"Self-denial" effects every aspect of life... if you have decided to follow Jesus. Jesus said so!
It's not just giving up something, making resolutions to change, committing less sin, doing religious activities, or even punishing yourself for all your sins in the past. It's so much more: it's renouncing your very self! YOU must get off the "throne" of your life (which you never had the right to be on), and GOD must get on the throne. It's a matter of who has the ultimate control!
Jesus uses the word "hate," when describing the nature of our self-denial. But many people take offense - or at least downplay his words - because they assume (wrongly) that "hate" is always the contradiction of "love." This article shows that the two concepts do not always contradict each other, and that there are times when they must coexist.
Self-denial is incompatible with many (perhaps most) types of "self-love," but not all types. We need to recognize the differences and respond properly!
"Free time" is a time when you get to demonstrate what your real values are. It's your "golden opportunity" to show whether your life is characterized by self-denial or by self-love (of an evil kind). Your choices, taken within the context of life, will proclaim the truth about your values, even if your talk doesn't.
The way we use our money - and even our attitude toward it - will demonstrate what our real values are. Included in this first of three articles is the issue of how much we owe God, and whether or not we should tithe (donate 10% of our money to the church or to God, as was commanded in the Old Testament).
The way we use our money reflects values and issues that go far beyond money and possessions - and those ultimate values will come out, no matter how much money we have, or don't have. Two additional issues examined here are: 1) using money for one's self, and 2) giving money to a "church organization."
This final article related to money focuses on issues we should consider if we are planning to give contributions (money or non-monetary) to individuals and/or organizations. There are values and consequences related to our giving (or lack of giving), and these are as much a part of the whole picture, as is the item being given. And at the Day of Judgment, these other matters may prove to be a greater issue.
Though we've already described it in a variety of ways, this article presents a "formal" definition of what "self-denial" is all about. There are 4 parts to the definition, and together, they form a unified whole. These parts have to do with: 1) our attitude, 2) our actions, 3) our #1 purpose or goal, and 4) factors that influence when we should (or should not) "self-deny." (Most of the article focuses on this last issue.)
Though some remarks are made about the opponents of self-denial, the greater emphasis is on the counterfeits - the imposters. It's easy to do something that looks like self-denial, though it's actually more like "self-deception" - because God sees the fakeness hidden behind the surface pretension.
If God has called you to salvation, you will choose to respond. We do have a responsibility to deny ourselves. But when we do so, we should never forget that the power to do so came from God.
(This "Mission Moment" is exclusively for those who are genuine followers of Jesus.) Because sovereignty and responsibility work together, we can be encouaged when our "self-denial" seems weak. The very fact that it exists at all is an indication that God has begun a great work in us. The road of salvation is not easy, but God's power will get us to our final destination.
"Intermission" Between Two Topics
Since the previous "Mission Moment" was exclusively for those who are genuine followers of Jesus, it's appropriate that we would dedicate one exclusively to the fakes - and also to those who are afraid that they might be fakes (though they don't want to be so). Opportunity is given for making a decision (a choice) to do the things necessary to become genuine (or, for the fearful, to have doubts removed)... or to remain a fake.
These "Mission Moments" provide an opportunity for you to do something that will result in spiritual growth. But it requires you to be willing to get involved in the growing process. You cannot be passive and expect spiritual growth to just "happen"!