Self denial is a Christian doctrine, and an unnatural doctrine. I say this because once men find that they have a thing called a “self”, they also find that they have naturally strived to put that self over and above all others since the time they were young. This is tragic but absolutely critical to recognize. Tragic because it is tragic to find that the one thing you love more than anything on the planet is your own self. It is a horrendous thought to know that you care more for yourself than those around you, family and friends included. More so, it is appalling to look back over the trace of your life and actually see patterns of this taking place, where you see plain as day in “this situation” or in “that conversation” that you actually could not have cared less about anyone but yourself and what you could get out of the situation personally.
But, as I also said it is absolutely critical to recognize this if you want to live a Christian life at all. Why? Because the Christian life begins in repentance, and in order for one to repent one must know that they have done wrong and truly desire to turn from those ways to something more excellent – they way of Christ. Jesus said that if we seek to save our lives we must lose them for the sake of the gospel (Matthew 10:39). Thus, the beginning of all good things in Christ means that we must come to the end of ourselves and find Christ as He really is, all-satisfying and supremely worthy of all of our affections. But did you notice that coming to taste and embrace Jesus as He really is begins with coming to the end of yourself?
May God open our hearts and eyes to the glorious reality that those things we deny for the sake of the gospel are empty wells while He Himself proves to be what He is – everything we have always wanted.