Tag Archives: Deny Yourself

The White Flag Comes First

Please my sweet Lord – let us not forget that we must first raise our white flags in full surrender of ourselves to YOU before we can be truly washed clean and made pure and white as snow.

Isaiah 1:16-18
Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.
Cease to do evil,
Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Rebuke the oppressor;
Defend the fatherless,
Plead for the widow.

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.”

Who is in the way?

I joined a gym recently and a few weeks ago I took a body combat class.  It was a great class, but I didn’t like focusing on an imaginary opponent.

About halfway through the class I decided that my opponents would be some of my own personal vices.  With each punch or kick I focused on pushing out things I don’t like about myself and then tried breathing in virtues I would like to replace them with.

By the end of class it finally hit me…

Imagine standing in a room surrounded by mirrors.  As the mirrors reflect back on each other their reflections go to infinity, but as you look you can only glimpse the edges of infinity because YOU are in the way.

I am my only obstacle.

The only way to truly follow our sweet Jesus is to get out of our own way, deny ourselves.

For every wrong done to us I think we need to recall a wrong that we have done to another and then suffer through that memory rather than stew over what has been done to us.  I don’t think it is easy and I think this is just the first step, but the only way to get anywhere is by taking the first step.

Jesus thank You for waiting so patiently to take this first step and every other step along the way by our sides!

A few more thoughts on empathy…

I was watching a documentary about different types of love and relationships a few months ago, and they brought up empathy as a key building block in relationships.  I agree with this, but what really got me thinking was the wording used when defining empathy.  In the documentary empathy was defined as the ability to put your self aside in order to identify with or experience the feelings, thoughts or attitudes of another.

When I heard it defined with the additional wording of PUT YOUR SELF ASIDE, I immediately thought of when Jesus said to deny your self.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

Did Jesus mean for us to empathize with others when he said to deny ourselves?  I am starting to think this is what he meant.

In the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, ” You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person.  If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

How can one truly turn the other cheek?  Is the answer to this also empathy?

If you resist your anger towards the person who has struck you (Are you denying yourself?), and instead attempt to empathize with that person, understand that the obstacles and difficulties of their life, their story have brought them to this moment and that although their physical anger was finally triggered by the current moment shared with you, their emotional anger has probably been building for quite some time and has very little to do with you.

Once you can empathize with this person, does it become a little easier to deny your self/deny your anger and turn the other cheek?

Jesus said, “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”  It is “Our Best Life”, let’s say it, believe it, live it and wish for it everyday for EVERYONE!