Self-denial

One of the most profound statements uttered by the Master was this: "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." The question of self-denial has interested the ages, but only in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth does it take on a meaning of real value to the human race. The exact words used in this statement are deeply significant: "Let him deny himself." It is not said that a man shall deny himself something, or deny something about himself, but simply, plainly is it put that he shall deny himself. Matthew, Mark, and Luke unite in this rendering of the great Teacher's words, and so it seems that humanity is face to face with the given rule of actual self-denial.

At this juncture, while longing to follow the Wayshower in his mighty demonstrations of divine power, all the mental training of one's earthly experience rises in rebellion. Personal sense says: "Deny myself! Why, no; I cannot do that. I have been years in growing along every line: I have spent much energy in building up and perfecting this self, in endeavoring to make it worthy of respect and honor; and besides, if I should deny it, blot it out, where would I be? Sacrifice myself? I want to live." But here again the Master's words come to us: "Whosoever will save his life shall lose it." Then this cannot be the way to live. What then? "Whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."

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Ideas and Ideals
November 17, 1917
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