Read: Matthew 16:24
I love candy. Chocolate, jelly beans, sweet tarts … it doesn’t matter. If it’s candy, I’m probably going to like it. Sure, I have my favorites, but the only thing I’m not really fond of is the super sour stuff. And if I’m desperate enough for sugar, I’ll even eat those.
Sometimes I’ll “deny” myself and pass up the opportunity to pick up a candy bar in the checkout lane at a store. Or I’ll look the other way when I pass a candy dish. Better still, I’ll pat myself on the back for skipping the candy aisle at Kroger. I feel like such a martyr when I do that. Passing up sugary sweetness is a huge sacrifice, right?
Except that’s not the type of attitude Jesus was after when He told His disciples to deny themselves and follow Him. When I deny myself of candy, I often keep the focus on what I’ve given up … instead of where it really belongs. On Him.
When we truly deny ourselves and take up our crosses to follow Him, we aren’t thinking about what we may be missing. We aren’t thinking about what we’ve given up. We’re thinking about Him. And that makes our cross bearable.
Are you truly following Him? Or are you still looking back at what you’ve “missed” by denying self?
Adoration: God is holy, mighty, gracious, and merciful. Spend time declaring your love for Him and expressing your thoughts of praise and worship.
Confession: Ask God to search your heart and reveal any areas of unconfessed sin. Acknowledge these to the Lord and thank Him for His forgiveness.
Thanksgiving: Express your thankfulness to God for the blessings He has given you. When we consider that we deserve punishment because of our sinfulness, and instead God gives to us His love and mercy, our only response should be one of thankfulness.
Supplication: Petition God for growth in your compassion and love toward others. Offer prayers for your loved ones and others who do not know Jesus and for those in need. Ask God to use you to tell others about Him and show His love. Offer prayers concerning your activities for this day and any special concerns you have.