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"Honoring God in the Morning"
From Mike MacIntosh
Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me."
I like the cartoon strip where Charlie Brown is doing woodwork in a shop when Lucy comes by and asks, "How's the birdhouse coming, Charlie Brown?" "Well," he sighs, "I'm a lousy carpenter, I can't nail straight, I can't saw straight, and I always split the wood. I'm nervous, I lack confidence, I'm stupid, I have poor taste, and absolutely no sense of design. So, all things consideredâ€¦ it's coming along okay."
You know, we're all a little like Charlie Brown. We fiddle with life, but at the end of the day, we see our frailties; we have insecurities. And marketers today know it. Entire industries thrive on exploiting our insecurities. Self-help authors promise to help you become the "champion within you." Skin products are promised to make you look and feel "younger," and exercise products will make you more "attractive." Everyone seems to be after that priceless gem of "self-esteem." ButJesus says that "if anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself.
It's not self-esteem that the Lord requires -- it's self-denial.
The apostle Paul was quick to admit that when it came to self-denial, he was the worst. "If anyone thinks he may have confidence in the flesh," he wrote, "I more so" (Philippians 3:4). That's coming from a man who was stoned, imprisoned and persecuted for his unyielding faith in Jesus. No doubt, self-denial does not come naturally. As humans, we tend to value "self" more than anything -- otherwise, self-denial would be easy! But how can we follow Jesus if our eyes are fixed on ourselves? How can we be obedient to His will if we put value in our own?
You see, our insecurities and our frailties are not caused by a lack of self-esteem. We esteem ourselves naturally. And the longer you look at yourself, the more insecure you will become. The higher the pedestal you build for yourself, the less stable your footing will become, and the further you will fall. No, our frailties are caused by our lack of self-denial to the One by whom all things were created, and in whom is all power, wisdom, and strength! (Revelation 5:12) Jesus is able to do "exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think," according to His "power that works in us" (Ephesians 3:20) -- but we must give Him full control. We must deny ourselves.
Today, don't fall for the myth that says you need more "self-esteem." Esteem the Lord in your life, and He will "supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).