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We live in a world of instant gratification. Everything is automated and readily available to be brought directly to us with little or not effort. That is the expectation that we have created for ourselves, and more importantly our children. Today’s children are growing up in a world where effort and sacrifice are replaced by laziness and apathy. Every other day there is an article detailing the dramatically increasing statistics on childhood obesity because everything they want is being brought directly to them and they have no motivation to seek it on their own. The days of “playing outside” are quickly being obsolete. However, I believe strongly in the advancement of modern society and striving for technological greatness. I am a big supporter of innovation and progress, growing and adapting, but not at the cost of moving away from what God teaches us as a pivotal requirement for spiritual fulfillment. That teaching is self-denial.
The primary example of self denial in the Bible is fasting. The physical act of denying ourselves food so that God can fulfill us. Matthew 6:16-18 says. “Fasting draws me closer to Christ. One of three things that we do in private that God rewards in public.” What do we, as a culture, deny ourselves of today?
Bob Sorge had this to say about self denial;
“The world denies itself nothing, so when you embrace self-denial, you are doing something other worldly. Self-denial demonstrates that we do not love the world nor the things in the world.”
There is your answer. We deny ourselves nothing. It’s not the “American way.” We want what we want and we want it now. The mere thought of denying ourselves what we perceive as important to us is as foreign as anything else. So, what is the result of our lack of self-denial?
I believe the result is struggle. A never ending yearning for what comes next. A powerful driving force that will never cease to let up. As we constantly seek more that the world has to offer without even the slightest thought of sacrifice, spiritual and physical fulfillment gets farther and farther away.
Think about what it is that you are seeking. Healthier body, financial security, relationship bliss, a closer family. Regardless of what the “it” is, think about what you are willing to sacrifice and deny yourself in order to reach it. There is power in letting go. There is success in self-denial. Because when you let go of your perception of what you can and can’t do and allow God to take over, the happiness you seek will be revealed to you.
What is your crutch? What are you allowing to stand in the way of getting where you want to be? My challenge for you this week is to let go. Deny yourself whatever that “thing” is and be willing to work for it. Nothing in this life worth having ever came easy. Letting go won’t come easy. But you can do it and when you do God will show you unfathomable greatness. I wish you my best, and good luck.
Have an amazing week!