Thursday, March 16th, 2017
Matthew 16 (Part 21)
Disciple Qualifications: Self-Denial
Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself...'
Matthew 16:24 (NKJV)
Abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.
1 Peter 2:11 (NASB)
Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king's choice food or with the wine which he drank.
Daniel 1:8 (NASB)
Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:25-27 (NASB)
Without doubt, Paul was a passionate man. He persecuted saints with great vigor. Then he pursued Christ with greater vigor. At the conclusion of Romans 7, in a painfully honest confession, Paul reveals his battles with self-control.*
It's a war we all face: lust versus love; lust for the physical things in the world: food, drugs, drinks, s_x, porn, wealth, fame, looks, cars, homes, rules, titles, awards, applause and power...
Versus love for the Father and the Son, seen in a different set of choices:
Choosing to give instead of receiving,
Choosing sacrifice instead of gaining,
Choosing forgiveness instead of fighting,
Choosing submission instead of strutting,
Choosing deference instead of bragging,
Choosing restraint instead of indulgence,
Choosing duty instead of carousing,
Choosing mercy instead of religion,
Choosing loyalty instead of new thrills,
Choosing cottages instead of mansions,
Choosing the basics instead of high end,
Choosing correction instead of back pats.
Choosing contentment instead of more things,
Choosing abstinence instead of fast flings,
Choosing modesty instead of display,
Choosing frugality instead of glut,
Choosing sobriety instead of highs,
Choosing simplicity instead of bling,
Choosing humility instead of pride,
Choosing God's grace instead of power trips,
Choosing God's path instead of easy streets,
Choosing God's Smile, instead of pleasing men,
Choosing God's Word instead of know-it-alls,
Choosing God's Son instead of dumb idols.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: You are affirming God in Heaven by denying selfishness on earth.
To Be Continued...
* The Conflict of Two Natures, Romans 7:14-25: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=romans+7%3A14-25&version=NASB
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Matthew 16 series.