Jesus says, “Deny yourself.” What was he thinking when he said that? What did he mean? I know where we usually go with this, but are we right? To deny myself is to sacrifice, like Abraham, and like Jesus. I have to give up something, give up some focal part of myself. Only then will I be worthy, be able to follow. Does that sound familiar?
Who do you think you are kidding? If that is what it takes, what could you or I possible do to render ourselves “worthy” to follow Jesus? And what have you ever known of Jesus that makes you think Jesus doesn’t want all of you, doesn’t love every smidgen of you? Every bit, even the bits you pretend are not there?
What “deny yourself” means, I am coming to believe, is to stop kidding ourselves about who we are. Drop the pretense, drop the privilege; drop all the hesitations, excuses, and justifications. Don’t wait, don’t try to smooth things out, stop fooling ourselves, and above all, stop trying to fool Jesus.
William Brosen, The Preaching of Jesus: Gospel Proclamation, Then and Now
This week I have been falling into some old patterns, re-living some old lies. How beautiful and necessary it is that God’s mercies are new every morning.
Sometimes it seems we fight the same battles over and over, but that is the way of grace.
So my gifts of thanks this morning are offered without pretense or disguise, without doubt or fear, straight from a heart filled with joy and hope:
44. Big decisions made, new opportunities on the horizon, the hope of security at last!
45. Reconciliation between good friends, late-night kitchen conversations, shared morning coffee
46. Deep-rooted hope
47. The opportunity to travel
48. Lessons learned about connection, even across all those thousands of miles
49. His homecoming soon! And love that is stronger for the time apart
50. The beautiful escape of fantasy books, curled on a couch in late-afternoon sun
51. The chance to say yes! after so many no’s
52. New insight, new commitment, new energy
53. Long(er) runs along the water, late into the evening
54. The beauty in the tiny things, the subtlety of creation
55. Church, again, after much time away
56. The excitement and anticipation of new adventures this summer… particularly a wedding celebration
Shared with Ann and friends at A Holy Experience:
Share something you’re thankful for this week. What mercies have been renewed for you this morning? What parts of yourself do you need to “deny” in order to fully accept the love of God?