Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.'
In gut-wrenching Psalms, David reveals his intense battle with depression.*
In Romans 7, Paul reveals his anguished struggle with self-denial.**
In both of these men, God reveals their progression in becoming like Christ.
Because Jesus spent a lifetime denying Himself and affirming God. He denied His Own welfare, comfort, power, promotion and survival. God was His energy, family, identity and eternity.
On the other side of the field is the devil: the ruler of this world. Toward God and kin, he exampled the opposite standard of conduct. He fell deeply in lust with himself and sought heavenly affirmation.
When he lost his power play with God, he sought to win everything on earth, especially God's cherished children. Then Jesus came as the better Way, but we remain free to choose our team.
So Satan tempts us with worldly perks, applauding hands and self-indulgence, as if all these things will bring us joy.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Self-denial is your hardest act:
To refuse what the world says is good,
To live in contentment with little,
To see interruptions as godly,
To stop defending your positions,
To know money isn't the answer,
To realize sweet treats turn bitter,
To forget selfish goals of stardom,
To remember fans can be fickle,
To thank God for His perfect timing,
To appreciate every small stage,
To witness Christ in a waiting room,
To humble yourselves when others don't,
To sacrifice your plans for people... are performances fit for a King.
I can't pretend my own mastery. But I can remind us of The Goal.
To fuel up at God's filling station requires our arrival on empty.
## The Enemy's Game: Countermeasures--Self-Denial (Part 57)
* Good article: Psalms 42-43, Dealing With Depression: https://bible.org/seriespage/psalm-42-43-dealing-depression
* Good article: Down, Discouraged, Dispirited, Depressed, Disheartened. And Very Lonely: http://gospelapologetics.com/2012/02/19/down-discouraged-dispirited-depressed-disheartened-and-very-lonely/
** Romans 7:15-24: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=romans+7%3A15-24&version=NKJV
NOTE: This series is a republished edit of a 2015 devotion series called, 'The Enemy's Game.' You may see notes to 'Actors, Models & Talent for Christ.' If you're not a performer, don't be deterred. In truth, every disciple acts for Christ, models Christ and stewards His talents.
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the The Enemy's Game series.