Self Denial

And he said unto all, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever would save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

— St. Luke 9:23-24

To deny oneself is to act no more from the standing-ground of self; to allow no passing influence between the self and the will; not to let the right hand know what the left hand doeth. No grasping or seeking shall give motion to the will; no desire to be conscious of worthiness shall order the life; no ambition whatever shall be a motive of action; no longing after the praise of men influence a single throb of the heart. To deny the self is to not shrink from condemnation or contempt of the community or country which is against the mind of the Living one; for no love or entreaty of father or mother, wife or child, friend or lover, to turn aside from following him, but forsake them all as any ruling power in our lives; we must do nothing to please them that would not first be pleasing to him. Right deeds, and not the judgment thereupon; true words, and not what reception they may have, shall be our care. Not merely shall we not love money, or trust in it, but, whether we have it or not, we must never think of it as a windfall from event or circumstance, but as the gift of God. It is God feeds us, warms us, quenches our thirst. The will of God must be to us all in all; the life of the Father must be the joy of the child; we must know our very understanding his—that we live and feed on him every hour in the closest way. To know these things in the depth of our knowing is to deny ourselves and take God instead. To try after them is to begin the denial, to follow him who never sought his own.