From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
Matthew 16:21 – 24
Denying oneself does not come without effort. Your biggest struggle is not your outer man; it is your inner man. You are your biggest problem. Think about anything you crave on a regular basis. Whatever the object of your concern is, it is within your willpower to resist that desire.
When a man can direct his concerns appropriately, he can break free from anything. Jesus demonstrated this principle in a powerful way. He showed Peter the difference between human and Godly concern. Because of Jesus, we get a glimpse on how to move from human to heavenly concern: self-denial.
When a man lets go of his concerns and take up God’s, you exchange one for the other. Being God’s man means making that exchange just as Jesus did. “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Jesus embodied self-denial.
DO THIS TODAY: Name something you are concerned about and offer it to God. Practice self-denial.