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 another kind of forsaking that may fall to the lot of some, and which they may find very difficult: the forsaking of such notions of God and his Christ as they were taught in their youth, of which they have begun to doubt the truth, but which to cast away seems like parting with every assurance of safety. By holding with a school he supposes to be right, a man but bolsters himself with the worst of all unbelief—opinion calling itself faith, unbelief calling itself religion. But for him who is in earnest about the will of God, if is of endless consequence that he should think rightly of God. He cannot truly know his will while his notion of him is in any point that of a false god. If such a man seem to himself to be giving up even his former assurance of salvation, in yielding such ideas of God as are unworthy of God, he must none the less, if he would enter into life, take up that cross also. He will come to see that he must follow no doctrine, be it true as word of man could state it, but the living Truth, the Master himself. Many good souls will one day be horrified at the things they now believe of God. If they have not thought about them, but given themselves to obedience, they may not have done them much harm as yet. But there are those who find them a terrible obstruction, and yet imagine, or at least fear them true; such must take courage to forsake the false in any shape, to deny their old selves in the most seemingly sacred of prejudices, and follow Jesus as he is presented by himself, his apostles, and the spirit of truth. We must look to how we have learned Christ.