Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"Deny, deny, deny!!"

The word "deny" is not a word that I have ever really liked. It seems like such a negative word, a word of rejection. Recently God has led me on an adventure of discovering what the word "deny" really means. I had heard of the Daniel Fast before, but never really knew what it was nor did I care to investigate. God laid it on my heart while we were on spring break vacation to explore and commit to the Daniel Fast for a week. At the time I really wasn't sure why, but I knew I had to obey. I did my research and found out that the Daniel Fast was a fruits and vegetable diet. No sugar, no meat, no dairy, no artificial sweetners, NO COKE!! The Daniel Fast is based on Daniel chapter 1 where Daniel petitions the king to eat according to his convictions and not feast at the royal table. At the end of the 10 days Daniel and his men were healthier and stronger than the ones who had feasted at the kings table. Ok, I can do this for a week!! After all if Daniel was healthier and stronger then I'm in.  I really thought I would miss the coke, but I had done without coke before so I knew I could do it. I can honestly say that the coke has not been a big issue this week. I really thought God was calling me to do this in order to become healthier, but I have realized that He has been calling me to a place of learning to deny the cravings of the flesh. I don't need any comments about this, but as you can tell I do not deny myself much. If I want a coke...I drink it. If I want a pound cake...I bake it. (No I don't eat the whole thing.) If I want a chicken biscuit...Chick-fil-a has my back. If I want it I usually go and get it. I have always justified this by the fact that I don't ask for BIG stuff. (Except for the Macbook and I did have to wait a while for that.)  I don't have the funds to go out and buy whatever I want when I want it, but delayed gratification is very hard for me. This week God has been bringing me to a place of understanding that denying myself is a spiritual discipline. I mean after all Christ denied himself his very life. Luke 9:23 NIV "Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." And right here we see that He asks us to do the very same thing. He said if anyone would come after me...(The desire of my heart is to seek after Him, so what does He ask of me)...1. deny yourself Monica 2.Take up your cross daily 3. Follow me.  I have been following Him, but without denying myself. Is that possible?? And oh the crosses I have had to bear. (Yeah right!!) Have any of them caused me to give up my very life? I don't like that phrase anyway..."I guess this is just my cross to bear." This implies that my "cross to bear" is a trial or a hardship. The crucifixion was not merely a hardship or a trial, but it was death. It was an agonizing, painful death of torture. "Yet for the JOY set before Him he endured the cross." Oh how we make light of the cross when we talk about our "cross to bear." So what does Jesus mean here? How do we take up our cross and do it daily? We are daily experiencing a death. The death of the flesh. The death of the sinful man. We make a choice to deny ourselves, we make a choice to daily die to sin and flesh and to follow Him and that is where life begins. How can we have one without the other? He says if we are to come after Him then we will deny ourself, take up our cross daily and follow Him. Right now I am denying the urge to get in the car and drive to Arby's and eat a regular roast beef sandwich with fries and a coke. Is that what He wants me to deny? No, not necessarily, but He is teaching me through this fast more about what it means to deny myself. This week I am denying myself food and coke and meat and coke, but I am also learning to deny myself selfish attitudes and careless words and thoughts of pity and worry and the list goes on and on. I am learning that it does not always have to go my way and I do not have to be right and that sometimes God calls us to give up more than our flesh desires. Wow, what a journey! All of this because He called me to give up a few things for a little while. Is it worth it? To be changed eternally...YES!! "Deny, deny, deny!"

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