Deny Yourself

Scripture: Mark 8:34b-35, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.’

 

Observations: Last night in our Small Group we learnt an acronym (SPACEPETS) to help us ask probing questions of the Bible.

Is there a SIN to confess? Yes, how often do we try and save our own life rather than trust in Jesus’ death on the cross.

Is there a PROMISE to claim? Yes, if I lose my life for Jesus’ sake I will receive eternal life.

Is there an ATTITUDE to change? Yes, I need to deny myself, I need to submit my desires to the desires of Jesus.

Is there a COMMAND to obey? Yes, Jesus calls me to deny myself, take up my cross and follow Jesus.

Is there an EXAMPLE to follow? Yes, Jesus took up his cross and gave up his life, and God exalted him to the highest place.

Is there a PRAYER to pray? Yes, the only way that I will deny myself and give my life to Jesus is if the Holy Spirit changes my heart, and fills me with a desire to give all of my life to Jesus.

Is there an ERROR to avoid? Yes, trying to save my own life will ultimately mean I lose it – I can’t save myself.

Is there a TRUTH to believe? Yes, that in giving my life to Jesus he will save it.

Is there SOMETHING to praise God for? Yes, that Jesus gave his life so that in him I can receive life.

 

Application: Following Jesus isn’t just believing that Jesus died for my sins on the cross, it’s also believing that Jesus is who he said he is – that he is Lord. To follow Jesus means to give my life to him, so that I can receive a better life, eternal life. To follow Jesus means denying my desires, it means putting myself last, and following Jesus’ desires, and putting his will first in my life. Following Jesus means being willing to suffer like Jesus suffered, so that I may be exalted like Jesus was exalted. Am I willing to deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Jesus?

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I know that Jesus is my only hope, but often I don’t live like he is. Lord, so often I am ruled by my own desires, rather than serving Yours. Lord, help me to deny myself and put You first in my life. Lord, fill me with the Holy Spirit and change my heart, that my life may no longer be about me, but that it will be all about You and Your glory. And Lord, if that means suffering for the name of Jesus then I am willing to do so that people may know that You are Lord and God. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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