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July 2024 (Deny Yourself and Follow Me)

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul.” Matthew 16:24-26


“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age. Galatians 2:20


“For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” Romans 6:23


“And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to have eternal life?” And He said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, honour your father and mother, and, you shall love your neighbour as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” Matthew 19:16-22


General Reflections:

 

Self-denial means intentional disowning of one’s self, or stepping away from relationship or giving up possessions, positions, prestige and accolades. Nobody who genuinely follows Jesus can hold on to even the smallest bit of their own agenda, their own dreams, their own plans and their own way of living in the world. They must sacrifice every ounce of self if they would choose to follow Him.


When we put our trust in Jesus day in day out, when we fight to endure to the end, we place all our hope, dreams and aspirations in the One who gave His life for us so that we could find joy and peace and live our life to the full.


Denying yourself can also involve putting the needs of others before your own and being willing to serve and help those who are in need. Serving others can help you step outside of yourself and develop a greater sense of empathy and connection with others. This can lead to a greater sense of fulfillment, purpose and meaning in your life.

Denying ourselves means getting rid of our worldly desires and passions; and live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives especially in this present age of materialism, individualism, secularism, fake news and self-centredness.


In the parable of the rich young man, Jesus reminds us that no one can be saved by his or her money, possessions, skills, talents, intellect or good looks. Only our faith and relationship with Jesus can save us.

 

Personal Reflections:


How does your relationship with money and possessions reflect your relationship with God?


How do your job, family, activities and schedule affect your service?

Do you see Jesus in the poor, the sick and the needy or do you simply turn a blind eye from them?


How difficult is it for you to deny yourself and let go of money and material possessions to help others?


Are you willing to go out of your way to serve and help others who are in need? In what ways have you practically helped others lately?


When you give, do you give generously?

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