“In your relationships with one another,
have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…”
Philippians 2:5 (NIV)
Every year when I was young and in Sunday School we had a couple of months that were called “Self denial”. Each scholar was given a card into which dimes could be inserted. The object of the exercise was to give up something each week in order to give funds to benefit suffering poor people in third world countries.
Back in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s it cost a child 12 cents to go to the theatre so a dime valued at 10 cents would be a real sacrifice for a child. A week’s allowance by our parents then was 15-25 cents. Denying ourselves by giving 10 cents each week meant we might miss the theatre or else the treats or toys we were saving for. That was really sacrificing ourselves in order to benefit others.
Each winter when self denial came around we children groaned within ourselves. We knew we had to deny ourselves so that our church would have funds to send to poor people. It was a good exercise and over the years we learned to give up some of our pleasures so that others might have their needs met.
Christianity’s message is one of self denial. Our Saviour had every right to remain in heaven and allow the whole world to slide down into eternal destruction. The only possible way for sinners to be redeemed was for Jesus to deny Himself, leave the privileges He deserved in glory and accept the punishment due for our sins.
If you are being denied some things right now can you accept it as your form of imitating the Lord Jesus? Will you take the pain, the heartbreak, the suffering and lay it at Jesus’ feet as an offering to Him for what He has done for you? That is acceptable to the Lord.
Today spend a few moments considering what Jesus is calling on you to give up as an offering to Him. Perhaps it is a small luxury you desire, some style of living you would love to have. Possibly you should purchase a less expensive car. The funds you save on that transaction could be used to relieve suffering in a third world country. It is not my business to tell you how to deny yourself but it is my responsibility to tell you that you need to deny yourself if you wish to follow Jesus and imitate His life and ministry.
Whatever it is—come to Jesus and say, “Master I deny myself this for love of you.” Be willing to give up something now that you will certainly leave behind when you finally step into His eternal presence. In light of eternity—is anything too much to give up here and now? I think not. Deny yourself now for the love of Jesus.