Self-denial is the denial of self

Self-denial is the denial of self. That, it may be remarked, is a self-evident proposition: which is true; but what is by no means so evident is the construction to be placed on the word. To the man in the street self-denial is a very simple business. It is merely denying oneself some gratification or even apparent necessity which it is within one's power to enjoy. But that is only the most superficial way of looking at the matter. And it is surely very far from what Christ Jesus intended, when he said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Now the Greek word which in the first and second gospels is translated deny means much more than this. It means to deny utterly. And when a human being denies himself utterly, it means just what Mrs. Eddy meant when she wrote, on page 242 of Science and Health: "Deniel of the claims of matter is a great step towards the joys of Spirit, towards human freedom and the final triumph over the body."

Now when a man denies himself utterly it is obvious that he cannot deny that which is real. Therefore what he is denying cannot possibly be the spiritual reality, made in the image and likeness of God, Spirit. It must be the material counterfeit made, in the words of Paul, of the earth, earthy. Thus, consequently, a man who utterly denies his material selfhood, take up his cross in his struggle with the flesh, until such a time as he, walking in the footsteps of the Christ, in other words living in every thought, and word, and deed in obedience to Principle, succeeds in laying off his sense of a material body, in the tomb of material belief, and emerging conscious only of his true selfhood, which is the Son of God, or the Christ. This is man in the image and likeness of God, as invisible to the material gaze as the Christ became to that of the disciples in the mountain in Galilee.

The Christian Science Monitor

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