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

There is no joy belonging to human nature, as God made it, that shall not be enhanced a hundredfold to the man who gives up himself—though, in so doing, he may seem to be yielding the very essence of life. To yield self is to give up grasping at things as if they came from nowhere, because no one appears presenting them, and to receive them direct from their source. The careless soul receives the Father’s gifts as if they dropped into his hand. He thus grants himself a slave, dependent on chance and his own blundering endeavor. For the good that comes to him, he gives no thanks; at the disappointments that befall him he grumbles—there must be someone to blame! He does not think what Power would not be worse than squandered to sustain him after his own fashion in his paltry, low-aimed existence! The hour is coming when all that art, science, nature, and animal nature can afford us, in ennobling subjugation to the higher even as man is subject to the Father, shall be the possession of the sons and daughters of God, to their endless delight. God is able to give these things to those to whom he is all in all; to others he cannot give them, for they are unable to receive them who are outside the truth of them. We are not to love God for the sake of what he can give us, for it is impossible to love him save because he is our God, and altogether good and beautiful; but neither may we forget that, in the end, God will answer his creature in the joy of his heart. The good Father made his children to be joyful; only, ere they can enter into his joy, they must be like himself, ready to sacrifice joy to truth.