Two Words You Never Hear Together

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Tuesday, February 02, 2016. Posted in Devotional

Two Words You Never Hear Together

When was the last time you saw a billboard, magazine ad, pop-up, or commercial that told you to "deny yourself"?

Never?

OK, well, how about TV personalities, celebrities, government officials, policy-makers, professors, and other intellectuals? Who is saying, "Deny yourself"?

… crickets …

We live in a society where the media tells us, "Indulge yourself," and voices from the podium declare, "Affirm yourself."

Yet, 2,000+ years ago, Jesus Christ told His disciples and followers, "Deny yourselves."

A few months ago, I felt pressed to study this concept. So, naturally, I procrastinated and put it off. Finally, after months and months, I read the verses in Matthew, Mark, Luke and 3 Nephi that tell us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus.

I initially bristle at being told, "Deny yourself," or, "Control yourself," or simply, "No." Yet, it's often exactly what I need to hear. I huff and puff and retort, "You're not the boss of me," or, "How dare you judge me."

I'd much rather hear ear-ticklers like these: "I have my reasons." "It's just the way I am." "I want to."

I need to do more than believe in Christ. I need to actually follow Him.

I don't want to spend all day pushing the rock up the hill only to find that it's rolled back down to the bottom come morning. I yearn to live for something greater than my own piddley little kingdom.

I think that this resonates somewhere in you, too. Humans are hard-wired for selfishness, yet we've also got this open port that's buzzing and sparking with electricity, waiting for the right connection to plug itself in … so we're no longer isolated and alone. We're attached to something greater — attached to our Creator.

But, these scriptures tell me that the first step toward that Christ-connection is denying myself.

I'm afraid that the worldly messages of indulge yourself, satisfy yourself, and affirm yourself are so, so, so tidal-wave strong, and have been for generations, that I don't even know what "deny yourself" means, really — what Jesus intended it to mean.

It's my personal goal to explore these scriptures and the concept of "deny yourself" in the New Year and blog about what I discover. I hope to answer these simple questions:

  • What does "deny yourself" really mean?
  • Why does it matter and what's at stake?
  • Deny myself of what things specifically?
  • What's the benefit of doing something so contrary to "human nature"?

Challenge! Post a comment with scriptures that can point me in the right direction as I begin this journey.

This article has undergone ministry review and approval.

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Comments (9)

  • Enza Pusillo

    Enza Pusillo

    02 February 2016 at 07:23 |
    Sis. Michelle, this scripture begs us to put aside or deny our selves of things that cause us to stumble as we "run" our race towards Jesus and our final home. Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

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  • Christine M

    Christine M

    02 February 2016 at 07:52 |
    Sister Enzas comment makes me think of the things in my life that distract me. For me, a big thing is being too busy to make time for God. But scripture tells me to Be Still. So denying myself, for me, is denying the go go go mentality and finding time for stillness. :) Love, Sis Christine M

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  • Linda Scolaro

    Linda Scolaro

    02 February 2016 at 08:32 |
    Michelle Beautiful insight. In reading Sister Christine's comment, I am reminded of the scripture, Psalms 90:12, Teach me to number thy days so that I may apply my heart to wisdom. The Lord gave me this understanding when I literally was home sick flat on my back with an injury resulting from stress, i was 6trying to compete in the corpirate world and measurung my value against a worldly standard,

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  • DAVID NOLFI

    DAVID NOLFI

    02 February 2016 at 10:39 |
    The question to answer is NOT why should I deny myself BUT should I seek to please Jesus Christ and walk in perfection.

    Moroni 10:32,33 " Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
    And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

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  • Sharon Sloan

    Sharon Sloan

    02 February 2016 at 13:51 |
    We should all do this. Denying ourselves will always bring the blessing.

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  • B Coppa

    B Coppa

    02 February 2016 at 15:59 |
    When thinking about denying the natural I go to Mosiah 3:19.

    "For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."

    I think childlike submission is a wonderful parallel. A child constantly receives loving instruction from it's parent, but often doesn't completely understand why. From the begining the evil one played on the fact that mankind doesn't always understand the will of God and used that opportunity to create doubt about the motive of God's commandment. There can't be faith without trust and we can't show God love without following His commandments.

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  • Jonathan

    Jonathan

    02 February 2016 at 18:31 |
    1 Corinthians 10:13 - It's good to remember that we're not alone when we struggle with something. Watching everyone else indulge while we stand alone makes us feel like we can't overcome the temptation. But everyone struggles with like passions, others have gone before us and overcome, and God promises us a way of escape.

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  • Teri-Lyn Tunno

    Teri-Lyn Tunno

    03 February 2016 at 21:55 |
    I absolutely LOVED this blog!! It is something I ponder on as well Sis. Michelle and so wish to follow the correct path. I LOVED all the comments as well and wanted to "LIKE" each one. Though I am not real good with scripture, I think of the Sermon on the Mount when I think of "denying myself". There is so much there about what to do and what not to do. I believe that when we deny ourselves, we raise ourselves up to a higher level of righteousness, hence closer to God and many blessings. I had to print this blog out so I can read it and all the comments again and again. Such a blessing.... :)

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  • Sister Michelle Watson

    Sister Michelle Watson

    03 February 2016 at 22:50 |
    Thank you all for the great comments and scriptures! This really helps me focus my thoughts. Look for another article on this topic next week!

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