My faith is once again questioned…..

by Rod Smith

How can you be a Christian AND promote the idea of growing your SELF?

Christians often have little idea of what it means to deny self or to die to self. There is apparently less understanding of what it means to love self and love others. The “mixed” message of “deny self” (a condition of discipleship / Mark 8:34, see also Luke 9:25 NIV) and “love self” (Jesus commanded “love others like you love yourself” in Mark 12:31), I agree, can be confusing.

Jesus did not mean we were to deny we have a self! He meant we were to deny serving the self we know, love, develop, and enjoy.

Conversion to Christianity does not mean your self disappears or that your self is something to be ignored. Conversion TRAINS and DEVELOPS the self to love and serve God.

At conversion the self gets a new perspective. It gets a new focus. At the Cross the SELF gets and a new reason to live. Conversion is the beginning of self-renewal. The self is offered to God as a gift for restoration, renewal, and service.

Rather than serving self, obeying self, and being self-centered and being self-indulgent, at CONVERSION the self decides to serve God and others. At conversion the self submits itself to God’s will, becomes focused on Who God is and What God wants.

Denial of self (as ordered by Jesus) is a person’s decision to refuse self-indulgence and to turn the self toward full service of God.

It takes a developing, growing, and healthy self to love and serve a healthy God.

A non-self, an ignored self, a self whose very existence is denied, cannot love anyone or anything, let alone love and serve a perfect God.

I believe Jesus meant we were to discover who we are, understand who we are, love who we are – while offering all of who we are unequivocally to God as an act of worship, service and sacrifice.

We are to offer ourselves to God as a living, growing sacrifice (Romans 12).

There is a huge difference between identifying and developing a self to serve God and living in the denial that we have a self at all.

Jesus was a SELF to be reckoned with – yet He was not selfish at all — be the same.

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