely the other way around. It is not focused on selfie world but it is focused on self denial. This challenge is not a lip service for Jesus but He Himself was the pioneer and a model of this way of life. Remember what had happened to Jesus when He fasted for forty days and forty nights, He was tempted by the devil. He was even allured with popularity and powers. With all the temptations of Jesus, the devil is insinuating Jesus to doubt the love of His Father. If your Heavenly Father loves you, why did He wish you to be hungry, to be poor and powerless? Didn’t He know that when you are rich, powerful and healthy the more you can convince and make the people submissive to you? Jesus was very determined with His fight against the devil by courageously rejecting Satan in His life. You are not my God! I am doing all these because He is my God! To defeat Satan is deny ourselves with all the selfishness of this world. To deny ourselves from the deception of Satan is to accept what God wants us to do! Remember that even when Jesus was already crucified, the Devil never gave up and is still there trying to convince Him to command the angels to rescue Him from such gruesome death. All that Jesus can say is to this is the will of my Father and He is happy to die because it is the will of His Father.
Self denial is focusing on others. We deny so much food, try to live simply and do not waste money because we are thinking others. We are ready to mortify because we want others experience a little comfort in life. We do not want to give out of profusion but out of compassion. When we think of others, everybody wins! We are eradicating Satan from the face of the earth; the will of God is prevailing and at the same time alleviating the lives of the destitute. Self denial and the cross are indeed the secret of our victory!