The only way Jesus can give Himself is if we deny our self. The Bible says in Luke 9:23:
“If any man come after me, He must deny himself, pick up his cross and follow me.” Most Christians forget this very essential scripture in their walk with Christ. The Bible in the Old Testament talks about the priests who mix holy and profane things.
Profane things are anything from the “soulish” realm and many are mixing their soulish things, the things of the flesh, with “Holy” Kingdom things. This is the reason many try to follow God yet are still wrestling between two lives because they don't follow His instruction for following Him. What He said to the disciples was an instruction. This is how you will come after Me and have Me. You must deny yourself, and because many are not denying themselves, they are mixing things that come from “Self” with things that come from Him. Mixing holy and profane. What is profane? The flesh is profane.
The Bible talks about the works of the flesh; in other words, you can call the works of the flesh, the works of self. It says, “Out of the heart of man come these things: evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness.” Mark 7:21-23 and so on. All these things that come from our flesh are coming from our own hearts, our own self. These things we must kill. You may look at that list and say, “Well, I’m not an adulteress.” “I’m not a murderer.” Beloved, do not fool yourself. If you have eaten from Jezebel’s table, the book of Revelation says you have committed adultery. 1 John 3:15 says whoever hates his brother is a murderer.
See Galatians 5:19-21.
Don't look at the works of the flesh with a carnal mind. The works of the flesh are deeper than that. You may not be drinking and getting drunk but you may be drunk on the cares of this life. That's why the Bible says to be sober-minded. It wasn't talking to drunks. It was talking to those who were distracted by the cares of this life. You may not have a lust problem, but the Bible says covetousness is lust. You may not be coveting a woman or a man, but if you are coveting a job or a lifestyle, you have a lust problem!
People look at the works of the flesh and they say, “check, check, check…” “Nope, not doing any of those.” You are religious! Anything apart from God is of the flesh. Religion is of the flesh. Those who have a form of godliness but deny the power are of the flesh. Doing things in your own strength is a work of the flesh. Doing things to be liked or seen is a work of the flesh. Man pleasing is a work of the flesh. Religion is of the flesh. So don't be self-righteous because any of those things and more are of the flesh. You may not be sinning with your body but you may be sinning in your heart and mind. If you’re offended, you’re in the flesh. If you’re in fear, you’re in the flesh. None of those are done with the body but are done on the inside.
So how do we kill these things? Paul talks about putting to death the deeds of the flesh by the Spirit. So we must follow the Spirit, but Jesus says if you want to come after me, you must deny yourself. Deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow me, in that order. In other words, I can’t really follow Him if I keep following myself. I have to deny myself. I have to deny what I want to do and where I want to go. Self doesn't want to do what He wants to do. He will do what He wants to do in us, but we stop doing what we want to do and we must get ourselves out of the way! We must prepare a way for the Lord, and you can prepare it but getting the roadblock out of the way. What is the roadblock? It's you! You are the one getting in God's way, and really, getting in your way.
You must deny yourself. How do you kill something? You don't feed it! Many people keep going around the mountain doing the same old thing beating themselves up for doing it over and over. Yet Jesus is telling, us we have the key! Deny self! Kill it! Stop feeding it. There are some things we need deliverance from but there are some things that don't take deliverance. They take self-denial. What it takes to stop doing what you’re doing is nail it on the cross. Cast down the imagination, take every thought into captivity, gird your loins, bridle your tongue – these are denying self. You may have a problem being critical, you may have a problem with offense or jealousy, but who said we have to submit to our feelings? Who said we had to submit to our thoughts?
Your feelings will try and overcome you, your thoughts will try and overcome you, deny them! Nail them to the cross, and over time, you start to see that those feelings and thoughts are not there anymore because you have put them to death. Some of us try and kill something in our life but because it is not dead yet, we eventually just give up and give in. You need to keep nailing that thing until it is finished!
What do you do to a plant that you want dead? Take away its sunlight, don't feed it water, and it will die. Yet you are feeding your flesh and you want it to die? Here you are feeding your flesh, and then right after looking up to God, “Deliver me!” Yet He's saying to you, No! Deny Yourself. Paul said he disciplines his body and brings it into subjection. Meaning he denies himself!
He didn't feed his feelings. He didn't entertain his thoughts. He was a dead man, and now we are called to die that we may live. Jesus was called the firstborn from the dead, why? Because He was the first of many that are called to rise from the dead. Now it's your turn to die. It's your turn to be nailed on that cross and kill carnality. Jesus died physically and all He's asking us to do is die spiritually. Die to what we want, how we think, what we want to do that we may fulfill what He wants to do.
“For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these two are contrary to one another, so that you do not do what you wish.” Galatians 5:17
So that you would not do what you wish! That you would not do what you want! God made it this way that you would know what is from Him and what is not from Him. That when your flesh wants something you know it’s not of God, but when it’s the Spirit, it is our cup to drink. What we want, what self wants, is what the devil wants. The devil's motto is, “Do what you want,” because he knows what you want deep down are profane things. False teachers will come and say do what you want. Jesus did it all. Yet, beloved, He only did it all so that He could do it all in you but you must die to self. He gained us when He died and we gain Him when we die.
The things that you want are the things of the flesh. That's why it’s called the works of the flesh because all those things are what our flesh works for and wants. On the other side of death is life. People hear Jesus telling us to die to ourselves but they get rubbed the wrong way by it. They make ugly faces towards it.
Yet last time I checked after Jesus died He was resurrected. Life was on the other side of death. Life leads to death and death leads to life. Those who try and save this life will lose it and those who lose their life will save it. The ones that lose it for Him, that lose their dreams and aspirations for Him, will see Him. Don’t look at deny self as a dreadful thing because it is the most glorious of things. The disciples mourned and lost hope when they saw Jesus die but they didn't realize He was going to rise again. That resurrection was on the other side. So why are you losing hope? Because when you embrace the cross you embrace glory. When you embrace the cross you embrace Him, and He embraces you. As you lay your life down, He lays down His life. That you may have life and life more abundant. Life-giving water. That He may increase if we decrease. That He will be strong when we are weak. The death of flesh is the life of the Spirit.
By. Joe Pinto
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