Be yourself. Find yourself. Do what makes you happy.
Ambiguous inspirational messages like these constantly flood my newsfeed.
They get the most re-pins.
They are celebrity endorsed.
They certainly roll of the tongue well.
But, as innocent and uplifting as “be yourself,” sounds, I have actually found that scripture tells us the opposite. As believers, we are called to deny ourselves.
“Then He said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23, NIV)
Our culture is plagued with identity issues of various kinds—too many to count. The truth is, when you deny yourself (and your earthly identity), you are given a NEW identity in Christ.
Right now you might be thinking: Yeah, I’m good. I like the world’s message better. I’m not willing to sacrifice having what I want, doing what I want or being who I want to be.
If that’s you, okay. But if you do choose to live for yourself, I promise that you are missing out on one of the biggest trade-offs available to mankind.
What do I mean by that?
When you “die to self,” you can actually begin to live your life from the standpoint of freedom and victory that Jesus came to give you—free from bondage and fear.
Jesus didn’t come to take away your fun. He came so that you might live the abundant, exciting life. There is nothing like it.
“The thief does not come, except to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10, MEV)
Listen, denying yourself DOES NOT mean that you have to hide, pretend or deny the fact that you have a desire that contradicts God’s law. Denying yourself means giving the desires of your flesh to God.
This isn’t about will power. God doesn’t expect, or even want, you to try harder. He wants you to trust Him more.
You can only overcome the evil desires of your heart through Jesus, and what I have experienced is, when you do that, God actually replaces those desires with HIS desires.
“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20, NLT)
Stop trying. Start trusting. Die to selfie.