“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
“Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)
Denying self. What does this mean? For years, I thought it meant denying self-worth. Statements like, “You don’t deserve (finish this sentence with any good thing, want, or idea)”, “You’re a worthless sinner”, “You’re not good enough” went through my head, and I let them have free reign. (And then those thoughts took the reigns, cut them, and let the worst run free inside me, and it nearly destroyed me. But that’s another post for another day.) While it is true that we are all sinners, Christ died for us all, and I believe that.
He made our sins as white as snow. (Isaiah 1:18)
Depression took a truth as Satan did when Jesus was in the wilderness, and twisted it into something that it was not ever meant to say.
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.”
But He answered and said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, “If thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, ‘He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.” (Note: Satan is misquoting Psalm 91:11&12)
Jesus said unto him, “It is written again, ‘Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.’ ”
Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto Him, “All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.”
Then saith Jesus unto him, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.’ ”
Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
(Matthew 4: 1-11)
In reality, a twisted truth is a crafty way to say, “lie.”
Verses are intended to be read in context. Sometimes it is possible to take a verse and then apply it to a situation that it was not addressing.
That is dangerous. Very dangerous.
It misleads the soul.
Denying self and denying self-worth are entirely different things. What I believe “denying self” means is what Paul spoke of in Romans 8: deny the wants of the flesh self and walk after the Spirit. 🙂