What is this, Thursday?


I would have posted earlier but needed to respond to a few comments on the
Mormon Posts[Mormons-are-not-Christians]. I'm no apologist but I at least had to state the facts. That's about all I'll do with that for now. Not enough rambling going on here.

One of the things I'd like to talk about is what Jesus says in Matthew 16. He and the disciples are going along and they stop to talk. Jesus says, "Who do you say that I am" and Peter answers, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And he really nails it. Jesus says He will build the church upon Peter, good stuff. In less time than it takes to lie in politics, Peter gets in the way, Jesus equates him to Satan, and then says to the group, "Anyone who wishes to follow after Me must deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow me."

So I'm mulling over just what does it mean to deny myself?

I'm a ruminator so...I'll mull a little more. Please give me any insight you might have. I'd love to hear it.

I'll be out tomorrow most of the day so maybe I can get up before 5:30 to blog a little. Or maybe tomorrow night. But that's Date Night and, well, that trumps blogging. I mean REALLY trumps it. Like football is better than soccer trumps. Or sweet Iced Tea is better than not sweet. Or home made popcorn is better than microwave trumps. That'll do.

Oh, and one week from yesterday we get to have Brent blog. At least once. Looking forward to it.


Anonymous said...

In the simple form it is Jesus typical way of expressing a truth. State it simply and then explicitly. First to deny self, then to consider one's self as good as dead to self, and follow His will. Another example is when dicussing forgiveness He said forgive not 7 times but forgive 7 times 7. We all tend to stop short of the fullness of His will for us. Mike McM

Mark said...

Brandon and Jenny, I think you've got it right. To deny yourself is to subordinate your will to His. A good way to work on the big picture is to work on little things, like small sacrifices that help you build discipline. A mentor of mine suggested that some days you just substitute water instead of whatever you really wanted, like Coke or tea. Or, take your coffee without sugar (one I started years ago, now it's no longer a sacrifice).

Another piece of advice I got was to make that extra effort to show charity and patience towards others. In our interactions with other people each day, undoubtedly there are things we're irritated by. We should embrace these things with joy that we can learn to deny ourselves and use it as an opportunity to pray for and appreciate others, including their defects.

Brandon and Jenny said...

Thanks for your comments and the practical things you have experienced in your own lives. It's great to hear about that. Loving people well is something I must take to the Lord every day.

I'm wondering, however, about the focus on us. The word used for 'deny' there by Jesus is the same word He used foretelling of Peter's denial - a complete denial of your relationship with someone.

Now, of course, I can't deny that I am a person, but when Jesus follows that with, "take up your cross" I have to think that He means suffering. That we must forget about ourselves, embrace suffering, and follow Him.

And I don't really like that. And yet was that not Christ's example? Yet we (at least me) spend a lot of energy avoiding suffering. I'm not taking about not taking aspirin for a headache or wearing horse hair shirts. But I am talking about the enormous energy spent in maintaining our comfort. Building prosperity doesn't seem to fit in here very well. Although I am able to do what I do because God has given others enough money that they give some to me.

Anyway...just thoughts. At the very least it causes me to reconsider suffering when I encounter it in my own life.