Welcome to your morning coffee! May our Heavenly Father draw us ever nearer to His side, every day. Father, we need you! We need your Son Jesus. We need the Holy Spirit, He who lives within us. The world around us is shouting so loud to satisfy ourselves over anything and everyone else. Help us to deny ourselves, and satisfy you instead. In the name of Jesus, by the Spirit who fills and guides us, convict our hearts of love of self, and call us deeper into the endless depths of your love. Amen!
Your Morning Song: "Less Like Me" by Zach Williams
Your Morning Scripture: Mark 1:16-18
And He said to all, "If anyone would come after me,
let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."
I am the problem. Me. Myself. I. But in movies, TV shows, politics, books, our culture cries out in a chorus voices across all mediums, "You are good. You are enough. You are the answer."
But what does our God say?
Deny yourself. Don't trust yourself. Don't treat yourself. Don't please yourself. Deny your self. I am the problem. I am not just a broken person living in a broken world, I am, as are all people, the ones who broke the world.
And Jesus came to save us, from our sinful selves.
The world around us, and many immature Christians within our body, claim that this is too judgmental. Too harsh. What about love? What about mercy and grace?
Would it be loving for a doctor to withhold a cure for a patient's fatal illness? Would it be gracious or merciful?
My self is not the answer. My self is not the end goal. My self is not God. My self, without God, is the ultimate problem.
And so God's Son, through the many voices of God's faithful children, cries out by the Spirit, "Repent and believe and be saved!"
...from your self.
And though the power of sin is defeated forever amongst God's children, it's presence, in our selves, for now remains. And so one of the chief marks of God's faithful children (as opposed to His unfaithful children), is denial of self.
What does that look like? What does it mean to deny yourself?
Honestly, everything ought to change. Our lives should look shockingly different from the world around us. But for many of us in this church here in Stuart, our lives look no different than the world.
How can I deny myself?
I no longer love only those who love me,
but now I love even those who hate me, even as they hurt me.
I no longer live to eat,
but now I eat to live.
I no longer treasure money,
but now I treasure God's delight at my obedience.
I no longer say whatever I please,
but now I please God with what I say.
I no longer grumble ungratefully at my struggles in life,
but now I rejoice that God is making good use of my pain.
I no longer take secret pleasure in holding grudges,
but now I gladly pay the heavenly price of forgiving.
I no longer take sick pleasure in gossiping about others,
but now I speak life and healing instead of death and destruction.
I no longer...
but now I...
I no longer...
but now I...
My self delights in sin and satisfying only me.
God's child delights in God, and satisfies Him.
How many of us are living selfish, self-serving lives? How many of us check our Sunday morning box and call it good? How many of us need to read this, but won't?
My heart breaks and I want to throw up at how many of us have claimed to be followers and lovers of Jesus, and yet have not touched our crosses.
For those of us who have denied ourselves and who do carry our crosses daily, what can we do in the face of so much hypocrisy and disobedience?
Deny ourselves. Do not be discouraged. Bear the cross given to us. Trust Jesus. Thank the Father. Cry out in the Spirit. And think, act, and speak in such a way as to be clearly different from the world. Even as many of us are not.