How Do I Begin the Journey of Denying Self?
Actually, it is quite simple. Life becomes complicated as we look at ourselves with a view to fixing the problems we find. Upon further examination, we soon realize the impossibility of our situation, for flesh will not improve flesh. However, life is simple when the focus is on the Lord. In Jesus’ teaching, He does not cover myriad topics, but generally sticks to one theme, “I and the Father are One.” To see Jesus is to see God. Therefore, in this journey of denying self, our focus must be on Jesus; this is where we begin. Pick one area of life that you obsess on continually. It can be your weight, how you look, your failures and regrets, your worthlessness, your lack of accomplishments, your embarrassments, your financial condition, your lusts, or your pride. Determine that for one day you are not going to think about the one main topic, that one thing that has been consuming you. Here is what you will discover: not thinking about that one area of Self has a domino effect. The obsession with self is all or nothing. There is no such thing as a “little” obsession, because your mind, like a light switch, is on self or off self, period. If you do not spend the day in self-loathing, you will not spend the night in fear. If you do not spend the day in pride (pride which is self-hatred, embarrassment, depression, and more), you will not spend the evening in lust. Just practice the domino effect. Now to add some spice to the equation: Try obsessing on just one of the characteristics of Jesus/God. Has He shown you mercy, do you love His humanity, or do you like the fact that He really, truly lives? All of this will help you to begin the journey. Always remember that you and your flesh are boring both to you and to Him. To date, you have never fixed a single thing in your life. The State of New York did a survey on a fish market in California where the men had terrible jobs; all their workday held in store for them was a very early beginning to their morning and a return trip home reeking of fish. Yet something changed in the men and they began to have heaps of fun, and now people come from all over to buy their fish and just watch the men work. Here is what was discovered from the survey regarding the men: Play: It’s about having fun, enjoying yourselves, and being spontaneous and creative. Life is too short to spend it frowning, and FISH brings a smile to your face. Make their day: It’s about doing something special for your customers and co-workers. When you make people’s day, you have given them a special gift they will not soon forget. It feels good to give it. Be there: It’s about being totally focused on the moment and on the person or task in which we are involved. When we are fully engaged with our customer, we listen deeply, and important opportunities do not escape us. Choose your attitude: It’s about accepting full responsibility for all our choices, even our attitude at work. A positive attitude is a decision we make moment by moment. “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past, we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you; we are in charge of our attitudes” –Chuck Swindoll. “Have this attitude in you that was in Christ Jesus.” We must, in order to be happy, give ourselves to something greater than ourselves, and for that reason we must begin with that one thing: to no longer obsess on self.
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But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts....
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