15 JULY 2018               SELF DENIAL    And he, Jesus, said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23 Abandonment of Self Verily we are not to thwart or tease the ourself, Jesus tells us. That was not the purpose for which  God gave the self to us!  Jesus tells us we must leave the self altogether—yield it, deny it, refuse it, lose it. Thus only shall  we save it. Thus only shall we have a share in our own being. The self is given us that we may  sacrifice it. It is ours in order that we, like Christ, may have something to offer—not that we  should torment it, but that we should deny it; not that we should cross it, but that we should  abandon it utterly! What can this mean—we are not to thwart, but to abandon? How do we abandon without  thwarting?” It means this – we must refuse, abandon, deny self altogether as a ruling, or determining, or  originating element in us. It is to be no longer the regent of our action. We are no more to think,  “What would I like to do?" but “What would the Living One have me do?”  It is not selfish to take that which God has made us to desire. Neither are we particularly to be  praised for giving it up—we should only be wrong not to do so—-when He would deny it of us.  But to yield it up heartily, willingly, without a struggle or regret, is not merely to deny the self a  thing it would like, but to deny the self itself, to refuse and abandon it and leave it altogether. The  self is God's making—only it must be the "slave of Christ,” that the Son may make it also the free  son of the same Father. It must receive all from Him—not as from nowhere. Just like the deeper  soul, it must follow Him, not its own desires. It must not be its own law; Christ must be its law. The time will come when the self shall be so possessed, so enlarged, so idealized by the indwelling  God, who is its deeper, its deepest Self, that there will no longer be any enforced denial of it  needful. It will finally have been denied and refused and sent into its own obedient place. It will  have learned to receive with thankfulness, to demand nothing, to turn no more upon its own  centre, or think any more to minister to its own good. God's eternal denial of himself, revealed in  Christ who for our sakes in the flesh took up his cross daily, will have been developed in the man.  His eternal rejoicing will be in God—and in his fellows, before whom He will cast his glad self to  be a carpet for their walk, a footstool for their rest, a stair for their climbing.  Are you willing to abandon self for Christ?     From “Knowing the Heart of God” by George MacDonald edited by Michael Phillips used by permission. Bethany House Publishers
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