But Lot’s wife looked back,
and she became a pillar of salt.
Are you still looking back?
This is what Jesus has to say from Luke 9:23…
“Jesus said to everyone,
“All who want to come
after me must say no to
themselves, take up their
cross daily, and follow me.”
Self-denial – For many of us, this is very hard to do. Probably because life seems better when we are in control.
The thing is, when Christ died on the cross and resurrected on the third day, He did not just save us from hell or give us what some people like to call a “fire insurance”, but He gave us life in abundance. He restored us to a life that is much better than what Adam and Eve had prior to their disobedience to God.
…”I have come so that they
may have life, and may have
What did Jesus mean by “abundant life”?
We know that through Adam, sin came into the world with death as its penalty (Romans 5:12). Death here pertains to spiritual death – we lost our identity as people created in the likeness of God. So if eating the forbidden fruit led to spiritual death, Jesus’ promise of an abundant life could only mean restoration of life that is better than the life Adam and Eve had prior to the fall – Selah!
“But the Lord God warned him,
“You may freely eat the fruit of
every tree in the garden— except
the tree of the knowledge of good
and evil. If you eat its fruit, you
are sure to die.”
Self-denial does not sound good because old habits that are not pleasing to God, but pleasing to our flesh, will have to die. No one likes the sound of death because it means separation from the things and people we love. It also implies discomfort.
Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:14-17 NLT
Also self-denial requires us to trust God at all times, especially when we do not have the answer to these five friends – what, when, where, who and why. An example of someone who “moved” or “acted” without knowing what was at the end of the tunnel is Abraham. God said to Abraham, “go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1 NIV). Abraham did not know where he was being sent to but he had to trust God. He also did not know how he was going to father nations but he had to trust God.
When Jesus admonishes us to deny ourselves, he is also saying we should focus on Him – “stop focusing on your weaknesses – your limitations, stop focusing on your past, stop focusing on your status quo…etc.” This is easier said than done, but Jesus promised us a helper – the Holy Spirit. He helps us to deny ourselves, carry our cross daily and follow Jesus. Carrying our cross daily shows that our walk with Christ is a deliberate act of surrender to God’s will for our lives each day. Like Jesus, we are saying to our Father, “yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
As we follow Jesus by being obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit, we exhibit the personality of Christ. This is captioned as the fruit of the Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Against such things there is no law. Now
those who belong to Christ have crucified
the flesh with its passions and desires.
Remember Lot’s wife?
When she turned to look at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, she was probably thinking about the seemingly good life she lived there.
Unfortunately, some of us Christians, especially those of us new to the faith, like Lot’s wife, are still holding on to “self” – still looking back and gratifying the desires of our flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). As followers of Christ, know that we have not left behind a “good” life – we were once dead in our sinful nature, Jesus Christ saved us and gave us life in abundance.
Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it. Luke 17:32-33 NET
Stay Blessed and know that God deeply loves you and has only good plans for you, so trust Him on your faith journey with all your heart. 💞
The link to my blog is http://www.thebelieversnotes.wordpress.com/