Self-Denial

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be completely satisfied.”  Matthew 5:6

 My last blog was about knowing God experientially.  That sounds great.  But how do we become more intimate with Him?  What are some keys to seeking God?

Matthew 5:6 says we must hunger and thirst for righteousness.  God is the only one who can impart righteousness to us.  He has imparted Christ’s righteousness to us if we have accepted His Son as Savior.  But we continue to work out our faith to become more Christ-like day by day.  To do this, we must crave Him as we crave food and drink.  This implies it is necessary to our very survival.  When someone is really hungry or thirsty, he must seek to fulfill that need.  It pushes out desires because is the need is so critical.

It is difficult for many of us to imagine the kind of hunger that would drive us to the exclusion of everything else.  We are so blessed; we have abundance.  I think this is why it is so hard for us to know God.  We don’t recognize our great need.  When we do recognize our need for God, it is because we have come to the place where we have no other choice.  We seek Him because of a situation or problem that is out of our control—an illness, a wayward child, a relationship that is falling apart; a lack of employment or finances.  Thank God He brings us to these moments of quiet desperation.  They allow us to acknowledge that what is important is God’s control.  They allow us to acknowledge God’s plan for our lives.  They allow us to re-prioritize our lives to make God the center.

“Great!” you are thinking.  Do I have to wait for a crisis to get to know God intimately?  No, you don’t.  Absolutely not.  It is better not to wait because sometimes in a crisis it is hard to pray, and we end up relying on others to hold us up.  But if we seek intimacy with God when we are not in crisis, we will have Him even closer to us when we walk through that crisis.

So how do we press in?  Well, you may not like this answer much better.  Self-denial.  I think if we want to get closer to God, we must deny ourselves.  We must deny the flesh to learn self-control and submission to God.  Because when you get down to the basics of what holds us back from God, it is self.  We are on the throne of our own lives instead of allowing God on the throne.  We may not be on the throne of our own lives in every area, but until we have surrendered every part of our lives to God, self is in the way.

John 3:30 says, “He must increase; I must decrease.”  Luke 9:23 says, “… If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

What is the cross I must take up daily?  I’m beginning to think mine is getting up at 4:30 a.m.  I do not enjoy my schedule.  But doing this is a discipline in my life.  It creates a daily reliance on God because it is counter to my natural inclination.  This is an example of self-denial.  I would prefer to go to bed later at night and get up later in the morning.  But I can’t do that and still do the job God has given me to do.

If we examine those things in our lives we deem mundane and routine, we may find that they are the very things providing a measure of discipline and self-control in our lives.  But God may be leading us to greater areas of self-denial as we seek to grow in intimacy with Him.

Clearly, following God means denying ourselves.  That is a hard thing.  We need to take one step at a time.  We may even have to ask God to show us areas of our lives that have not been surrendered.  He will gently lead us; He desires greater intimacy with us.

That is the good news!  If we seek, if we hunger, if we thirst, the promise is we will be completely satisfied.  That is a great promise.  Completely satisfied.  How many times can we claim that we are completely satisfied, even when we have planned for ourselves? Do we ever get it completely right?

God is able to completely satisfy you by filling every need, every desire, and every void in your life.  What’s more, He is the only One who can completely satisfy.  Other things we use to try to satisfy fall short.  So today, take up your cross, sacrifice some time, and begin to walk in greater intimacy with God.  And don’t be discouraged.  Remember that God does not expect us to do this alone.  He has provided the Holy Spirit to be our Guide.  More on that later.

Until next time,

CKelli

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About CKWidmayer

Wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, writer, singer, Young Living Essential Oil Distributor.
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