By Chidiebere Dennis Owah.
SELF-DENIAL: A MISSING INGREDIENT IN MODERN CHRISTIANITY:
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.(Luke 9:23).
The modern Christianity, when juxtaposed with that of Bible days, is lacking in one important area-that is that of self-denial and self-discipline.Selfishness, self-indulgence and self-absorption is now the order of the day among modern day Christians.
Obviously, that is why it is absolutely imperative today to put this teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ in focus. And, we are going to do that from three perspectives. They are the following:
1.CHRIST’S PRECEPT ON SELF-DENIAL: And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.(Luke 9:23).
Self-denial is an express and explicit command and demand of Christ our Lord and Redeemer. Any teaching that downplays it will be tantamount to espousing and propagating spurious doctrine on Christian discipleship. Meanwhile, we need to emphasis the fact that the Lord Jesus himself demonstrated this attitude and lifestyle that is expected of His genuine disciple. He taught us by example. And, it will be fit and proper that we be like our master.
2.CHRISTIANS’ PRACTICE OF SELF-DENIAL: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gala.2:20).
There has to be a deliberate, well thought out decision on the part of the genuinely converted Christian disciple to practice self-denial and self-discipline in a calculated bid to please the Lord. It is not optional, but obligatory upon the believer to live a life of self-denial.
3. CONQUEROR’S PRIZE FOR SELF-DENIAL: But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil.3:7, 8, 14).
There is an Eternal reward, an enduring prize, if you will, that awaits the Christian conqueror who demonstrated self-denial in the face of widespread selfishness and self-indulgence.
May you be the one in Jesus name.