- Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV) Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Please get this! If you are not regularly and consistently denying (depriving, mortifying) yourself of something or someone, you are on the downward road of mediocrity and eventual failure.
More importantly, if you are not faithfully and intentionally denying yourself you are not following Jesus Christ and that will eventually lead to eternal death.
Jesus put it this way: Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. (Luke 9:23, NKJV)
Athletes get this; they understand that if you are going to have a chance at winning you must deny yourself and train and practice for long hours.
Why is it that we have trouble taking this principle over into our regular life? The absolutely worst advice you can give someone is: “Be yourself.” Being ourselves usually leads to the morass of mediocrity. What we most often want to do is nothing that hurts, costs, or requires exertion.
The question is not, “Can I do this?” but rather, “Does doing this contribute to where I want to be?”
I have the deepest respect for our Lord when I read: They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. (John 19:17 NASB)
After being scourged, beaten and deprived of rest, food and water, I’m sure Jesus didn’t feel like carrying his own cross. Yet He stepped up and denied himself and bore his cross to the absolute limit of his strength and the result is that you and I have a chance for eternal life.
How can we not follow His example? A lot is riding on your decision; both for you and many others.